to read

The Devil's Cup: A History of the World According to Coffee by Stewart Lee Allen

Stewart lee Allen believes that the course of history has been shaped by cofee, and he'll convince you he's right in this nifty little history of the magic bean. Allen traveled rom Ethiopia and Yemen to Paris and the American South for his research, and his findings are wildly entertaining. Are caffeinated societies better able to dominate decaffeinated ones? The American Civil War pitted Southern decaf (chickory) drinkers against caffeinated Northern force. . . . Coincidence? Allen thinks not. This book is a must for history buffs with a quirky streak and perhaps a penhant fo a fresh brew.

A Very Long Engagement by Sébastien Japrisot
France. World War I. Five soldiers are taken by Germans and shot. Or are they? The fiancée of one of the soldiers receives a mysterious letter that makes her realize that the truth may not have been so straightforward. She investigates, in a novel whose plot is utterly engrossing and whose writing, breathtaking. A movie starring Audrey Tautou was adapted from this book, but on't watch it before you experience Japrisot's original vision.

to watch for
  • Ridley Pearson and Dave Barry's SCIENCE FAIR, a humorous thriller that makes fun of science fairs, obsessive parents, obnoxious kids, countries with no vowels, and middle school in general.
  • Steven Goldman's TWO PARTIES, ONE PROM AND A FIVE-PARAGRAPH ESSAY ABOUT THE LETTER 'Q', about a 17-year old boy who, upon learning his only friend is gay, tries to convince himself that nothing will change, only to discover that nothing about his Junior year—not his homework, his haircuts, his dream date for the prom and, least of all, his best friendship, turn out to be simple.


Th. said...


I love Japrisot. I recently picked up AVLE and hope to read it none too long from now.

Seen the movie?

Jér said...

Re: A Very Long Engagement

I watched the movie first and didn't read the book until a year later, but that didn't stop me from falling in love with them both. Since you speak highly of the writing, I guess it's safe to assume that the breathtaking prose of the French version survived the translation. I always worry about that.

(I totally have a crush on Clovis Cornillac's Benoît Notre-Dame, btw.)