Beyond Pasta: Let’s Drink to San Pellegrino

The sparkling mineral water encased in the iconic, transparent green glass bottle with an elongated neck sits on the tables of trendy restaurants and the shelves of upscale supermarkets.  San Pellegrino originates in the town of San Pellegrino Terme in the Italian Alps.  The water travels 30 years at a depth of 1300 feet through […]

It’s No Mystery: To Each His Own by Leonardo Sciascia (1966) and Ferocity by Nicola Lagioia (2015)

If you’re looking for a page-turning whodunit with tortuous twists, theme park thrills, and a clairvoyant sleuth, don’t read To Each His Own by Leonardo Sciascia or Ferocity by Nicola Lagioia.  The deaths in both novels are secondary to the dissection of societal malaise.  People die, but festering corruption contributes to their deaths. Genre novelists worry […]

Mikhail Bulgakov’s The White Guard (1925) and Seven Things You Might Not Have Known About The Russian Civil War

Mikhail Bulgakov’s Master and Margarita is a masterwork of subtle and not-so-subtle jabs at Soviet life.  Bulgakov’s The White Guard, his first novel, reveals little of the talent that would vault Bugakov into the pantheon of Russian novelists.  It’s a Lifetime movie version of one of the most brutal times in history, turned into mush.  Three […]

So Last Century: What We Were Reading In 1918

The best-selling novel in the United States in 1918 was a Zane Grey western, but a number of writers published more enduring works.  Booth Tarkington came out with The Magnificent Ambersons; the family saga earned the Pulitzer Prize the following year.  Willa Cather described a childhood on the Great Plains in My Antonia.  Edgar Rice Burroughs […]