Displaying articles for: December 2013

Lines to Remember: A Year in Poetry

The critic and author of The Forage House looks back on some of 2013's most memorable verse.



A Dickens of a Christmas

Dickens did not quite "invent" Christmas, as it is sometimes claimed, but, ever since A Christmas Carol was published in 1843, Scrooge's Yuletide nightmares and joyful Christmas morning have become as much a part of the popular idea of the season as Christmas trees and endless, maddening renditions of "Jingle Bells." A little searching yields about 1,700 different editions of A Christmas Carol for sale, and theatrical performances are an annual tradition.



A Peruvian Investor Walks into a Packard Plant

"A Peruvian investor recently purchased the Packard Plant, the iconic Detroit ruin, closed since the nineteen-fifties and sprawling over 40 acres. Fernando Palazuelo, the proud new owner, forked over $400,000 for the factory, which he described to Bloomberg News as 'the best opportunity in the world.' He plans to live on the premises, with the future rehab transforming the mouldering site, in the words of the article, into 'a vibrant hub of automotive suppliers, offices, shops, lofts and maybe even a go-kart track...'"


Culinary Charmers of 2013

Critic and ardent home cook Heller McAlpin recommends new cookbooks whose winning voices and visual delights are just as beguiling as the dishes they highlight.



Five Overlooked SF/F/H Books of 2013

What are the four novels and one knockout story collection that our speculative fiction expert Paul Di Filippo proclaims 2013's greatest "Overlooked SF, Fantasy, & Horror"?



Nelson Mandela, 1918-2013

"It was during those long and lonely years that my hunger for the freedom of my own people became a hunger for the freedom of all people, white and black. I knew as well as I knew anything that the oppressor must be liberated just as surely as the oppressed. A man who takes away another man's freedom is a prisoner of hatred, he is locked behind the bars of prejudice and narrow-mindedness. I am not truly free if I am taking away someone else's freedom, just as surely as I am not free when my freedom is taken from me. The oppressed and the oppressor alike are robbed of their humanity." -- Nelson Mandela, who died on December 5th, at the age of 95


July 24: On this day in 1725 John Newton, the slave trader-preacher who wrote the hymn "Amazing Grace," was born.

Books, CDs, DVDs to know about now
Paradise and Elsewhere

Canadian short story marvel Kathy Page emerges as the Alice Munro of the supernatural from these heartfelt tales of shapeshifting swimmers, mild-mannered cannibals, and personality-shifting viruses transmitted through kisses.


When a persuasive pastor arrives in a sleepy farm town, his sage influence has otherworldly results (talking sheep, a mayor who walks on water). But can he pull off the miracle of finding kindly local Liz Denny the love of her life?  Small wonder looms large in this charmer from Andre Alexis.

The Hundred-Year House

When a poetry scholar goes digging through the decrepit estate of his wife's family to uncover a bygone arts colony's strange mysteries, he awakens a tenacious monster: his mother-in-law. A wickedly funny take on aging aristocracies from author Rebecca Makkai (The Borrower).