This month’s issue celebrates food. So does Mark Hyman, M.D., in his book, “Food: What the Heck Should I Eat?” (Little, Brown and Company, February 2018). But what Hyman means by food is not what food manufacturers consider food. Hyman’s simplified explanation of what is food comes down to did a human make it or did nature make it? An avocado is food. A Twinkie is not. He advocates eating a wide variety of whole, unprocessed food, which he describes as not that hard to do, even with busy schedules.

For a different look at food, Debbie Johnson has written a novel called “Sunshine at the Comfort Food Café” (Harper Collins, August 2018). Willow is a waitress at a run-down café in a friendly community on the Dorset coast in England. She cares for her mother, who has Alzheimer’s. When a handsome stranger comes to town, life changes.

Also coming out in August is “How to Feed Your Parents” (Stirling Children’s Books) by Ryan Miller, illustrated by Hatem Aly. In little Matilda’s household, she is not the junk food junkie. It’s her parents. Matilda is the food adventurer, relishing jambalaya, sushi and quiche as she learns to cook and expand her parents’ food horizon as well.


Emily Bronte was born on July 30, 1818. She and her sisters, Charlotte and Anne, were writers when that was not considered something women could or should do, so they chose masculine names with the surname of Bell. Emily was Ellis. Currer and Acton were her sisters’ pen names. Emily is most famous for “Wuthering Heights” and her brooding anti-hero Heathcliff. Charlotte’s primary novel is “Jane Eyre.”

Emily was regarded as shy, barely leaving her family home except to walk the moors, and as an intellect who was unwilling to deal with the strictures of society. Besides her novel, she published 27 poems. She died at the age of 30, just two years after publishing “Wuthering Heights.”


American humor writer Josh Billings was born on April 21, 1818. He wrote numerous books and was surpassed in popularity in his time only by Mark Twain.

Children’s author and illustrator Maurice Sendak would have been 90 years old this year. He was most famous for “Where the Wild Things Are.” Other works include “In the Night Kitchen” and “Little Bear.”

Joyce Carol Oates turned 80 this year. She has published more than 40 novels. She has also published plays, novellas and short stories. Her novels include Pulitzer contenders “What I Lived For,” “Blonde” and “Black Water.”


What novel begins:

In Norway there is a fjord – a long, narrow arm of the sea between tall mountains – named Berlevaag Fjord. At the foot of the mountains the small town of Berlevaag looks like a child’s toy-town ….

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First lines from “Babette’s Feast,” by Isak Dinesen (Karen Blixen)


Fresno State English professors Dr. Howard V. Hendrix and Dr. Laurel Hendrix, husband and wife, are co-editing “The Encyclopedia of Mars.” Howard Hendrix has published at least six novels through Penguin Putnam and Random House. He has also published more than 50 science fiction short stories. Many of his works are published in “Analog Science Fiction and Fact,” including the novella “The Girls With Kaleidoscope Eyes.” Laurel Hendrix has published articles on medieval and early modern authors such as Chaucer, Spenser and de Navarre in journals such as the “English Literary Renaissance.”


Christina Enquist, training and development coordinator at Kaweah Delta Medical Center and sometimes College of the Sequoias professor, is holding a fanart contest in conjunction with her debut novel, “The Immundus,” which she published through her own start-up company. She is asking contestants to design the Liberators’ tattoo, an identifying mark worn by these characters in the story. She says that when she writes, she intentionally leaves some things to the reader’s imagination and this is one of them. The contest is open until July 27. Details on Christina’s blog:


“I would like to see people more aware of where their food comes from. I would like to see small farmers empowered. I feed my daughter almost exclusively organic food.” (Anthony Bourdain, 1956-2018)