Like fruit? Know this – in the wild, feral bananas are filled with tooth-shattering seeds and the untamed peach is an acrid pea-sized pellet. Yep, fruits need humans messing with them to reach ambrosia. But we go too far the other direction. Having bred fruits to sweet, plump perfection, man then breeds them back to awful. Fruit bound for the supermarket has been engineered to be hard, picked before its ripe, able to withstand the rigors of travel. Stepford fruit: gorgeous replicants that look perfect and taste terrible. The Fruit Hunters by Adam Leith Gollner.
Kingsley Amis issued these instructions on how to read his book on booze. No binge reading. Instead, he suggests one chapter per night, perhaps with a pitcher of martinis. Everyday Drinking is actually a compilation of three of his books written first as columns. Bicarbonate helps.
Willie Nelson started writing lyrics at age 6. By the time he turned 75, the Red Headed Stranger had sold 50 million albums. Not bad for a guy also known as a pot-smoking, tax-dodging supporter of Dennis Kucinich. Willie Nelson by Joe Nick Patoski. (Note: if you want, I’ll send you the hilarious – but blue – quote from Willie upon his turning 75. You must be over 18. My email: firstname.lastname@example.org)
What? Hydrocrats control the flow of water over Niagra Falls, opening the spigot every tourist season. It’s a glorified faucet??? Turn it on high when you see my 55-gallon drum. Inventing Niagra by Ginger Strand.
Rank has its privilege. Thomas Jefferson was paid $25,000 as chief executive. Out of that, he his wine tab was $7,500, stockpiling some 20,000 bottles from France. Bordeaux, mostly. His records indicate he never received an order of 125 bottles late in his career. Or did he? In 1985, a bottle engraved with Th.J fetched $156,000 on the auction block. Fact or fraud? The Billionaire’s Vinegar by Benjamin Wallace.
Quick joke: the young writer, as yet unpublished, knew he had written something big. Maybe bigger than War and Peace. Knowing how important a good title would be in marketing, he sought the advice of the old master, who quickly agreed that the book would be big.
“Help me with the title,” begged the novice.
“OK,” intoned the master, “are their any drums in your book?”
“Then that’s your title: Neither Drums nor Soldiers.”