Coffee: Addictive Coffee

Soooooo tasty!

I realize that the books to coffee ratio on this site has been skewed in favor of books, so I will try to catch up a bit!

My employer recently moved into a new building, and the new building came with new coffees to enjoy, in the enormous, stainless steel drip-coffee brewers that fill the pump dispensers in countless food service establishments.

Delightfully, the coffee on my floor is from Addictive Coffee Roasters in Marin, California ( Their single-origin medium roast is Huehuetenango, a delicious coffee that brews well in our machines, and delivers a deep, dark, flavorful cup. The tasting notes (cocoa, orange peel, vanilla) are on point!

I drink it black, with sugar, and sometimes with a splash of almond milk. It’s good stuff, as I can tell by my increased consumption over the prior supplier’s beans, and I’m thrilled we have it.

Book: Less by Andrew Sean Greer

by Andrew Sean Greer
published by Little, Brown, and Company
audiobook published by Hachette Audio
narrated by Robert Petkoff

This novel won the Pulitzer Prize!

Arthur Less is a 49-year old man living in San Francisco, trying to get his new novel published, dreading age 50, and trying to accept that his young partner moved out and moved on. When an invitation arrives to that young ex-partner’s forthcoming wedding (!!), he decides to flee rather than face it.

Piles of previously ignored invitations to be a guest lecturer, a conference speaker, a writer’s retreat participant, and more suddenly find their purpose – helping him avoid humiliation!

His escape out of SF and around the world does more than just help him avoid his feelings about ‘the one that got away:’ it nearly gets him killed, sparks new feelings, introduces new friends, offers insights about his life that he’d rather not have, has him offering to kill students trying to sign up for his classes, and gets him to his 50th birthday in a series of both sweet and absurd misadventures.

The excellent reading by Petkoff had me laughing out loud. Especially the portions translated from German, which Less believes he speaks fluently, to hilarious effect. Also: the general observation from a character that perhaps books about middle-aged white guys feeling sorry for themselves aren’t appealing. HAHAHAHA!

This is a fun, charming, novel about trying with all ones might NOT to see one’s life imitating art.

Book: Blue Territory: a Meditation on the Life and art of Joan Mitchell by Robin Lippincott

Image from the SFMoMA shop

Blue Territory: a Meditation on the Life and art of Joan Mitchell
by Robin Lippincott
published by Tidal Press

This is an artist’s biography, but not a traditional one. It does a great job of describing the life of Joan Mitchell, the abstract expressionist painter who spent many of her later years working in Paris while showing in the U.S.

Rather than a list of facts and documents, this biography reads like an oral history, told by a friend who was a big fan of Mitchell’s, who is sharing quotes and interpretations of pivotal phases of Mitchell’s life. It’s fluid, like fiction, as if Lippincott was walking down Paris streets with her and is remembering the mood and the color of the light in between snippets of paraphrased conversation and quotes from interviews.

It isn’t the biography I expected: it was more fun, like having a biography interpreted by a poetic friend.

Book: Nome by Jessi Zabarsky

It’s so small and CUTE

by Jessi Zabarsky
published by Perfectly Acceptable Press
undated (but recent)

This is a small (five inch square) and extremely adorable, wordless graphic novel about the life, death, and renewal of tiny nature spirits.

Photo from Silver Sprocket Books, where I purchased this

It manages to be cute and feel philosophical about life’s end and natural cycles at the same time.

I got it at Silver Sprocket, which I recommend highly as a place to find great graphic novels.

Book: Boy Meets Maria by Peyo

The inside illustrations are just as lovely as this cover!

Boy Meets Maria
by Peyo
published by Penguin Random House

Ambitious and outgoing Taiga is eager to be a famous actor and play heroes. At his school drama club, he immediately develops a crush on one of the girls on stage… but while Maria was raised as a girl by her determined mother, off the stage, he is a brave and traumatized boy named Arima.

This is a beautiful story about love, bravery, and being true to yourself. I was deeply moved, and impressed by both the quality of the illustrations and the sensitivity and strength of this story.

(I was crushed to learn that the extraordinarily talented young author, Peyo, recently passed away.)

Life: Humpback Whale Sighting (Thursday)

My commute across the (beloved to me) San Francisco Bay has been full of photographic inspiration, but I didn’t expect it also to be full of impressive marine mammals!

Sure, I’ve seen a seal near the Ferry Building, and was charmed. But… a whale? IN THE BAY? I know they swim there, but I wasn’t expecting to SEE one.

But I had a sharp-eyed colleague with me, and he spotted a spout, so I DID see a whale. A humpback, from the fin.

My sharp-eyed colleague also insisted that I report the sighting to the Marine Mammal Center’s page for whale and dolphin sightings, (, so I did that, and got a very nice reply from a scientist later on.

Any day that starts with a whale turning up alive and well during your morning commute is going to be a good day!

Book: Noor by Nnedi Okorafor

Audiobook cover at

by Nnedi Okorafor
published by Penguin Random House
audiobook read by Délé Ogundiran
audiobook published by Tantor Media, Inc.

This amazing African Futurist novel engrossed me completely this weekend!

AO has a many cybernetic enhancements, having been born with life-threatening birth defects, and having further been maimed in an unexplained autonomous vehicle accident. She’s followed her fiancé to a new city, made a life for herself, improved her body, and found a meaningful profession. After a rough day coping with the abrupt end of her engagement, she just wants to have a nice dinner. At her local market, however, locals who have been radicalized by a passing imam against the evils of cybernetics have other plans for her…

In a time of environmental devastation, oppressive corporate monopolies, and wireless energy transmission, AO finds herself on the run with a nomadic herdsman, a bloody nose, and an increasing awareness of the surveillance technologies that have infused every element of Nigerian society.

The tech is great; the inserted documentary about how some of the tech was invented is engaging and wonderful; the the environments, both urban and desert, are well described; the cosmopolitan people, the languages, the different traditions, the meals – all are vividly and richly laid out in world building of great depth for such a brief and satisfying novel.

I recommend Noor highly to everyone who likes a great, earth-bound, science-fiction story in a vivid near-future that never lets up the pace.

Pandemic Life: early May, 2022

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is AEG-sponged-cloud-banner.jpg

Hello! *wave* gosh, working full time in another county really does take my writing time/urgency off, doesn’t it?

It is spring, the double-cherry trees are blossoming with their pom-pom like blossom clusters, and I have still managed not to get COVID!

It hasn’t been easy.

I was exposed at work semi-recently to someone whose COVID test confirmed their case DAYS after we’d met together, and after countless other meetings. I’ve probably been exposed to lots of people with COVID, considering the case spikes (and the slow upward creep of the case count at the office), but this time I was unmasked and in a room for an hour with someone, so I fell into the CDC “close contact” definition. Because I’m required to work in our corporate office, responsibility for case tracking and contact tracing falls to a team my employer set up, and I was advised of key details, told to get PCR tested after 5 days (the exposure day was day zero), and wear a mask for 10 days as a precaution.

I was delighted to test negative.

I was less delighted to wear a mask again, not for the usual whiny reasons you hear, but because: wearing a mask keeps me from eating snacks and drinking coffee CONSTANTLY, and I have coffee in one hand every moment I’m not typing or presenting. (Well, or fizzy water, but you get the idea.). So, I had a quite silly reason to feel put-out, which provided me material for self-deprecating jokes.

Despite the snack limitations, I didn’t lose weight, so I feel vaguely ripped off.

I also was unable to spend time up close with someone near and dear to me who is high risk and was about to travel to see someone who was even higher risk, and so the work exposure came with some personal/social cost to me, even though I didn’t personally feel danger. It was still disruptive.

Anyway, we’re creeping toward the lab-verified 1 millionth US COVID death, and that is beyond horrible. It is known to be an undercount. It is known not to include people who are suffering from long-COVID, who may or may not have debilitating symptoms.

It is also a reminder that many of the complaints in the news about having a hard time finding people to do [anything] pretends that this pandemic context isn’t present, and I’m getting tired of that.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is Screen-Shot-2022-05-01-at-8.29.15-AM.png is the source, as always

I always seem to know someone with COVID, and am happy to report that the last friend who told me she and her spouse have it (in Germany) are now feeling better. While at least one of my friends has had COVID more than once (!), I don’t think anyone in my social circle is infected at the moment, and that is a LOVELY thing.

I’ve ordered some more masks, because I apparently will still need them for a while.

Reading and drinking coffee, but offline

I’m here! I really am! I’m just… adjusting to a new schedule, commute, job, and all that stuff.

I read a stack of books before work started, but haven’t yet stayed awake long enough to write about them.

I did keep up my Duolingo practice, at least!

Today, March 20th, is day 1000 for me! Yippee!

I’m quiet, but things are good. I’ll write more… soonish.