loco moco and other news

13 Mar

Reports from the lit world:

• our miniature universes are, in fact, connected

• DFW keeps writing from the grave

• Hawaii’s history is revealed through its incongruous eating habits

• design meets food (and everything meets everything else) via a British thesaurus

• and a Chicago poet elongates her vowels


Patrick Somerville’s delightfully titled The Universe in Miniature in Miniature has been getting a lot of local press recently, perhaps because many of its 30 interconnected short stories are set in Chicago, and it’s enough to pique my interest. The book breaks apart into “15 mini novels” and the limited-edition cover can be turned into a retro sci-fi mobile. Inside the stories are “aliens, universities dedicated to hair regrowth, and magical empathy-helmets,” writes Gapers Block.

Add to all this that Somerville will be reading at the release of The Pale King, David Foster Wallace’s latest posthumous effort, alongside Adam Levin, and I’m certain he’s someone worth paying attention to.


Sarah Vowell (comedic social commentator, This American Life contributing editor, and voice of the adorable Violet in The Incredibles)  tackles Hawaii’s incongruous diet (its love of plate lunches and loco moco) and makes an astonishingly fun trailer for it:

It brings new meaning to Anthony Doerr’s comments on books as recipes, which, according to GOOD, are ripe for a redesign.


Speaking of GOOD and recipe redesigns, The Flavour Thesaurus beautifully melds the worlds of design and food. By British food columnist Niki Segnit, the book “lists 99 flavors and common flavor pairings for home cooks, say, combining celery and horseradish or melding tomato and anchovy,” writes Peter Smith. “Each of the 900 pairings…comes with a short digression. You can learn about the history of the Bloody Mary, which didn’t originally include celery and horseradish, or read a brief description of pizza and umami.”


Finally, at a reading last night, I  got to see two local poets: the lovely Simone Muench, whom I’d heard of (she was featured recently in The Believer) and Jennifer Karmen, whom I had not but whose book, Aaaaaaalice, I am now on the hunt for. Neither of these women were the main event, but they were the stars of the show.

One Response to “loco moco and other news”


  1. Genuine vs. superficial « THE BUILT ENVIRONMENT - March 14, 2011

    […] despite the fact that I’m waist-deep in The Instructions. I already wrote about new books on read::zebra, but here I go again. [Note my increasing […]

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