Ginger and honey margarita pie with a saltine crust, inspired by Annihilation, by Jeff VanderMeer
I was irrationally afraid of everything short of my own shadow as a kid. This still holds true in some ways; I prefer subtlety to gore and sensationalism doesn’t play with me. But somewhere along the way I peeked out from between my fingers and realized that I could learn the narrative patterns of grotesque stories. I realized that by arming myself with knowledge things became less scary (like allowing my eyes to adjust to the dark) and I found that familiar problems seem intriguing in the light of the uncanny.
So I consider myself pretty adept at predicting where a story is headed. With that in mind, I want to tell you that Jeff VanderMeer’s Annihilation is utterly unpredictable and kept me awake at night. Unable to put it down at first, and unable to sleep once I did, it sent ice down my spine on more than one occasion.
An Orange, Lemon, and Key-Lime Pie with a Graham Cracker Crust, Inspired By The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald.
It took me a couple of readings and a few years of living in New York City to understand the complexity of wit and emotion in Gatsby. When I first read it in 11th grade I didn’t like the characters, they seemed shallow and dysfunctional, and yet it seemed like all my friends were invested in this great American romance. When I read it again a few years later I realized that not only had my instincts about the book been right, but that its genius also stems from the way social commentary is layered into the characters’ personalities. Lesson learned: you don’t have to like a character for them to be well written.