Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Jon McGoran

Jon McGoran has written about food and sustainability for twenty years, as communication director at Weavers Way Co-op in Philadelphia, and now as editor at Grid magazine. During that time he has also been an advocate for urban agriculture, cooperative development and labeling of genetically engineered foods. He is a founding member of the Philadelphia Liars Club, a group of published authors dedicated to promotion, networking, and service work. He lives in Philadelphia with his wife and son.

McGoran's new novel is Drift.

Recently I asked the author about what he was reading. McGoran's reply:
One of the cruelest hardships of my life as a busy writer is that I am often forced to choose between reading and writing. Lately though, I’ve somehow been managing to do a good amount of both – putting together a respectable page count for Deadout, the sequel to my novel Drift, and reading some truly fine books. This might explain the dark rings under my eyes, but there is nothing like an impending deadline (or one receding in the rearview) to help boost your productivity. And nothing like some great books to keep you up reading, when you should be collapsing to sleep after a night spent writing.

I made a couple of much-anticipated book purchases just before going to BEA for a couple of signings, one with my publisher, Tor/Forge, and one with the Mystery Writers Association (MWA). At the MWA booth, I had the great pleasure of meeting (briefly) George Pelecanos, and the even greater and more sustained pleasure of reading his newest, The Cut.

Pelecanos has an economical and effortless style that immediately pulls you in and involves you in his characters, and his tight and well-crafted plot doesn’t wait to get started. My long-delayed Amtrak train back from BEA provided a welcome opportunity to get deep into the book.

After The Cut, I put aside the pile of other books from BEA and returned to the two I had purchased just before hand.

Booklist’s review of Drift included a line I was particularly excited by: “Readers who enjoy Michael Crichton or liked Paul McEuen’s Spiral, or even the nonfiction biothrillers by Richard Preston, will find much to enjoy here.” As a fan of Crichton and Preston, I took that to be very high praise. But I hadn’t heard of Spiral, by Paul McEuen. Well, now I have, and I am that much more humbled by Booklist’s kind words. Spiral is an excellent read, a smart combination of a believable thriller plot, plausible but disturbing science, and engaging, human characters that draw you in and make you care. High praise indeed.

Finally, I just started reading Case Histories by Kate Atkinson. I’ve been hearing people raving about Atkinson for years, but haven’t read any of her books, and now I’m glad I haven’t, because now I still get to. Only a few pages into it, I am already fully engaged by Atkinson’s writing and storytelling, and I can tell I am in for a big treat.

I don’t know how long this string of winners can last, but I’m going to ride it until it ends.
Visit Jon McGoran's website, Facebook page, and Twitter perch.

--Marshal Zeringue