Sunday, August 8, 2021

A New(ish) Book, by an Author You May Not Know

 One of my favorite things about reading for a living is discovering authors. Sometimes, I discover an aspiring author while working on their first or second manuscript, and then I get the pleasure of watching others discover them, with some not-so-gentle prodding from me. 

Often, I don't "discover" a "new" author until they have written a dozen books, and already have plenty of fans. Such a case is Michael J Vaughn. Those of you with great memories may recall me gushing over MJV's book "Popcorn Girl" a few years ago, and he hasn't stopped writing or publishing his quirky, all-too-human novels.

I recently found some of his books on Kindle and was lucky enough to snag two of them for a bargain price. I loved the cosmic romance and gritty beach world of "Frosted Glass" and was intrigued as hell by "Figment" (I can't begin to explain this book so I won't try, but art is central to the plot and its incredible cover is pictured below; I wouldn't recommend starting with this book, as the many references to past works will just confuse you. Save it for an odd, tangy, flavorful dessert after a dozen other MJV titles.)

I am a huge Tom Robbins fan, and if you are, too, you may just fall for MJV. For me, seeing the ways in which a talented author can bend, fold, and even gently mutilate the parameters of novel writing and play with (and within and without) the rules of literature is a joy. 

His latest work is East of the Cookie Tree and it sets off with yet another of his beloved road trips. California is a favorite setting for his books, but so is southern Washington—you may find yourself in many lovely coastal spots in Oregon or in a dozen other locales. Having recently done some road trips to Washington and Oregon, I was charmed by the echoes of actual locations, as well as the feel of the places he captures. MJV loves people (at least his characters, maybe not humanity) and he enjoys having them enjoy each other physically, spiritually, emotionally, and more.

Art is another theme that runs through all this author's books, along with music in many forms, including popular and classical and opera. Did I mention there's singing? Even some karaoke—pick a song and jump in, it will be fun!

If you've already discovered MJV, which book of his was your favorite? I'd love to hear about it in the comments below. If you haven't discovered him yet, start with the new book, or if you have a romantic bent, try "Popcorn Girl" or "Frosted Glass."

Take care, stay safe and hasta pronto!