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Bryce T. Bauer

The New Rum: A Modern Guide to the Spirit of the Americas

Countryman Press

If the whiskey boom (and its booming prices) is driving you toward some other brown liquor, Bryce T. Bauer’s The New Rum belongs in your suitcase. Bauer loves rum, but (mercifully) doesn’t default into the pirate-Hemingway-Jimmy Buffett clichés that too often encrust the spirit. Each chapter explores a different locale and rum style (Caribbean, South American, North American and European), dispels myths, and pinpoints the major debates raging among rum-lovers—specifically additives, and the fight for greater clarity in exactly what is rum. There’s also a guide to some 40-plus brands of rum, most of them surprisingly affordable.

– Bruce Collier

Lauren Groff


Riverhead Books

Fates and Furies author Lauren Groff once again brings magic to the page in her captivating short-story collection centered on her home state. As in Fates and Furies, Groff’s writing is poetic and her subject matter is dark. Though her flawed characters find themselves in bleak and ever-worsening situations, Groff leaves enough unsaid that the reader can interpret hope nonetheless. The natural environment is featured throughout the collection, as characters interact with snakes, alligators, sea gulls, hurricanes, swamps, and an occasional ghost. More than anything, Groff truly conveys a strong sense of place through her stories—be it backwoods Florida, coastal Florida, or Florida as a state of mind. Of her only recurring character (and my personal favorite), Groff writes, “Of all of the places in the world, she belongs in Florida. How dispiriting, to learn this of herself.”

– Marilu Morgan
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