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Sharing our love for authors, and the stories they are inspired to tell.

More Quality Fiction Snacks

New Icon Image For Weekend Cooking December 2013oWeekend Cooking is hosted by Beth F, over at ‘Beth Fish Reads’.

It is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book (novel, nonfiction) reviews, cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, quotations, photographs. If your post is even vaguely foodie, feel free to grab the button and link up anytime over the weekend. You do not have to post on the weekend. Please link to your specific post, not your blog’s home page.

When leaving your link, don’t forget to leave a comment for Beth F, we all like to receive comments and share your thoughts.

 …

This week, I am looking ahead slightly and would like to share details of a book I am hoping to receive my review copy of very soon…

When I was first approached about the possibility of the author submitting this book for review, I was so taken with the cover and title choices, that without the potted synopsis provided by the author’s agent Samantha Lien, I would never have been able to even guess at the genre or storyline for the book.

As it is, the title is such a clever play on words that it will almost certainly demand a second glance, to satisfy that ‘need to know what it is all about’ feeling!

‘QUALITY SNACKS’

In a wide range of forms and tones, the fifteen stories in Andy Mozina’s new collection, Quality Snacks, center on high-stakes performances by characters trying to gratify both deep and superficial needs, often with unexpected consequences. Driven by strange ambitions, bungled love, and a taste for-or abject fear of-physical danger, the collection’s characters enact the paradox in the concept of a quality snack: the dream of transmuting the mundane into something extraordinary.

 

Two teenage boys play chicken on a Milwaukee freeway. A man experiencing a career crisis watches a seventy-four-year-old great grandmother perform an aerial acrobatics routine at the top of a swaying 110-foot pole. Desperate to find a full-time job, a pizza delivery man is fooled into a humiliating sexual demonstration by a couple at a Midway Motor Lodge. A troubled young man tries to end his father’s verbal harassment by successfully hunting a polar bear. After an elf civil war destroys his Christmas operation, Santa Claus reinvents himself as a one-man baseball team and ends up desperate to win a single game. And in the title story, a flavor engineer at Frito-Lay tries to win his boss’s heart with a new strategy for Doritos that aims to reposition the brand from snack food to main course.

 

While some stories embrace pathos and some are humorous and some are realistic and some contain surreal elements, all of the stories in Quality Snacks share striking insight and a cast of compelling, well-conceived characters. This collection, in an earlier form, has been a finalist for the Flannery O’Connor Short Fiction Award, the Dzanc Short Story Collection Contest, the Elixir Press Fiction Award, and the Autumn House Fiction Contest, and a semi-finalist for the Mary McCarthy Prize. Readers of fiction will be satisfied by the variety of fare offered by Quality Snacks.

ANDREW MOZINA

Image Of Author Andew MozinaShort story writer Andrew Mozina  grew up in Brookfield, Wisconsin, a suburb of Milwaukee. He studied economics at Northwestern University and later attended Harvard Law School for a year. He earned a master’s degree in creative writing from Boston University, then moved to St. Louis where he completed a doctorate in English literature at Washington University. In 1999, after graduate school, Andrew moved to Kalamazoo, Michigan, to teach literature and creative writing at Kalamazoo College. It is in Michigan where he now lives with his wife and daughter.

‘Quality Snacks’, Andrew’s second collection of short stories, has already made waves, attracting some very positive recognition. The book was a semi-finalist for the Mary McCarthy Prize in Short Fiction (2011) and finalist for multiple honors including the Elixir Press Fiction Award (2012), Dzanc Short Story Collection Contest (2012), Flannery O’Connor Short Fiction Award (2011) and the Autumn House Fiction Contest (2011).

 Andrew’s first short story collection, “The Women Were Leaving the Men” was the winner of the 2008 Great Lakes Colleges Association New Writers Award for Fiction and a 2008 finalist for the Glasgow/Shenandoah Prize for Emerging Writers. He is also the non fiction author of “Joseph Conrad and the Art of Sacrifice”

I hope that if you are visiting, you have found my ‘foodie’ offering this week fun. Please share your links, as I am looking forward to discovering all your great food related posts this week and I hope that you all have a good weekend.

Written by
Yvonne

I can’t remember a time, even as a child, when I haven’t been passionate about books and reading.
I began blogging, when I realised just how many other people out there shared my passion for the written word and I have been continually amazed at the wealth of books that are available and the amount of great new friends I have made, from literally 'The Four Corners Of The World'.

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20 comments
    • Hi Vicki,

      That was my first reaction when I was contacted by Andrew’s agent! Everything about this book screams quirky, from that fantastic title and surreal cover art which is certainly eye-catching, to the intriguing mix of short stories within its covers.

      I have to date, read a few random one-off short stories, however this wil be the first collection I have seriously read for review, so a new experience for me and I couldn’t wish for a more eclectic initiation into this ‘new to me’ genre.

      Thanks for taking the time to visit and I hope that you have some great plans for the weekend.

  • Sounds like a great place for all the foodies out there. Thank you for sharing your contribution. Though there seem to be an increasing number of novels which appeal to those who enjoy food related reads (I was surprised by the number which seem to contain recipes) Quality Snacks sounds just that little bit different.

    • Hi Tracy,

      Personally, I am not a huge fan of the growing number of novels which include recipes and other miscellaneous snippets of foodie information, as I am rather inclined to feel them best left to dedicated cookery books and allow the novel to concentrate on the storyline.

      Weekend Cooking is a fantastic weekly meme, although is not solely a place for foodies to meet, as Beth opens the link to anything remotely to do with food, including films and books which have any tenuous link with food in their titles. The food posts with pictures are always so tempting though! LOL

      ‘Quality Snacks’ has nothing to do with food, except for the excellent play on words in the title and is in fact a collection of quality, snack-sized short stories some of which sound very surreal and so totally unlike anything I have ever read before. I am so looking forward to receiving my review copy and hopefully a guest post from the author, for publication in April.

      I hope that you are enjoying a relaxing weekend, it has been so nice to see some sunshine down here today.

    • Hi Mari,

      There are certainly some intriguing characters and surreal storylines in the potted synopsis, aren’t there?

      I am not generally one for short stories, however the last couple I have tried have more or less won me over to their advantages and merits, so branching out into a short story book, is going to be an interesting extension for me.

      Thanks for taking the time to stop by and comment, I appreciate it and have a great weekend.

  • Quality Snacks sounds like a different kind of read. A seventy-four-year-old great grandmother perform an aerial acrobatics? I do enjoy good short stories. Happy reading Yvonne.

    • Hi Naida,

      “Driven by strange ambitions, bungled love, and a taste for-or abject fear of-physical danger, the collection’s characters enact the paradox in the concept of a quality snack: the dream of transmuting the mundane into something extraordinary.”

      Who isn’t going to be totally intrigued after reading that line from the synopsis. That and the prospect of the hilarious campaign to turn Doritos into a main meal food, which gave the story collection its quirky title and cover art … Now that would be extraordinary!

      Have a great weekend and thanks for stopping by.

    • Hi Joann,

      Thank you for taking the time to stop by Fiction Books today. I love ‘meeting’ new people, so your visits will always be welcome and your comments always appreciated.

      I think this line form the books’ synopsis, was one of those which piqued my interest so much, aside from the intriguing sounding antics of the characters in the individual stories.

      “Quality Snacks, center on high-stakes performances by characters trying to gratify both deep and superficial needs, often with unexpected consequences.”

      I can’t wait to read this selection of stories.

      Have a great weekend.

    • Hi Diane,

      There are plenty of folks like that here in the UK as well!

      It just makes me so cross that many of them can stuff away all this junk food and stay stick thin, whilst I don’t consider myself to be that unhealthy an eater, yet am way over weight!

      Where’s the justice!!

      Have a great Sunday.

  • I love short story collections. I have to wonder if the story about the aerialist is based on a member of the Wallenda family. A summer or two ago she was touring Michigan doing that same sort of routine and I believe she was in her 60s or 70s. Interesting. Inspiration can come for anywhere!

    • Hi Cecilia,

      Andy decribes this collection of short stories as:
      “The dream of transmuting the mundane into something extraordinary.”

      Prior to this, Andy released an earlier selection of short stories titled ‘The Women Were Leaving The Men’ and described this collection as:
      “Drawing readers into the everyday lives of characters who are instantly relatable but intriguingly flawed, so that we may more fully observe and discover the idiosyncrasies in our own”

      I am pretty certain from both those descriptions that there are no holds barred and no subjects taboo, in Andy’s storywriting world.

      This should be an interesting read for sure.

      Thanks for the great comment and for taking the time to check out this weeks post.

    • Hi Beth,

      I sometimes feel that short stories are just lacking that ‘je ne sais quoi’ that turns them from something very average, into a genre that I would want to read on a more regular basis.

      Whether it be a short story or a full length novel, I definitely like my stories with an opening which grabs my interest, a strong central section which gets the point across, followed by a definitive ending; and short story tellers need to be very good to achieve all three.

      Andrews previous collection of short stories has achieved very high ratings and reviews, so I have great hopes for the quirky offerings of ‘Quality Snacks’.

      Thanks for hosting and taking the time to stop by, I appreciate the thought.

  • As a short-story lover, I’m so glad I came across this post! I plan to add this to my to-read list.

    Usually I read multi-author anthologies, for the variety, but lately I’ve also been reading some single author collections. This sounds like it has a good variety of stories (I’m particularly intrigued by the acrobatic grandmother and the polar bear hunting to stand up to one’s father).

    • Hi Hila,

      Andrew has published two collections of short stories, which both sound intriguing and which, as collections, both have a message thread weaving through the individual stories.

      ‘The Women Were Leaving The Men’

      “Drawing readers into the everyday lives of characters who are instantly relatable but intriguingly flawed, so that we may more fully observe and discover the idiosyncrasies in our own”

      ………….
      ‘Quality Snacks’

      “Center on high-stakes performances by characters trying to gratify both deep and superficial needs, often with unexpected consequences. Driven by strange ambitions, bungled love, and a taste for-or abject fear of-physical danger, the collection’s characters enact the paradox in the concept of a quality snack: the dream of transmuting the mundane into something extraordinary.”

      ………………..

      Both of these collections sound right up your street and even though, in the past, I have not been a huge fan of the short story genre, I too find them totally intriguing.

      Thanks for taking the time to stop by and I hope that I have come across a couple of books which we will both enjoy.

Written by Yvonne

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#Christmas is meant to be time for giving, so when the local food bank might be closing, Fern knows she has to step in! 👭

Discover a read about friendships, love and community this Christmas with #TheChristmasCalendarGirls by @SamTongeWriter!

https://amzn.to/2LsLKyo

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