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September 2018: Let’s Have a Drink!

Reading Through Time

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Mar 19, 6:20pm Top

According to Wikipedia, in the U.S., September is, (among many other designations):
…... California Wine Month
…... National Honey Month (I hear Mead!)
..…. National Bourbon Heritage Month

I think the bottom line of what I read is “Let’s have a drink!”

Mar 19, 6:20pm Top

And because this brings back memories of my Christmas trip to Germany, I had to include my favorite of these 3 drinks.
1. Gluhwein, hot mulled red (usually) wine, enjoyed throughout our walks through the Christmas Markets in Germany and Strasbourg (although in France it is called Vin Chaud). Packed a nice little assortment of gluhwein mugs home with me. (pic from the web),
2. Mead, enjoyed in a “medieval” pub in Nuremberg called Finyas Taverne and in Trier, along with an “authentic” 1st century Roman meal at Zum Domstein
3. Whiskey “Gluhwein”, enjoyed during the Christmas Markets, but didn’t get a picture. (This one from the web.)

Edited: Mar 19, 6:24pm Top


So – September’s challenge is to read a book which has in its telling something about these drinks in particular, or drinking in general, hopefully with a bit of historical perspective.


Mar 19, 6:23pm Top

Some examples:

When the Rivers Ran Red: An Amazing Story of Courage and Triumph in America's Wine Country by Vivienne Sosnowski (NF)
Making Mead Honey Wine: History, Recipes, Methods and Equipment by Roger A. Morse (NF)
The Book of Bourbon: And Other Fine American Whiskeys by Gary Regan (NF)

Last Call: The Rise and Fall of Prohibition by Daniel Okrent (NF, 1920s, US prohibition)
Black Duck by Janet Taylor Lisle (fiction, 1920s prohibition, smuggling, YA)
Live by Night by Dennis Lehane (1920s-1930s bootlegging, fiction)
The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald (fiction, 1920s bootlegging)
The Wettest County in the World by Matt Bondurant (1930s, Appalachia, historical fiction)

You Don't Have to Say You Love Me by Sherman Alexie (NF, memoir,
Poe: A Life Cut Short by Peter Ackroyd (NF, 19th c, Edgar Allan Poe, alcoholism)
No Great Mischief by Alistair MacLeod - (fiction, alcoholism/Cape Breton family saga (1770s to 1980s)
Love Medicine by Louise Erdich (fiction, 1980s, Native Americans, alcoholism)
The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie (semi-autobiographical fiction, alcoholism)
Tales of the Madman Underground by John Barnes (fiction, 1970s alcoholism)
On the Road by Jack Kerouac (semi-autobiographical fiction, drinking, 1940s-60s)

Pretty much anything by or about Hemingway:
A Moveable Feast (1920s Paris memoir, drinking)
The Sun Also Rises (1920s, Paris, Spain fiction, drinking)
To Have and Have Another: A Hemingway Cocktail Companion by Philip Greene
The Paris Wife by Paula McLain (fiction, Hemingway in Paris, 1920s)

History & Science:
Craze: Gin and Debauchery in an Age of Reason by Jessica Warner (NF, 18th c England)
Drink: A Social History of America by Andrew Barr (NF, US)
The Billionaire's Vinegar by Benjamin Wallace (NF, wine fraud)
A History of the World in 6 Glasses by Tom Standage (NF, beer, wine, spirits, coffee, tea, Coke)
Thomas Jefferson on Wine by John Hailman (NF, wine history)
The Whiskey Rebels by David Liss (historical fiction, 18th century, taxation, whiskey)
The Drunken Botanist by Amy Stewart (NF, science, history, folklore, horticulture, and mixology)
Proof: The Science of Booze by Adam Rogers
Vineyard and Winery Trail guidebooks

Even contemporary fiction with winery settings:
Sideways by Rex Pickett
The Memory of You by Catherine West (fiction, wineries)
Napa Valley Mystery series & others

The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck (1930s farm workers, agriculture/vineyards)
Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen (fiction, 1930s, drinking, lethal "Jake"- adulterated Jamaican ginger extract)
Vintage Spirits and Forgotten Cocktails by Ted Haigh (recipes and their stories)

Mar 19, 8:14pm Top

Great theme!

Mar 19, 9:12pm Top

Oh, this could be interesting!!! LOL! ;-)

Mar 20, 2:33pm Top

Great theme, Cindy! I am planning on reading The Vintner's Daughter by Kristen Harnisch. This historical fiction novel follows a family of vintner's as they move from the Loire Valley in France to the California wine area.

Mar 20, 7:39pm Top

Sounds good to me!

Mar 23, 5:22pm Top

Going to have to search my shelves for something to fit this category!

Mar 23, 5:31pm Top

I just recently read Jack London's John Barleycorn so that one's unavailable, but since On the Road's been mentioned I'll be pulliing out my Library of America of Kerouac's road novels and reading it through. It will also count as a ROOT and for the Big Fat Book challenge.

Edited: May 6, 11:57am Top

Love seeing Grapes of Wrath, read it in jr hi, probably my first real adult book. Hit me pretty hard; read it a decade or so later and was still pretty powerful stuff.

For a more sober (sorry) look at the issue, The Glass Castle is one of the best books around re how alcohol affects the spouses, children, family and friends of the alcoholic.

Jun 2, 3:05am Top

Definitely don't forget Anne Brontë's The Tenant of Wildfell Hall. I might even give it a reread and then watch (for the first time) the 1996 miniseries.

Aug 16, 11:34pm Top

I thought it might take some digging to find something that might fit (because I try to go from my tbr, but I also want it to fit into history somehow!)... But, it turns out my f2f book club book will probably work!

The Great Gatsby / F. Scott Fitzgerald

Sep 5, 10:02pm Top

The Great Gatsby / F. Scott Fitzgerald
2.5 stars

Nick is renting a place on Long Island near some very rich people; his immediate neighbour is Jay Gatsby. They finally meet at one of Gatsby’s parties and Gatsby asks Nick to help set up a meeting with Nick’s friend (or cousin?) Daisy, who is married to Tom. Amidst adultery, drinking, partying, and driving (in the 1920s, when not everyone did drive), things go horribly wrong.

I thought about rating it 3 stars, ok, but decided to go with the lower rating when I read a wikipedia summary, knowing I’d missed what happened at one point (even after reading it a couple of times, I still couldn’t quite figure out exactly what had happened) and wanting to find out what it was I’d missed, only to realize I’d missed way more than I thought throughout the book!

I thought I was mostly following, but somehow, in Fitzgerald’s vagueness (or was it just not keeping my attention? Since I tried reading that one part twice and it still didn’t make sense, I’m saying vagueness – at least mostly), some things just went right over my head. It would be nice to not have to reread sections to figure out what he was trying to say, especially when I still couldn’t figure it out on the reread! I saw the diCaprio movie when it came out, and I thought it was good, but it was long enough ago, that I didn’t recall most of it to help me with the book. But hey – at least it wasn’t a long book.

Sep 11, 10:10pm Top

I really enjoyed The Vintner's Daughter by Kristen Harnisch and it was the perfect book for this theme. The story of a young Frenchwoman who overcomes many obstacles to achieve her dreams of becoming a vintner in her own right, the book includes a lot of information about the winemaking business, especially in regards to the Loire Valley in France and Napa Valley in California.

Sep 19, 4:55am Top

I finished a short novella by Latvian author Rudolfs Blaumanis, Im Sumpf.

Sep 24, 9:03pm Top

I finished Patrick DeWitt's debut novel Ablutions, a story filled with flawed characters, drugs and alcohol, told in the dark, biting and off-colour humour DeWitt is known for with his award-winning story Sisters Brothers. Overall, a quick and interesting read if you are prepared for the level of personal degradation the characters voluntarily sink into as the story progresses. A tantalizing blend of dark comedy laced with a dash of horrific realism. On a personal note, I preferred this story over Sisters Brothers.

Sep 27, 6:13pm Top

It was hard to come up with a book for the drink theme as I try to use the challenges to read from my personal library. I finally came up with a slim volume from Canadian history, The Rum Runners which was a fun, well at least for the reader, look back at prohibition in Alberta.

Sep 28, 7:23pm Top

My reads for September's Let’s Have a Drink!:

…..The Guards, Ken Bruen (alcoholism), quite dark
…..The Vintner's Daughter, Kristen Harnisch (wineries), lighter reading - enjoyed
…..Devil in a Blue Dress, Walter Mosley (bar/drinking), noir

Oct 1, 8:44am Top

I'm running behind, but will be finished this week with A Drink of Deadly Wine.

Edited: Oct 4, 7:40pm Top

Finally reporting in. For September I read and quite appreciated Paula McLain's The Paris Wife , the well researched tale of Ernst Hemingway's time in Paris with his first wife, Hadley Richardson Hemingway. The story is told from the viewpoint of Hadley, who is an insider with access to the alcohol, the parties and the literati who made up Hemingway's circle, but at the same time an outsider, there not because of her own writing but because she was married to Ernest.
The book was good at introducing me to the Lost Generation, its voices and the impact of these people, their lifestyles and their choices on those around them.

Edited: Oct 4, 7:33pm Top

Also wanted to mention Stewart O'Nan's West of Sunset, a fictionalized account of F. Scott Fitzgerald's time writing scripts during the Golden Age of Hollywood. I read this a few years ago and still look back on how Fitzgerald's troubles with alcohol were portrayed in this novel. Quite a well done book and quite a contrast between Lost Generation literati in the midst of the Twenties and in the midst of the Great Depression.

Oct 11, 11:51pm Top

I know it's October, but I'm running late. And besides running late, the book I read,A Drink of Deadly Wine, really didn't even have to do with anything alcohol! This is the story (book 1 of a 5 book series) about The Anglican Church and its mysteries! This was a whodunit of the Church of England. There was wine mentioned during specific mass celebrations and several of the characters drank wine and whiskey; but in general, nah! However, it was a good, short, read. 288 pages 3 1/2 stars

Edited: Oct 12, 9:45pm Top

Just saw the movie, interested in reading the book A Star is Born - was the movie an adaptation of a book?

Oct 13, 2:33am Top

>25 cindydavid4: The movie was first-the one with Liza Minelli. Then came the book, then movie version #2 with Babs/Kristoffersen and movie version #3 with Lady Gaga. In mho version number 2 is superior; and I'm not a Streisand fan.

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