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Drinking with Men by Rosie Schaap

Drinking with Men (edition 2013)

by Rosie Schaap, Rosie Schaap (Reader)

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81None147,836 (3.55)10
Title:Drinking with Men
Authors:Rosie Schaap
Other authors:Rosie Schaap (Reader)
Info:Brilliance Audio on CD Unabridged (2013), Edition: Unabridged, Audio CD
Collections:Your library

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Drinking with Men: A Memoir by Rosie Schaap




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This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Drinking with Men is well-written; a very enjoyable read. Schaap's ability, as a woman, to walk into a bar alone and comfortably enjoy herself is uncommon, and makes for a good story. The book is full of interesting details about the people she meets, and the community and culture of bars. ( )
  nancyjune | Mar 24, 2014 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Nice writing. ( )
  TanyaTomato | Apr 25, 2013 |
From the onset, I identified with Rosie Schaap. In the introduction to "Drinking with Men", she quotes from a 1936 book by Vogue editor Marjorie Hillis, "We don't advise [going alone into a bar]. If you must have your drink, you can have it in a lounge or restaurant, where you won't look forlorn or conspicuous." I have a few problems with this: 1.) How is sitting alone in a restaurant less pathetic than sitting alone in a bar? and 2.) I find it sad that almost 80 years later, this same rule applies. In general, it's acceptable for men to stop by the bar on the way home from work, but if a woman is at the bar by herself people assume something's wrong with her or she was stood up.

"Drinking with Men" is a memoir told through Schaap's time at 11 different bars. Schaap describes herself as a "serial monogamist" when it comes to drinking establishments, basically living at one until one day it loses its charm and she moves on to another. We follow Schaap from trading tarot readings for underage beers on a commuter train to living as a foreign exchange student in Dublin to a new life she found in New York after 9/11. While discussing the disasters that were her academic career and marriage, she somehow manages to stay superficial. But by the end of the book, I felt like I knew her. Each vignette shows a different side of her personality. In the commuter train it was freedom, in her 20s she desperately wanted to be viewed as an adult, and at The Fish Bar in New York she found comfort in her adopted family at her time of need.

"You can drink anywhere...but a good bar? It's more than a place to have a few pints or shots or cocktails. It is much more than the sum of its bottles and bar stools, its glassware and taps and neon beer signs, It's more like a community center, for people - men and women - who happen to drink." (pg. 7)

Someday I hope to find a place in Fargo where I can feel like I belong. A bar that's not too big, too noisy, or too bright - someplace I can take my book and have a drink. ( )
  megaden | Apr 16, 2013 |
I heard Ms Schaap interviewed on NPR a few weeks ago and her take on life-- by the bars she frequents--seemed an interesting way to approach a memoir. She takes readers through her life from the bar car on the train as a teenager, to an Irish bar, college bar, grad school bar and various dives she has known and loved throughout the years.

Drinking With Men (because she finds women are often uninterested in bar culture) is a valentine to bars. She writes so poetically about what it means to be a regular patron of a bar in a city that I actually found myself envious that I have never been a regular in a bar. I am not even sure I have ever been in the kind of bar she frequents and has written about. Maybe, I thought, I should even consider opening my own bar.

So yes, I enjoyed this book. It was fun to read and enjoy her observations of life in the bar and watch her grow up in bars and with their patrons. I did observe early on, that she really did not seem like my kind of person. That for all her romance about bars and drinking, I didn't really like her. (Although on NPR she sounded quite likable.) I feel torn: interesting book, good writing, unlikeable narrator.

The biggest criticism I have of her memoir is that she unfairly dodged, what I would consider the central question of the book. About half way through the memoir, in a chapter about skipping all her classes in grad school to hang out at her current bar of choice, she is one day reading her roommate's journal and reads her roommate's observations that she, Rosie, is an alcoholic. It never occurred to her that she was an alcoholic, and she begins to consider the question. It is a moment for me that the memoir began to quicken and picked up my interest. I read it in rapt attention, how would this realization change her life?

But suddenly, she changes the subject, and meanders off to another topic, even though it seemed she was about to conclude she had a big problem. She never went back to the question again. So, although I certainly loved her stories in bars and her love of even the divey-est of them, I wonder if she will ever consider the big question again. ( )
  acornell | Mar 24, 2013 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Schaap began drinking in bars at a young age, so she has many bars to reminisce over- the artists' bars of Dublin, the lone bar in her smalltown college days, the divey bars of NYC. This is a memoir by a woman who was often one of the few women, and often one of the youngest patrons, in the bars she frequented. And by frequented, it means that when she found a bar she liked it became a home for her, a place she went to every night. It seems strange that it isn't until nearly 200 pages in that Schaap wonders if she might be an alcoholic, after relaying the solid years of spending hours nearly every night drinking hard liquor, but she ponders the question, then quickly decides that she has spent her life in bars for the company.

This is an ER, and for the most part it is a well-written and interesting read. I have to admit that her teen years as a Grateful Dead groupie (in the 80's) gave me the creeps, and I really lost interest towards the end of the book when she finds God out of the blue. ( )
  mstrust | Feb 12, 2013 |
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"A vivid, funny, and poignant memoir that celebrates the distinct lure of the camaraderie and community one finds drinking in bars. Rosie Schaap has always loved bars: the wood and brass and jukeboxes, the knowing bartenders, and especially the sometimes surprising but always comforting company of regulars. Starting with her misspent youth in the bar car of a regional railroad, where at fifteen she told commuters' fortunes in exchange for beer, and continuing today as she slings cocktails at a neighborhood joint in Brooklyn, Schaap has learned her way around both sides of a bar and come to realize how powerful the fellowship among regular patrons can be. In Drinking with Men, Schaap shares her unending quest for the perfect local haunt, which takes her from a dive outside Los Angeles to a Dublin pub full of poets, and from small-town New England taverns to a character-filled bar in Manhattan's TriBeCa. Drinking alongside artists and expats, ironworkers and soccer fanatics, she finds these places offer a safe haven, a respite, and a place to feel most like herself. In rich, colorful prose, Schaap brings to life these seedy, warm, and wonderful rooms. Drinking with Men is a love letter to the bars, pubs, and taverns that have been Schaap's refuge, and a celebration of the uniquely civilizing source of community that is bar culture at its best"--… (more)

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