Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Review of the Day: Everyday Drinking


Everyday Drinking: The Distilled Kingsley Amisis a compendium of Kingsley Amis’s previously published “dipsography”: On Drink, Every Day Drinking, and How’s Your Glass? Amis was well known both on the page and off as a drinking man, so was uniquely qualified to tackle his subject.

On Drink was first published in 1972 as a stand-alone book. It is the best of the collected bunch, as Amis is fresh and on his game, often snarky, always opinionated. He covers beer, wine, spirits, general principals of drinking, drinking literature, tips for hosts, hangovers, and drinks recipes. Chapters on “The Mean Sod’s Guide” to being a stingy host and how to sooth a "metaphorical" hangover are fiercely entertaining.

Every Day Drinking is a collection of articles Amis wrote in the early 1980s on the same booze-related topics, many of them re-workings of chapters from On Drink. Despite the Editor’s argument Amis’s second takes are like enjoying a Laphroig after a Glenfiddich , several of these essays are more like the warm half of a large martini.

How’s Your Glass? is the oddest of the bunch. Again a collection of articles from the early 1980s, these take the form of a series quizzes on wine, beer, and hard liquor, with the answers printed further back. It is fine for what it is, although probably appeals to a limited audience.

Because the independent volumes are out of print and difficult to find, Everyday Drinking is a reasonable way to get On Drink into your library – a worthwhile purchase for those who prefer their drinking companions in printed form.


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