Hello and welcome to The Fingers Reading Room. I’m your fearless Fingers editor and fellow besotted bookworm, Dave Infante, with a simple question for you:
What are some of the best booze (or booze-adjacent, or general food/drink) books you’ve read lately?
As you (hopefully) know, Fingers has a shoppable Bookshop page where I catalog all the books I’ve read since starting this project to, plus a bunch more that I’m planning to read at some point when life allows. Some recent favorites of mine:
The Moonshine War by Elmore Leonard
Citizen Coors by Dan Baum
The Secret Life of Groceries by Benjamin Lorr
Sellout by Dan Ozzi (a music book with many lessons for the craft beverage movement)
I’m also currently chipping away at Girly Drinks by Mallory O’Meara, and Champagne Widows by Rebecca Rosenberg.
With the holidays coming up, broken supply chains and insufferable travel (that will probably break me) are both very much on my mind. I’m looking to stock up on some readily available, new-to-me books to distract me from the agony of delayed flights and slightly constrained consumerism, and I figured others in the Fingers Fam may be doing the same.
So! If you’ve read something great in the general vicinity of booze—fiction or non; new or old; alcohol-focused or just generally in the orbit of food & drink—please share your recommendation in the comments!
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Quick bit of housekeeping: if you’re a publicist for a book you genuinely like, or an author recommending your own, that’s fine, but please disclose that in your comment. Looking forward to hear what you’ve been reading!—Dave.
"By the Smoke and the Smell," Thad Vogler
enjoying the Vernon Subutex books lately - protagonists spend a lot of time drinking in the park.
I thought Drunk: How We Sipped, Danced, and Stumbled Our Way to Civilization was very thought-provoking and largely convincing. If it's any indication, I can't shut up about its conclusions when I'm talking with friends at the bar. Learned about it from this Atlantic piece: https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2021/07/america-drinking-alone-problem/619017/
The greatest beer run ever by JT Molloy
Not booze-centric, but certainly booze-filled fiction. Astoundingly good, and from a first-time author (/comedian). https://www.samtallent.com/book/signed-copy-of-running-the-light
I've mentioned this title to Dave before, but can't let the topic go by without bringing up Jordan Rosenblum's Rabbinic Drinking: What Beverages Teach Us About Rabbinic Literature.
I just opened the book to a random page, and learned the sages taught that when giving a toast, it is in poor form to "strike the hip (or) dance before a flame," and one should never conclude the speech by saying, "Eat this lettuce, that you should remember me by it." Best men, take heed!