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Everyday Drinking: The Distilled Kingsley Amis Paperback – April 27, 2010


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury USA; First Thus edition (April 27, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1596916281
  • ISBN-13: 978-1596916289
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 5 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #174,822 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

The drinks revival is nearly complete—it’s now possible to be as insufferable about beer and spirits as about wine—but the revival seems to come with a warning label: enjoy the drinks, but don’t drink too much. In the face of that, it’s refreshing to see an artifact from a more hedonistic era: Amis knew the finer points of booze as well as anyone, but he never apologized for enjoying its effect, either. This reissue, appropriately introduced by Christopher Hitchens, collects Amis’ three drinks books: On Drink (1973), an indispensable primer; Every Day Drinking (1983), a browseworthy collection of newspaper columns; and How’s Your Glass? (1984), a dispensable collection of quizzes. Some of the advice is timeless—Amis, who could presumably afford better, advocated strategic deployment of cheap booze to save money—and some is not: liquor-store shelves look so different now that some passages are best read for historical perspective. But good humor never spoils, and Amis’ quips and gripes about noisy pubs, vodka drinkers, wine snobs, teetotalers, and hangovers grow more delicious with age. --Keir Graff --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

Review

"These books are so delicious they impart a kind of contact high; they make you feel as if you’ve just had the first sip of the planet’s coldest, driest martini...A reminder of how good all of Amis’s writing was about being what he called a “drink-man”: smart, no-nonsense and, above all else, charming...you finish this book believing that [alcohol] added more to his life than it took away. [Everyday Drinking] deserves to be rediscovered.”—Dwight Garner, New York Times

"There has never been a more charming, erudite, eager, generous and devoted lover of drink--to judge by his writing--than Kingsley Amis." —The New York Times Book Review

"With spirits, as with movies, there exists a breed of critic who both illuminates and entertains and, consequently, is worth reading. Kingsley Amis falls into that category — a great comic wit, Amis' writings (both fiction and non) about alcohol are among the very best." —Washington Times

"Back in print at last, Bloomsbury having gathered into one delightful volume under the title "Everyday Drinking" that's now hitting bookstore shelves. It is essential reading for any literate bibber." —Wall Street Journal

"It’s refreshing to see an artifact from a more hedonistic era….Amis’ quips and gripes about noisy pubs, vodka drinkers, wine snobs, teetotalers, and hangovers grow more delicious with age." —Booklist

"Among Amis’s literary output the journalism on drinking, recently collected and published with an introduction by (who else?) Christopher Hitchens, is in no way the least achievement because it is a reminder and a record of a culture that is incrementally slipping away….Like a bottle of Laphroaig, this book is full of good things, many of them familiar though others are more intriguing." —New Humanist

Studded with hilarious observations and much good advice.” —Kyle Smith

--This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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A very humorous collection of personal essays about drinking.
Bruno Martins
All in all, a great book, which will make even total abstainers, while reading, to wear an occasional sour smile.
Raimonds
Well, she put red food-coloring into the white wine, and the great Wine Snob praised his delicious drink!
Geoff Puterbaugh

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

100 of 103 people found the following review helpful By Asher Waxwing on May 28, 2008
Format: Hardcover
If you're interested in reading about the drinking life, where better to start than with a collection of writings on drink by Kingsley Amis, introduced by Christopher Hitchens? Though it weighs in at a mere 3.2 ounces, "Everyday Drinking" offers up enough drinking experience to float an aircraft carrier.

The book comprises three Amis titles. "On Drink" (1972) is a kind of informal treatise on drinking. "Every Day Drinking" (1983) is a collection of columns. "How's Your Glass?" (1984) is a set of drinking quizzes.

Though Amis provides a good bit of technical information and asks readers to produce no end of less-than-necessary information in the quizzes (he asks us to name a liqueur made with naartjies, for example), the main pleasures of "Everyday Drinking" are to be found in Amis's description of the drinking *life* and in his sublimely crotchety sense of humor.

Some people will object that Amis's repeated grousing about music in pubs is quaint, reactionary, and ridiculous. Such people are entitled to their opinions, of course, just as the rest of us are entitled to point out that such people are either drug-addled hipsters or ill-bred morons.

For those of you out there who are neither drug-addled hipsters nor ill-bred morons, here are a few choice sips of Amis:

* On the necessity of having a refrigerator to oneself: "Wives and such are constantly filling up any refrigerator they have a claim on, even its ice compartment, with irrelevant rubbish like food.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Geoff Puterbaugh on November 23, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
In a strange sort of way, Kingsley Amis does for drink what Anthony Bourdain does for food: with enormous humor and joy in life, both authors just say "go for it." It is probably no coincidence that they both loathe vegetarians, especially vegans.

I am not particularly sure that Amis is utterly scientific on the topic of drink (who is?), but he is utterly funny. And, for my two cents, he is funniest when he returns (again and again) to "The Wine Problem." As he mutters in his curmudgeonly way, there is no actual problem with wine itself: the problem is with inviting guests for dinner, who all arrive expecting wine AS A MATTER OF COURSE. If you don't serve them wine (even "plonk," British English for "rotgut"), you instantly lose social status. And Amis offers other examples: having dinner at an Indian restaurant featuring fiery curries, or at a Thai restaurant -- is this really the time to play the Wine-Snob Card? Or would you enjoy your dinner much much more if it were accompanied by beer? (M.F.K. Fisher would be nodding her head from A Better World.)

My own sainted mother once worked her own way around "The Wine Problem," when she realized that one of her guests (A Wine Snob) would drink only red wines -- and, thirty minutes before dinner -- she had only white wines. Well, she put red food-coloring into the white wine, and the great Wine Snob praised his delicious drink!

Just as perceptive: Amis divides the world into those who prefer cocktails, and those who prefer wine. He places himself emphatically in the first group, although he freely admits to chugging that da**ed wine from time to time ("particularly when dinner looks to be a long way off, and there is nothing else available.
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 28, 1998
Format: Hardcover
Kingsley Amis writes in the breezy style of a good English gent, on a subject about which he has much knowledge and even more experience--boozemanship. This series of short articles provides an authoritative statement on what to drink and how to drink it, along with with a hefty jigger of Amis's profoundly hilarious sense of understatement.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By dipacmr on July 19, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
First, I have never laughed so hard. This book is so funny. Amis has a turn-of-phrase that is incredible. It is also filled with arcana and nuance on the world of booze. I may even try some of his recipes. I truly enjoy the "different" read and books not boring. This is definitely in that category. You don't have to be a drunk to enjoy this book on "drink" and all the social niceties associated with it.

Highly recommended!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Frederik Knudsen on June 19, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Kingsley Amis sure packed a lot of knoweldge into this book. He just doesn't go on telling us everything there is to know about alcohol, he also tells us how it can be best used for parties. I also liked the section on weight loss for a drinker.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By J. A. Funk on August 6, 2008
Format: Hardcover
It's great to see Amis's finest work, _On Drink_, back in print at last. I had a second-hand copy but it was worth buying this to get the other two books included in the volume. The volume is attractively printed and bound and unabridged, and is a great gift too.

My only (minor) complaint is that the Amis's own texts (as opposed to the additional front matter) have been edited according to American punctuation conventions. This work is literary enough that the author's details should have been unaltered.
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