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Vertical Paperback – January 1, 2011

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Vertical + Sideways: A Novel + The Sideways Guide to Wine and Life
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 404 pages
  • Publisher: Loose Gravel Press LLC; 1 edition (January 1, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0615392180
  • ISBN-13: 978-0615392189
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (112 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #295,642 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


Vertical -- Rex Pickett's long-anticipated sequel to his now iconic Sideways -- had me alternately laughing and crying through this hilarious, heartbreaking and ultimately moving meditation on Fame, Friendship and Family. Vertical managed to break my heart and then put it back together again, piece by piece ... and should abolish any lingering doubts whether the author just got "lucky" with Sideways. This is a work to be both admired and savored like the great Willamette Valley Pinots Miles exults over." --Marco Mannone, Forth Magazine

"Vertical" is an often over-the-top, sometimes poignant, always entertaining story peppered throughout with impenetrably obscure but colorfully descriptive and eminently accurate adjectives... . What happens on the trip north through California accounts for much of the hilarious, ludicrous and outrageous action..Rex Pickett has not let us down. --Kark Klooster, Oregon Wine Press

"Sideways," arguably the most influential wine-themed book that became a film in American history. The film Sideways grossed $250 million... and people are still debating whether it alone caused Pinot Noir sales to spike, or was merely a factor in the variety's astonishing success. Now we have the follow up story in Vertical..." --Steve Heimoff, Wine Enthusiast

Rex Pickett shows that his gift for creating wildly funny scenes is quite intact... The book is laugh-out-loud funny. --Paul Jameson, New York Journal of Books

About the Author

Rex Pickett is a screenwriter and novelist living in Santa Monica, CA.  His novel "Sideways" was made into the movie of the same title, directed and co-adapted by "Election" and "About Schmidt" filmmaker Alexander Payne.  "Sideways" garnered over 350 prestigious awards from various critics and awards organizations, including, most notably, the Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay.  It recently was voted as one of 101 Greatest Screenplays of All Time by the Writers Guild of America.  Rex's script "My Mother Dreams the Satan's Disciples in New York" was the basis for the Barbara Schock-directed AFI film which won the 2000 Oscar for Best Live Action Short.  He is currently writing a comedy series for HBO entitled "The Nose."  "Vertical" is his second novel.

Customer Reviews

I know what Pickett and therefore Miles wants to try to "say" or "write" but he just didn't do a good job of it.
Vertical, Rex Pickett's follow up to his acclaimed debut novel Sideways, is a rewarding read for anyone who loved the Sideways novel or the film adaptation.
Author Rex Pickett has a propensity for creating strong characters, and his command of the English language is admirable.
Todd M. Doty

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

33 of 40 people found the following review helpful By Marco Critic on December 31, 2010
Format: Kindle Edition
If you ever wanted to continue riding along with Miles and Jack as they drink fine wines and sleep with sultry women, "Vertical" definitely delivers. But Rex Pickett doesn't merely retread the same terrain as he did in "Sideways", he sets his story on existential fire, deconstructs it, and then boldly shoves it into uncharted emotional territory for himself and his alter-ego, Miles Raymond. If a "sequel" is technically just more of something, then "Vertical" does not qualify. Life is drastically different for Miles this time around, who is reeling from his success as a writer who's book became a hot movie (sound familiar?). In "Sideways" Miles was dogged by his failures, now Miles is dogged by his success and its trappings: drowning in all the Pinot and p---y he could ever hope for. Like Icarus before him, Miles is flying too close to the sun and his proverbial wings are melting. Between chugging from spit-buckets before cheering crowds and engaging in whirlwind threesomes, he's quickly losing touch with reality. A reality that becomes impossible to ignore when he chooses to rescue his ailing mother from her nursing home. His mission: to emcee a hedonistic wine festival in Oregon en route to depositing his mother in Wisconsin to live out her final days. Easier said than done, to say the least.

Yes, Miles and Jack are back, loaded up on wine and hitting the West Coast asphalt (along with an eternally-stoned Filipina caretaker and his mother's pesky dog). Only now, Jack is the loser going nowhere fast with his life (divorced, jobless) and Miles is the wild womanizer, a role-reversal that offers much insight into both characters, and a lot of laughs.
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20 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Ace1333 on March 1, 2011
Format: Paperback
Miles and Jack are back on the road, this time venturing to the Willamette Valley in Oregon, to again chase their quaffable dragon, Pinot Noir. And I couldn't be happier to read about it!

Vertical, Rex Pickett's follow up to his acclaimed debut novel Sideways, is a rewarding read for anyone who loved the Sideways novel or the film adaptation. Lovers of the movie will delight in imagining how Paul Giamatti, Thomas Haden Church and Virginia Madsen will play the scenes of Vertical, and lovers of the novel will enjoy seeing how the true characters (as the Miles and Jack of the novel differ greatly from the ones in the movie) have grown, matured, and in some cases regressed, since that fateful trip to Santa Ynez.

Not to be left out, Oenophiles and casual wine lovers get their due, as Rex treats the reader to a handy primer on Willamette Valley Pinot Noir, and a few further lessons about the wine world of Central Coast California.

What I enjoy most about Rex Pickett's work is how much of himself you can read into his characters. Rex's choice to parallel his own life, by having Miles find success by writing a novel that is, ostensibly Sideways, and have it achieve the same film success as the Alexander Payne movie, is a master stroke. Rex gets to comment on the compromise-laden reality of Hollywood, how when movies are made into books, the two entities become interchangeable, and, for better or worse, how the author of the novel must accept what the film and filmmaker turn the book into. More importantly, knowing what we know about how similar real life and the world of the novel are, we get the added bonus (read: "salacious joy") of wondering just how much of what we are reading actually happened to Rex.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Christopher Barrett TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on January 30, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I loved Sideways, both the novel and the film. I read Sideways again just before starting this novel. I won't go into too many details, but the first half involves a new Miles enjoying his new lifestyle. He decides to take a road trip from LA up to IPNC Oregon before heading east to Wisconsin to deliver his ailing mother to her sister. So we have a road trip. Awesome yes? Well yes and no.

The first half of the novel is all about Miles looking to get laid. And Pickett seems to really get into these scenes. Sadly he spends a lot of time on these 'conquests', albeit to set up later events, but the rest of the narrative suffers. Jack has become a sad and uninteresting character, clinging to Miles coattails. The most interesting character is Miles' mother and her crazy dog Snapper.

Once the group is on the road, I expected some winery antics, but sadly we get a stop in at Justin and a quick stop at Foxen. The winery visits lose their allure and are not as funny as in the first novel. In Sonoma we have a quick stop at Gary Farrel. Sadly no Oregon wineries are visited except the stop at Willakenzie while on the IPNC tour bus. What I missed though was the banter between Jack and Miles while drinking and delighting in the vineyard.

IPNC is the turning point. While at IPNC some pretty interesting events go down, and we are finally back in the 'Sideways' territory. Once we are with Miles on the subsequent trip to Wisconsin, we enter a whole new realm of writing for Pickett. This is personal, heartfelt, and moving. The relationship between Miles and his mother is brought to the forefront. We also see Miles confront himself with both his alcoholism and his loneliness. It's pretty amazing stuff.

So I rounded out to four stars.
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More About the Author

Rex Pickett is a novelist and a screenwriter living in Santa Monica, CA. His new novel "Vertical" is a follow-up to his novel "Sideways" -- from which the critically-acclaimed Alexander Payne film was made -- and will be available September, 2011. Visit him on his Web site at:

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