A delightful collection that will surely inspire many bar-hopping tours.

COME HERE OFTEN?

52 WRITERS RAISE A GLASS TO THEIR FAVORITE BAR

Writers share anecdotes and reminiscences about their favorite bars from around the world.

There’s no shortage of writers who’ve waxed poetic about their drinking habits, gaining notoriety, if not infamy, for pickling themselves alive. Yet what’s often overlooked is the habitat of the drunkard: the bar. Manning’s (The Things that Need Doing, 2010, etc.) well-curated collection of anecdotes, stories and sorrowful remembrances is a paean to these cathedrals of booze—the charming or surly wait staff, the choice music blaring from the jukebox and even the strict rules that define the space’s etiquette. Divided into categories separating the seedy dives from the upscale cocktail joints, the dimly lit date-night hideaways from the rowdy sawdust houses, and the bar around the corner from taverns in some of the most remote locations on Earth (imagine the inconvenience of a sudden beer shortage on the South Pacific island of Tarawa), these recollections will make even the most ardent teetotalers pine for a cold brew. Not to undermine the seriousness of alcoholism—and many of these stories hint at the perils of overconsumption—but there is true romance in the home-away-from-home feeling that comes with being a regular at one’s favorite watering hole. For the Croatian writer Robert Perisic, it was the heartbreak of losing his go-to spot by acquiescing to his wife’s demand that she have it as part of their separation. For Katy St. Clair, it was putting up with ridiculous surcharges to help preserve the Polynesian-themed Tonga Room in San Francisco. For others, it was the rite of passage of underage drinking, feeling welcome in a new country or simply the pursuit of a bespoke cocktail. Though the tales are inherently nostalgic, many of these places having long since shuttered, there is ultimately the optimism that there’s a clean, well-lighted place for each of us. Other contributors include Jack Hitt, Laura Lippman and Darin Strauss.

A delightful collection that will surely inspire many bar-hopping tours.

Pub Date: Oct. 14, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-936787-22-7

Page Count: 408

Publisher: Black Balloon Publishing

Review Posted Online: Aug. 11, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2014

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If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

THE 48 LAWS OF POWER

The authors have created a sort of anti-Book of Virtues in this encyclopedic compendium of the ways and means of power.

Everyone wants power and everyone is in a constant duplicitous game to gain more power at the expense of others, according to Greene, a screenwriter and former editor at Esquire (Elffers, a book packager, designed the volume, with its attractive marginalia). We live today as courtiers once did in royal courts: we must appear civil while attempting to crush all those around us. This power game can be played well or poorly, and in these 48 laws culled from the history and wisdom of the world’s greatest power players are the rules that must be followed to win. These laws boil down to being as ruthless, selfish, manipulative, and deceitful as possible. Each law, however, gets its own chapter: “Conceal Your Intentions,” “Always Say Less Than Necessary,” “Pose as a Friend, Work as a Spy,” and so on. Each chapter is conveniently broken down into sections on what happened to those who transgressed or observed the particular law, the key elements in this law, and ways to defensively reverse this law when it’s used against you. Quotations in the margins amplify the lesson being taught. While compelling in the way an auto accident might be, the book is simply nonsense. Rules often contradict each other. We are told, for instance, to “be conspicuous at all cost,” then told to “behave like others.” More seriously, Greene never really defines “power,” and he merely asserts, rather than offers evidence for, the Hobbesian world of all against all in which he insists we live. The world may be like this at times, but often it isn’t. To ask why this is so would be a far more useful project.

If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1998

ISBN: 0-670-88146-5

Page Count: 430

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1998

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The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...

NIGHT

Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

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