Friday, November 25, 2016

Les Miserables

Merde this is a big book!  I think it may be the longest novel I've ever read. I'm not entirely sure I understood some of this book. There was some serious history name-dropping. I didn't even know Chateaubriand was a dude and not steak with fancy sauce (actually it's both!) Next I'll find out there was a Giovanni Lasagna that was an Italian artist and intellectual in the 1600's. A contemporary of Caravaggio, the lesser known Lasagna developed the Alfredo technique. Luckily the legacy of the Australian Prime Minister Jacko Bloominonion is intact. There are huge sections of this book that talk about things of which I am clueless. And these sections go on and on and on. Whew, other than that this book is excellent.

I never saw the musical or the movie. Yes, I am well aware that the movie has Hugh Jackman in it. You know I'm not fond of musicals. We all know that the story tells of the ex-convict of Jean Valjean and the various adventures of those people surrounding him.  And boy do they surround him. I mean are there like 500 people in France in the olden times?  Everyone knows everyone and they all keep bumping into one another. Especially the enemies. Just delete your Facebook account already. Jean just checked in at the did they find me here!  Pings and GPS Jean, just leave your phone at home next time.

Anyway this is cool book if you have an extra 4 months to spare and also want to know about The Battle of Waterloo, all the different machinations of French politics from the late 1700's to the mid 1800's, weird convents and last but not least the Paris sewers.  Probably the most exciting moment of the book and Hugo goes off for about 50 pages on the history of the Paris sewers. You're killing me, dude! Oh wait, you're dead.  Never mind.  It's cool. So, if you can get past all of that some say it's the greatest novel ever written.  Could be. Yes, people die in it.  Life was hard in the olden times.

Brandy has a little cameo in this book and I'm feeling like it deserves a comeback anyway. While this cocktail was developed in 1876 a  a tiny bit later than when Les Miserables is's still a very olden times recipe. Brandy Daisy: 3/4 ounce yellow chartreuse, 1 and 1/2 ounces brandy or cognac, 3/4 ounce lemon juice.  Pour ingredients in a cocktail shaker with cracked ice and stir well. Strain into a Collins glass with ice and top with a little seltzer.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

The Sense of an Ending

These mid-life or later life existentialist crisis books tend to win awards but I don't think Gen-Xer's vote on these things. For a Gen-Xer, examining the meaning of your life and finding it wanting is what we call Tuesday. The Sense of an Ending is by the super-British author Julian Barnes. (His name is Julian for Pete's sake) This won the Man Booker Prize in 2011. Sure it's well written but this genre doesn't do much for me, by that I mean, the examined boring life. People's lives are boring enough. Kids and work and kids and work and sports and sports and sports and work. (Read that last sentence to a dance beat and it gets more exciting).

In this book, our narrator Anthony lived a fairly ordinary life except for a few weird blips when she was a young adult.  Those "blips" come back, in one form or another after his retirement...and...we have a plot. The "twists" are not all that twisty.  And they happen to other people.  If you like a beautifully written very Britishy character study you might like it.  There is a mention of tyres. I almost wished someone got stabbed. (No one got stabbed). The most amazing part of this book is that our narrator gets to retire before he turns eighty, unlike most Americans I know. You can retire AND eat at a Pub? La-di-da, look at you fancy man.

They mostly drink beer in this book. I've been known to have an occasional beer myself.  I found a nice citrus-y crisp IPA that is my new favorite.  Green Flash Brewing Company makes it: Soul Style. They do sell around town and Green Flash has a map of exactly where they sell it in your city on their website. Pretty cool, huh.