Learn about favorite writers in ‘A Sidecar Named Desire’

The holiday season started with a cup of cheer.

Then there was a sip of wassail, some mistletoe and wine, and rummy-tum-tum along the way. It’ll likely end with a cup of kindness yet for Auld Lang Syne and a pretty nice headache. The only thing left to do, then, as in the new book “A Sidecar Named Desire” by Greg Clarke and Monte Beauchamp, is to write about it.

Imagine the surprise felt by one of our ancient ancestors who put a few grapes aside for a snack later. She must’ve been angry at first and then pleasantly surprised.

Her discovery, and those that came after her, have been decried by “temperance zealots” throughout the years; Prohibition was a big thing and abstinence is promoted even now. And yet, say Clarke and Beauchamp, “considerable” evidence points to a tie between drinking and “great writing.”

Ancient Roman poets loved their wine, for instance, and Shakespeare was a big fan. Thomas Jefferson ordered cases and cases of it on a visit to France , and author Roald Dahl not only drank it, but he wrote a short story about wine, too.

Beer was once used in lieu of a paycheck in ancient Egypt, but Greeks and Romans claimed that beer was “inferior” to wine. Even so, say the authors, Jack London loved his suds and Jane Austen made beer using a common ingredient available in her back yard. Norman Mailer claimed to “need” a beer every afternoon.

If you’ve ever wondered which came first, author Michael Veach says bourbon’s name came from Bourbon Street. Langston Hughes was said to have love a glass of it, and William Faulkner listed whiskey as one of his writing tools. Gin and tonic seems to have been a P.G. Wodehouse creation. E.B. White had a martini when suffering from writer’s block and Ian Fleming “inadvertently” helped vodka sales with James Bond’s martini instructions. Among other things, Hemingway loved Bloody Marys, Kerouac enjoyed margaritas, Steven King once said that alcohol use made for a “better writer,” and Hunter S. Thompson drank (mostly) bourbon and scotch. And Tolstoy?

Nope, he was a teetotaler.

A roaring fire, a glass of wine, and a good book. Is there a better trio? When the book is “A Sidecar Named Desire,” the answer is an emphatic “no.”

In beginning each chapter with a history of the proceeding alcohol at hand, authors Greg Clarke and Monte Beauchamp peek into the glasses of writers from antiquity to modern-day, literature to light reading. These are tasty sip-at-leisure chapters, more continuous sidebar than paragraphical, and perfect for browsing or a quick dip made possible by drawings that indicate a jigger of lightheartedness is shaken, not stirred in. And if you really like to get involved in your reading and want the full experience, there are recipes to try. Salud!

Imbibers and abstainers alike will love learning about their favorite writers in “A Sidecar Named Desire,” so have a little serving. Auld acquaintance may’ve been “forgot” but this is a book you won’t.

More in Life

‘Talk to Me’ draws from real life

The view from above was stunning. The cliché says that people look… Continue reading

You’ll want to hang tight when reading ‘The New Iberia Blues’

Your hand is deep in a bucket of crunchy goodness. Without popcorn,… Continue reading

Free webinar about business taxes

The Washington State Department of Revenue is offering a free webinar about business taxes on Jan. 9.

Start off the new year with a First Day Hike at a Washington state park

No Discover Pass will be needed for any of the Washington State Parks on Jan. 1

Learn about favorite writers in ‘A Sidecar Named Desire’

The holiday season started with a cup of cheer. Then there was… Continue reading

Blood donors needed as local supply dips to emergency levels

Bloodworks Northwest is urging people to give blood and platelets after patient… Continue reading

A dietitian’s thoughts on the ‘keto’ diet

You’ve probably heard about the popular “keto” diet in the news this… Continue reading

You don’t have to like it, but you will

You don’t have to like it. That’s the way it is with… Continue reading

Students advance in Samsung STEM contest

Two Foster High School students are participating in the Samsung Solve for Tomorrow Contest.

The Shop With A Cop event took place on Dec. 8 at Target. Photo from Tukwila Police Department Facebook.
Shop With A Cop is another success

The Tukwila Police Department hosted Shop With A Cop on Dec. 8 to provide gifts for kids and their families.

Prepare to dive into the inner workings of a library

The possibilities seem endless. Row upon row of books awaits you, each… Continue reading

This book is sure to put you in the Christmas mood

You thought you knew what was inside the box. Though it was… Continue reading