Thursday, June 21, 2007

Today's Links: Bacchanalian Book Reviews

Via The Tom Standage's A History Of The World In Six Glasses divides world history into the beer, wine, spirits, coffee, tea and Coca-Cola ages, seconding my suspicions that I am an ooold (hic!) soul.

Via The House of Mondavi, The Rise and Fall of an American Wine Dynasty by Julia Flynn Siler explores how the first family of wine's bitter feuds, self-imposed adversity and 'profits above all' thinking led to their demise. It sounds depressing -- you'd better have a drink on hand to help cheer yourself up.

Via Philobiblos: "Barbara Kingsolver's Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life is on its surface the story of the successful attempt by the author and her family to live as locavores for a year - that is, eating, almost exclusively, foods that were produced within an hour's drive of their farm in Virginia (if not directly on the premises). This book is more than that, though - it's a clarion call for more sensible eating practices, an ode to cooking/canning/gardening, and a nicely-written account of an agricultural year (in Virginia, at least)."

Via Powell' Recently deceased radio legend John Peel's recently released auto/biography, Margrave of the Marshes features funny, rambling anecdotes about himself and the the musicians he helped make famous. According to reviewer Rain Taxi, the book contains "more (anecdotes) per page than any other memoir I have ever read." A quickie: "Subjected during a television appearance to a duet between Aretha Franklin and George Michael, (Peel) remarked on camera, 'You know, Aretha Franklin can make any old rubbish sound good, and I think she just has.'"

Two from the 33 1/3 series*:
Via The San Francisco Bay Guardian: Kate Schatz tips her cap to PJ Harvey with her fictional novella, Rid of Me. Says reviewer Amanda Davidson: "It is a testament to her vision that the book doesn't follow the narratives of Harvey's songs too literally or linearly...but (instead) the text mainly draws from the music atmospherically."
Via Matthews Stearns' 'song by song, line by line, moment by moment' chronicling of the recording of Sonic Youth's Daydream Nation.
*Is it just me, or does anyone else see this series becoming the indie rock equivalent of those Star Wars extended universe novels? The fact that geeks -- whether their tattoos are nautical stars or Death Stars -- are usually obsessive completists and eager consumers hints at a similarly enduring future for both.