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Caro

Book and wine evening

Last night our library had an in-house evening of wine tasting and book readings.  With about 20 library and council staff and partners attending, there was an attempt to match wines with books and we had readings from 8 books.

My husband and I were the finale, reading a book (For Better for Worse, for Richer for Poorer, by Damian and Siobhan Horner) about a family spending a year on the French canals (we have at least three books in our library on this theme now) which has passages (in different fonts) from the point of view of the husband and of the wife.  Our book went with an Australian shiraz wine (big and bold and adventurous).   The other book with that was The Five Greatest Warriors by popular Australian writer Matthew Reilly.

The format of the evening was nibbles and conversation mixed with readings.  The Oyster Bay Sparkling Cuvee Brut (bubbly and fizzing and glitzy) was accompanied by The Big Sleep by Raymond Chandler (they wanted one classic), and Vintage by Olivia Darling.  Himadri has always made Chandler sound worth reading and this reading reinforced that - I hadn't realised there was quite such a lot of humour in his writing.  

The Yealands Pinot Gris, quirky and fresh (and perhaps the nicest wine of the night) went with James McGee's Ratcatcher, set in Regency London and featuring the Bow Street Runners, and then with Janet Evanovich's Finger Lickin' Fifteen with her heroine/bounty hunter Stephanie Plum. I've read lots of hers, but got a little sick of the sameness of them.  

The other wine was a Farmers Market Petite Pinot.  The readings for this were Joanne Harris's Blackberry Wine, and a NZ book called The Life and Death of Laura Friday and of Pavarotti her Parrot by David Murphy, a farcical book about a cooperative marijuana-growing group, the Catholic Church, a female killer and a singing parrot.  I am looking forward to reading this!  

It was a most enjoyable evening, though I am not always great at listening to book reading, and sometimes go floating away in my own thoughts, and don't quite hear them all.  Our reading got lots of laughs and I don't recall making mistakes, so that was a relief.  I thought I might stumble over words, especially ones like froidure and anglaise.  

We may put on a similar evening open to the general public.  Though you probably wouldn't want too many people at such an event.  

Cheers, Caro.
TheRejectAmidHair

Re: Book and wine evening

Caro wrote:
 The Oyster Bay Sparkling Cuvee Brut (bubbly and fizzing and glitzy) was accompanied by The Big Sleep by Raymond Chandler (they wanted one classic), and Vintage by Olivia Darling.  Himadri has always made Chandler sound worth reading and this reading reinforced that - I hadn't realised there was quite such a lot of humour in his writing.  


I think Chandler is a wonderful writer, but he was regarded by many as not much more than a writer of pulp fiction - or, at least, not quite respectable - so it's a bit ironic that he is the sole representative of the "classics". It also seems strange to me that the "Classics" are regarded as if they were a sngle category.

But yes, I'd say Chandler is very much worth reading. He's very stylish; he does, I think, deal with serious themes; and he is, as you say, very funny.
chris-l

Great idea, matching books to wine! I'm sure there is a great deal more that can be said on this topic - in fact, I intend to go away and work on my ideal combination right now! I'm just finishing a stunning book by an Australian writer, Eleanor Dark's 'Lantana Lane'. So far, I have tried various vintages, but I will be back with my final recommendations and a review just as soon as I have finished it  - only 18 pages and less than half a bottle to go now.
Hector

Hello Caro

That sounds like an absolutely lovely event! Booze and books are perhaps my favourite pastimes!
Freyda

What a brilliant idea! Sounds like a good excuse to drink lots of wine, and why not?  I wish my library would put on something similar. I was expecting your choice to be matched by a French wine, but of course you are in a wonderful wine growing country yourself.

I think Chandler has  a great dry sense of humour. It is there all the time running through his writing style.

The mix of books sounds very varied. I'm sure such an event would go down well with "the public". Lucky you for having such an inventive library staff.
Caro

Interesting to see in the ads at the top of the page here one advocating abstinence and mentioning drink driving!  We could only have little tasters really as most of us were driving.  I live about 30kms from that library and four of us from my wee town here attended (me, a reliever, and my husband, a full-time worker at that library, and the full-time worker at our very small local library).  Somehow between us we had four cars to drive home!  

We were also able to order bottles at quite a discount, so that was good too.  I think the chief librarian said this would be first event of its kind in a NZ library.  Not quite sure how we managed licensing laws.  Perhaps we had a temporary licence, or perhaps as we weren't paying individually for the wine it is considered a private function.  The chief executive of the council was there, so everything must have been done legally.  

I did wonder, Himadri, where Dickens was, but he is too well known.  They wanted books which people probably hadn't come across (though how does that fit with Janet Evanovich, who is very well known?).  I suspect the style of Chandler fits better with wine than many other classic writers.  "Classic" means still around after a decent length of time.  Or with modern writers, good enough to be expected to be around after a decent length of time.

Cheers, Caro.
Green Jay

Caro wrote:
I suspect the style of Chandler fits better with wine than many other classic writers.  

Cheers, Caro.


It's a long time since I've read any, but I suspect it should really be a bottle of Bourbon (or Scotch?) with the Chandler.  Wink

Which makes me think what would be suitable for others writers, or books? Honey-and-lemon for Pooh Bear, and champagne of course for Barbara Cartland. Cocktails for F Scott Fitzgerald: I'm not up enough with the different ones to say which - I'm a wine drinker myself. Cider for Thomas Hardy, and for Laurie Lee. Any more ideas?
TheRejectAmidHair

Definitely vodka for Dostoyevsky. Indeed, I think the old boy would make far more sense after a few shots.

Rum with Stevenson's Treasure Island, I think. But Kidnapped would demand some good malt whisky.

And of course, absinthe with Zola's L'Assommoir.
Caro

I read L'Assoimmoir at university - can't remember a thing about it, but at a Food Court we went to in Auckland recently they had 'genuine Czech absinthe' which I tasted.  It was completely and utterly undrinkable.  I think I have described it as a mix of meths and kerosene.  

So perhaps L'Assommoir wouldn't be to my taste, if I were to read it in English.  The French would be well beyond me now.  

Cheers, Caro.
Castorboy

How about:-

Claret for John Mortimer.
Port for J I M Stewart and his university novels.
A full-bodied red wine for Francois Rabelais.
White wine for Katherine Mansfield,
TheRejectAmidHair

That’s an interesting distinction – red wine for Rabelais, but white for Katherine Mansfield. I suppose it’s obvious what to drink with La Chartreuse de Parme.

Caro – L’Assommoir is an absolutely terrific novel, but as it features, amongst other things, the horrors of alcoholism, it’s perhaps just best to stick with tapwater when reading it!
Evie

Rumpole would appreciate a good claret, I am sure, as a change from Chateau Fleet Street - but I think Bollinger is a good accompaniment to John Mortimer.  He was once accuse of being a champagne socialist, to which he replied, 'I'm more of a Bollinger Bolshevik!'

New Zealand make such good white wines that I agree that a nice NZ sauvignon blanc would be perfect, whereas Rabelais definitely needs a robust Burgundy.
Green Jay

I think Katherine Mansfield might need beef tea.  Wink
Evie

Very Happy
Castorboy

Evie wrote:
New Zealand make such good white wines that I agree that a nice NZ sauvignon blanc would be perfect.....

Assuming the export quality is the same as the domestic one, the two sauvs I have enjoyed recently are Hunter’s of Marlborough in the South Island and Mission Estate of Hawke’s Bay in the North Island. There is an over supply of wine of all kinds locally so we are seeing very competitive prices especially in the supermarkets.
Sandraseahorse

I think Health and Safety regulations must be more lenient in NZ than in this country, where I am sure that such an event would be banned in case someone got drunk and knocked over book shelving  or electrocuted themselves on the photocopier.

Our local library used to do a crime writers book group at which tea and biscuits were provided but the refreshments were banned by the local authority in case someone got scalded with hot tea or germs were transmitted by people touching another biscuit as they took one for themself. (Honestly!)  Perhaps people in library management have an over fertile imagination.
Green Jay

I have had wine at an author event at the library, but it was in a room nowhere near the books. And the wine was supplied by the publishers. Free.
TheRejectAmidHair

Sandraseahorse wrote:
Our local library used to do a crime writers book group at which tea and biscuits were provided but the refreshments were banned by the local authority in case someone got scalded with hot tea or germs were transmitted by people touching another biscuit as they took one for themself. (Honestly!)  Perhaps people in library management have an over fertile imagination.


This reads like a satire!
Sandraseahorse

Quote:
Sandraseahorse wrote:
Our local library used to do a crime writers book group at which tea and biscuits were provided but the refreshments were banned by the local authority in case someone got scalded with hot tea or germs were transmitted by people touching another biscuit as they took one for themself. (Honestly!)  Perhaps people in library management have an over fertile imagination.



Quote:
This reads like a satire!


Unfortunately, it is true!
Castorboy

Sandraseahorse wrote:
I think Health and Safety regulations must be more lenient in NZ than in this country, where I am sure that such an event would be banned in case someone got drunk and knocked over book shelving  or electrocuted themselves on the photocopier.

In public bars in NZ the habit of having bowls of nuts on the counter never caught on. So the UK urban myth of declining to nibble the nuts because the men didn't wash their hands is not current here. In Auckland book launches in libraries is quite a popular means of publising a new novel. The wine and cheese available is not considered the main attraction!
Caro

Thankfully things haven't got to the stage here that Sandra mentions, but we do tend to be heading down that track.  When this event was being planned I asked if we were to bring a plate (NZ expression for bringing home-made food for a function) and the chief librarian said No, that wouldn't actually be legal for them.  Perhaps that was because there was a charge for some people attending.  Not sure.

At the moment our historical society is planning a fair for Labour Day weekend (end of October) and we have a barbecue put on by a local group.  This has to have a council permit with rules about gloves and money handling etc.  The man running it is keen to forgo that and take his chances.  Anyway who sells food at stalls (ie jams, biscuits, etc) has to have one of these permits.  It's all a bit mad.  When was the last case of food poisoning from home-made jam?

Cheers, Caro.
Castorboy

I am enjoying a wine evening at the end of winter, and as Pliny said In vino veritas, my final contributions to this topic are:-

A dry sherry for Jane Gardam
The wine of the North East of England for Alan Plater – Newcastle Brown
And not exactly the wine of Scotland, an Irn-Bru for Ian Rankin
Cheers  occasion5
Green Jay

For Ian Rankin, surely a single malt from the eastern side of Scotland, or whatever beer it is Rebus drinks in the Oxford Bar?  Only Irn Bru if he's driving.  Wink
joeturner

Who remembers Dandelion Wineby Ray Bradbury?

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