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Everyday Drinking: The Distilled Kingsley Amis [Hardcover]

Kingsley Amis
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)

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Book Description

3 Nov 2008
Kingsley Amis was one of the great masters of comic prose, and no subject was dearer to him than the art and practice of imbibing. This new volume brings together the best of his three out-of-print works on the subject: Kingsley Amis in Drink, Everyday Drinking and How's Your Glass? In one handsome package, the book covers a full shelf of the master's riotous and erudite thoughts on the drinking arts: Along with a series of well-tested recipes (including a cocktail called the Lucky Jim) are Amis's musings on The Hangover, The Boozing Man's Diet, The Mean Sod's Guide, and (presumably as a matter of speculation) How Not to Get Drunk - all leavened with fun quizzes on the making and drinking of alcohol all over the world. Mixing practical know-how and hilarious opinionation, this is a delightful cocktail of wry humour and distilled knowledge, served by one of our great gimlet wits.

Product details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC (3 Nov 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0747599785
  • ISBN-13: 978-0747599784
  • Product Dimensions: 19.8 x 13.4 x 3.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 453,955 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


`A witty, belligerent and often profound defence of the drinking habits that Kingsley acquired' -- Observer

About the Author

Born in London in 1922, Kingsley Amis was one of the best-loved British novelists of the twentieth century. He was the author of more than twenty novels, including the classic Lucky Jim, and a number of other works of criticism, poetry, and memoir. He was knighted in 1990, and died in 1995 at the age of seventy-three.

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Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars
4.1 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Jim Dixon Returns 8 Feb 2009
I've read LUCKY JIM, Amis's hilarious novel about Jim Dixon, a marginal associate professor at a second-rate university who is aggrieved by a pompous boss, has a funny scheming mind, and enjoys a drink or three. Well, EVERYDAY DRINKING suggests that the perspective of the fictitious Dixon might have come easily to Amis, since his voice in ED shows a sensitivity to pomposity (wine snobs), amusing party stratagems (how to serve inferior wines while presenting yourself as a wine expert), and great practical knowledge about the complete drinking experience, which ranges from stocking your bar to tending your hangover to periodic abstinence.

Reading ED raises this question: Why bother to buy a mere informative guide about wines and spirits when Amis gives you plenty of information but packaged with great common sense and a comic novelist's droll narrative skill. For example:

"General Principle 1: Up to a point (i.e. short of offering your guests one of those Balkan plonks marketed as wine...), go for quantity rather than quality. Most people would rather have two glasses of ordinary decent port than one of rare vintage. On the same reasoning, give them big drinks rather than small...Serious drinkers will be pleased and reassured, unserious ones will not be offended, and you will use up less chatting-time going round to recharge glasses."

At the same time, ED can be read as a cautionary text, in which sophisticated pleasure becomes excess. As Christopher Hitchens observes in the introduction: "...the world now knows what Kingsley's innumerable friends had come to realize, which is that booze got to him in the end, and robbed him of his wit and charm as well as his health." To this reader of LUCKY JIM, this also seemed the likely fate of Professor Dixon.

Nonetheless, ED is recommended for the drinking man (and woman) who seeks a specialist's informed pleasure in what is surely the world's primary (public) leisure activity.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars One third of this book is great ... 11 Mar 2010
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
... And the other two thirds are a rare instance of Kinglsey Amis just not trying, or feeling a lack of his usual wary wit. This is a compilation of the three books he wrote about boozing in the seventies and eighties, of which the first, 'On Drinking', is an absolute joy - like his best fictional writing, it's true, enjoyable and consistently funny. The descriptions of his inventive list of cocktails are very fun, his distinction between the physical and the metaphysical hangover (and consequent cures for both) are thoughtful, and the analysis of the drinking man's guide to making guests feel they've drunk well at a dinner party is basically a very entertaining short story. All of them are very funny, and extremely quotable.
The second two thirds of the book are made up of a) a collection of columns written in the early 80s for the Express, in which he comes across as rather tired (uncharacteristically for him I've failed to find a single funny line in it - it was written in quite a fallow period after Jake's Thing and Stanley and the Women, regarded as lesser books of his I think, and before he came back to form with the magnificent The Old Devils), and b) a collection of quizzes. I can't quite put into words how disappointing it is to expect to find 100 pages of Kingsley Amis writing about booze and to discover a whole section of unadorned quizzes.
Nevertheless I can't recommend the first 100 pages enough - easily worth five quid.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars How's your glass? 29 Nov 2011
By Spinksy
This is an entertaining read, also surprising how much you learn about booze along the way - cocktail recipes, the origins of drinks, and even how to cater for the perfect drinks party, all drenched in Amis wit. There is a little repetition, but this is due to this book being a collection of writings on drink, rather than a stand alone volume. A must for anyone who not just enjoys a drink, but enjoys enjoying a drink. Cheers!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Endlessly Entertaining 11 July 2011
By Jack
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This is a brilliant book written by a master of comedy and the English Language. Even when suffering from a 'metaphysical hangover'(explanation in the book) I found the strength to cackle at the wit and truth of the writing. It's also the sort of book you dip into to explain the mysteries of wine, spirits, cocktail mixing and general drinking by someone who liked a drink or two. Also how to deal with mean hosts at a drinks party, how not to get drunk and lots of other observations.
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