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In Praise of Hangovers (Kindle Single) [Kindle Edition]

Evan Rail
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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Book Description

"Evan Rail’s Why Beer Matters and In Praise of Hangovers are beer writing taken to a new philosophical plane, beer writing as a matter of musing, personal recollection, philosophical probing all brought together with an erudite and personable writing style. They are essays, elegant in their design, but also robust in the way in which they celebrate beer and its universe."
—Adrian Tierney-Jones

Everyone hates them... and yet just about everyone has them, at least sometimes. In the United States, 11.6 million employees have reported going to work with a hangover within the previous 12 months. Although the first use of the word “hangover” in terms of alcohol only dates to the year 1904, literature is rife with references to what happens after too much booze, from the Book of Isaiah to the poems of James Wright. But for something so ubiquitous and commonplace, so constant and familiar, our miserable mornings after remain relatively unknown, chronically under-researched and almost universally despised.

In this 30-page personal essay — a spirituous blend of philosophy, theology, history and biochemistry — Evan Rail sings the praises of the bad morning, arguing that a well-made katzenjammer can change our world and ourselves for the better, allowing us to find at least some good in feeling very bad.

Drink tons of water, lie down in a quiet place and explore the meaning of misery with this intoxicating follow-up to the best-selling Kindle Single “Why Beer Matters.”

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Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 680 KB
  • Print Length: 30 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #173,334 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

Evan Rail is the author of Good Beer Guide Prague and the Czech Republic and a contributor on travel, food and drink for The New York Times, Condé Nast Traveler, Saveur, and Imbibe, among other publications. His reporting has been included in numerous anthologies, including the Best Food Writing and Travelers' Tales series, while his poems have appeared in The New Republic, Poetry Review, and The Times Literary Supplement. He lives in Prague.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Witty and Informed 7 Feb. 2013
Format:Kindle Edition
Evan Rail's latest long essay on beer and it's effects is a superb follow up to 'Why Beer Matters'. Written with Evan's typically pithy prose and informed by a wealth of references from around the world, 'In Praise of Hangovers' takes a slightly irreverent, sideways look at the after effects of indulging in too much booze. Littered with scenes that any drinker will instantly recognise, this is a wonderful read and well worth the half hour or so it takes to get through it. Be warned though, if you are reading it whilst on the train/bus or in a cafe, be prepared to giggle in public.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Redeeming qualities of a hangover? 16 Jun. 2012
By J. Chambers - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I learned pretty early that I could not drink alcohol without having a violent reaction - I can't even use mouthwash or cough syrup that contains alcohol. So I've never had a hangover. As a result, I could sympathize with co-workers who came in late looking like a truck ran over them, but I couldn't really empathize with them, having never experienced the joys of a hangover.

After reading Evan Rail's essay "In Praise of Hangovers," I have a better notion of what a hangover is and how it affects the sufferer. I'm not sure that I would have been curious enough to spend an hour reading an essay about hangovers, but a few months ago, I read and enjoyed another of the author's essays, "Why Beer Matters," which sold me on his ability to write a fascinating article about a subject I had little interest in.

About the title: You wouldn't think there would be anything about a hangover that's praiseworthy, but the author believes that hangovers do have some redeeming qualities. For one thing, having a hangover greatly simplifies your life, reducing everything to one question - is it essential for your survival, or is it unnecessary. (Time-consuming activities like Facebook and Twitter suddenly don't seem so important.)

To balance the "benefits" of a hangover, the headache, nausea, and other symptoms, plus the guilt and remorse that usually follow a hangover, usually ensure that drinking to excess won't be repeated too often!

What made "In Praise of Hangovers" so readable were the little tidbits, such as the fact that the word "hangover" only dates back about a hundred years. Also, the severity of hangovers depends on what type of booze was consumed, due to some nasty substances called "congeners" that are created during fermentation.

The essay concludes with some practical advice on hangover cures - what helps and what doesn't (for example: take aspirin or ibuprofen, not acetaminophen).

Overall, a very interesting, well written essay about a topic that should interest many people - even teetotalers.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best Slate Article Ever 7 Feb. 2013
By Joshua Saul Mensch - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition
If Slate Magazine were into publishing long form essays, Evan Rail's "In Praise of Hangovers" would be the ultimate "Explainer" piece on the art of post-intoxication: what causes it, how to cure it, and why, as a culture, we care about it (whoever thought the hangover was so significant!) even though, surprisingly, the hangover is still an under researched area of medical science. Informative, deftly written and witty, Rail's essay covers the gamut of hangover-related topics. The hour it takes to read it (and the $3.00 or so it costs to buy it) is well worth the investment for anyone who cares to speak knowledgeably about drinking (or at least drinks, whether beer or wine) but knows little about the morning after. Even those who don't drink may be glad to understand just why the inebriants among their friends keep doing it despite the misery they feel each time they've done it, and maybe have a little more sympathy for them.
4.0 out of 5 stars "I've lifted, pulled, chopped, climbed, made love with joy ... 15 Jun. 2012
By Robert C. ross - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
and taken my hangovers as a consequence, not as a punishment." John Steinbeck was generally an honest man and he might have been when he wrote those words, but, boy, I would have liked to share one or two of my beauties with him -- he might not have been quite so stoic. Some of mine turned me totally teetotaler for a period of time, they did.

In Praise of Hangovers (Kindle Single) Evan Rail stands somewhere between Steinbeck's acceptance and my sometimes avoidance. I greatly enjoyed Rail paean to beer, Why Beer Matters. (My review appears in a clickable link appears in first Comment.)

He brings the same even-handness, albeit passion, to this short study of the hangover:

"... I was overwhelmed by a sudden need to turn away and find another point of focus, a common manifestation of the chalk-throated, dyspeptic malaise that often arrives after a night on the lash. By contrast, many morning-after observations barely achieve the level of the banal .... But I have also had enough crystalline and meaningful perceptions during hangovers that I have come to appreciate them, even welcome them, if only for the unique clarity of the cloudy, blurry-eyed vision they often provide." Welcome them?

Well, I suspended my disbelief, and read on. But let the record be clear; I never ever welcomed a hangover, and never saw any "unique clarity" on a morning after. I'm very much with Joris Verster who makes a list of over 30 symptoms, starting with Agitation and Anxiety, passing through Guilt and Headache and ending with Vomiting and Weakness -- not to speak of anorexia, chills, fever, and more. They sound contradictory -- agitation and sleepiness?, chills and fever? -- not to me they don't. But Rail speculates that people have many different symptoms and reactions to too much alcohol, and as I've written, I'm suspending my disbelief.

Certainly there are enough "patients" to go around. Over 11.6 million employees report going to work with a hangover during the previous 12 months; the British believe the average worker misses 2.3 work days and spending 2.5 "generally miserable" days at work.

Rail reports on the lack of scientific understanding of hangovers, lists a large number of delicious and not so delicious quotes from history about the condition, and describes in more or less detail how nonsensical much of the conversation and internet traffic is about what to do to moderate the symptoms.

His solution:

Water: essential.
Aspirin: essential.
Cheeseburger: essential.
Bed: essential.
Everything else: ignored.


Water: essential, during drinking, after drinking (at least twice as much as the volume of beer or wine)
Bed: more water, whenever I get up to urinate or whatever.
Everything else: ignored.

Your mileage will vary, of course; Rail proves I think that there are many responses to alcohol. But I certainly enjoyed reading Rail's insights on one of the side effects of one of my life's greatest pleasures -- the enjoyment of beer and wine, often in moderation, but at times, not.

Robert C. Ross
June 2012
3.0 out of 5 stars ok, it was for free 2 Jun. 2013
By J. Liggett - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Interesting but ? Praiseworthy -- I mean hangovers. But as I believe Jimmy Buffet said: It cleans me out and then I can go on.

Actually, the more I think about this article and the information gleaned from it, the more I like it. And it was most appreciatively free of charge.

Just for the record: J, not C, Liggett
4.0 out of 5 stars Moral and physical aspects of hangover 12 Oct. 2014
By Alexey Lago Kinones - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This short essay reads more like it was written a century or two ago. It's elegant, philosophical and gives a few valuable advice on a not so popular topic.
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