Liquorature Gathering #016 – “Looking Backward: 2000-1887” (Edward Bellamy)
Date: May, 2010
Whisky: Bruichladdich Rocks, Bruichladdich Peat, Bruichladdich Waves, Bruichladdich Links 16
Rum: Newfoundland Screech, English Harbour 5, English Harbor 25 (courtesy of Sir Ruminsky)
Helluva night, lads. This was a perfect example of how I had initially seen this club working out. A fine mix of food, friends, drinks and books. Dynamic and sprawling conversations that drew out both fact and opinion from us.
On arrival, we were met with a spread of bevvies like we had yet to see. Bauer, in his attempts at wooing the bigwigs at Bruichladdich I believe, has been slowly running through these Islay malts each eve he hosts our motley collective. This particular night he tabled four different ‘Laddichs, two rums and a to-kill-ya. Senor Surujbally blew the dust off one of his unopened gems to allow the boys a sip of the infamous EH25. I had to take a pass, myself, as I had tried it on a previous occasion. In good conscious I could not rob the misguided West Indi boy of his grail. I did however, finally sample the EH5. Verdict…meh. Hey…that’s just me. Pass the malt, please.
So…Bauer knocked us all for a loop here with this book selection. I am still unclear as to the exact path he took to find it, but I know he was looking into other books, and one thing led to another. Regardless of the journey though, the destination delivered.
Let me veer off a little here. We in Liquorature have a tough time defining our exact goal with this club. Obviously the central tenet is enjoyment, but how do we define what constitutes that? It could be that a) we have a book that we enjoy reading while we read it and therefore earn our just rewards; b) we have a book that pays off in spades when it comes to gathering night, through great conversation and stimulated discussion; or ideally c) we have a book that does both.
We have now had a few books (Blood Meridian, Atlantis, Looking Backward) that have left a couple of us…underwhelmed in terms of literary enjoyment, yet have led to brilliant nights of hanging out. On the flipside, the one book which should have had us talking the sun up (Atlas Shrugged), didn’t create half the ripples I’d hoped for intellectually, but was met with overwhelming acclaim. Being biased as to Ayn Rand’s school of thought, I like to think that the Liquorature guys are just so logical and bright that there was nothing to bother questioning about her uber-manifesto.
At the end of the day, each of these books pays off dividends to some of us more than others, but ultimately reward the club as a whole.
It was fairly unanimous that Looking Backward was a hellish read. To quote Robert, this was my ‘godforsook book’. A mix of dry literary stylings and Victorian language left us all slack-jawed and glazing. More than a couple of us were 11th hour finishers here. It was evident early however, that this book would net a fair amount of criticism, which of course, is good discussion. I leave the rest to Lance (or whoever writes up the book’s review) to flesh out for you. Trust me…I said my piece this evening. The last thing I want to do is rehash THAT.
So…the rest of the evening…
Lots of laughs. Great to see everyone speaking out. As mentioned last time ’round, everyone seems to be opening up more and more each time. Pat, suffering from back troubles, was a trooper just for coming out. Hope you’re feeling a bit better, amigo. The mood was light, even when into politics and world religions for a bit. This was a great night. Stayed on topic for about two hours all told. Not bad for a novel no bigger than an Archie Double Digest
Thanks, Liquorature guys, for making this what it has become.
Bruichladdich Links…Eh25…Bob “I just snorted Coke”…reconciling revolutionary communism and objectivism…mmmm…shrimp…devolution into a bit of Atlas chat…Pat’s painkiller cocktail (share next time, wouldja?)…John Wayne in leotards…laughs at my expense as the boys inevitably touched the two taboo subjects (I’ll never tell)…and Bauer’s attempts at unnerving me with a playlist chock full of his bad music.
Until Kerouac, boys…