Spoilers. Or book appreciation 101.

So, three posts in and I realise I’ve given far too much away. Whoops.

Each post I’ve written so far has made mention of swilling wine, heading to the pub or mainlining gin respectively. It’s a worrying trend that appears to be snowballing so let’s address it now, shall we? The thing is, while enjoying a book is something you can do at the beach or in the park or in hospital, it’s generally better enjoyed with something nice to drink and a snack of some sort. Certain drinks and food go together, a strong cup of tea goes best with a crisp, slightly tart apple in my opinion. Bread and dips or even a bowl of chips go best with a pint of beer in a courtyard on a particularly lazy Sunday. Browsing in your local bookshop is best done after one or two (but definitely no more) glasses of red wine. Be warned that last one is safest left to those with experience or significant budgets.

Similarly, authors have a suitable pairing. Virginia Woolf with tea in an actual teapot with biscuits or maybe little cakes if you’re feeling particularly daring. James Joyce with whiskey. Margaret Atwood needs a rich cab sav and Yann Martel should be paired with a gin and tonic. If you’re venturing into Will Self territory, I’m not quite sure what I can prescribe legally but whatever you have in the medicine cabinet would probably be a good start. Some authors are appropriate airport reading, (Atwood yes, Self maybe, Roth never). Some authors you probably shouldn’t still have on your bookshelf (Dan Brown). I’ll wait here while you get rid of the offending object. No really.

What else? Do you ever find yourself halfway through a novel so wonderful you want to have it within eyesight at all times? Because just looking at it makes you happy? Sure, novels are a means to pass the time without frying your eyes with another backlit screen, but a really good one makes you want to live in it. It fills you with a sense of hope for the story that is yet to unfold and when you close the last page you mourn the loss of that potential. That is the perspective from which I write here. The purest escapism perhaps. Enjoy with a crisp sem sav blanc.

What say you? What would you put on the menu with your favourite authors?

About Rachel Watts

I am a writer from Perth, Western Australia. My speculative fiction novella Survival will be released in early 2018. View all posts by Rachel Watts

4 responses to “Spoilers. Or book appreciation 101.

  • Grahame Bowland

    I drank a lot of red wine while reading Marieke Hardy’s autobiography. That seems quite appropriate. Otherwise, I’d say Vonnegut is definitely to be coupled with scotch. When I read Tolkien or Herriot (two “return to childhood” comfort authors) I tend to drink tea and eat scones.

    I can’t think of an author I’d drink coffee with; it’s usually a bad sign if I need that much stimulation to get through a book!


  • ohhellwhatthehell

    I find an innocent Sauv Blanc goes with most things, but I need a gin for Donna Tartt (or a nice SHiraz), a port is excellent with almost all poetry after a night on the turps and a brandy (with or without lemonade) does well for any of the early 20th centrury female writers, whom I love. If you/’re going to read Joyce, then LSD (it will make more sense), any of the turn of the century Scottish writers, whisky, clearly. Foreign 20th century writers, you need to get inventive. Calvados, expensive tequila (Gabriel Marcia Marquez – thank me later, on both counts), Sangria, and if you are desperate, there’s always Absinthe. Now it’s not the kind Hemmingway and Joyce had in Paris because that’s kind of illegal now,. but it might be useful if you’re trying to read Finnegan’s Wake or pretend you are at Hemmingway’s Moveable Feast (which is a lovely novel without wormwood boiled in brandy and other hallucinagenics). I’ve realised this makes no sense. Sorry. Books, booze, my favourite things….


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