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Book Review

Book Review:The Closers

by Lang Reid

I would imagine that around 99 percent of the readers drink alcohol, so this week’s book should have a wide audience appeal. However, author Frank Kelly Rich is appealing to those who more than just sip. As one of my friends, known to enjoy a tipple, once said, “I gave up drinking when they invented gulping!” This book is for the gulpers.

As subjects in the research for this book, I think the author observed all those who would venture out in the evenings wearing the T-shirt emblazoned with “I spent all my money on women and beer. The rest I wasted.” Sage words from that side of the fence!

Published by Riverhead Books this year (ISBN 1-59448-142-3) this is not a scientific treatise, but as the Los Angeles Times reported, “Modern Drunkard is an irreverent homage to the lifestyle of the chronically wasted, filtered through rose-colored shot glasses.”

The book is divided into seven main chapters, though much can flow on from one section to another. Author Rich has tried hard to delve into his subject, even coming up with the final chapter showing 365 reasons for getting loaded. For the gulpers out there, they don’t need 365 reasons, but it is fun for the rest of us to see how many we have tried personally. For example, on the 26th June 1819, the bicycle was patented, and you can celebrate that day drinking your favorite scotch and quoting W.C. Fields who said, “Scotch needs water like a fish needs a bicycle.” However, remember that on August 19th this is Burn, Witch, Burn Day dating back to 1609, as apparently the witches of Salem were accused of turning good beer bad. A heinous crime in most societies, but perhaps these days we would stop short of burning at the stake! The book suggests that this is the day to drink Frisky Witch cocktails, and very helpfully gives you the recipe, just in case your local bartendee does not.

In his rules for etiquette author Rich suggests that to make a party go well, the host should be several sheets to the wind. “The host’s foremost duty is to entertain his guests and there are few things more entertaining than an extravagantly drunk person attempting to host a party. Your inebriated state will put your guests at ease and encourage them to get as drunk as you are, which is the whole point of throwing the damn thing.”

In Great Moments in the History of Hooch you will find that in 323 BC, Alexander the Great drinks himself to death on his 33rd Birthday and the “I just kicked the entire known world’s ass” blowout!

The book is illustrated with period sketches, giving the book a Prohibition era feel to it. A great concept for a book advocating the exact opposite.

My copy of Modern Drunkard came from the Bookazine shelves, with an RRP of 575 baht. This book would make a good Xmas present for all your heavy drinking friends, so get one and give one now, before someone gives one to you! A good Xmas giggle.