My Side of the Fence

The danger isn't going too far. It's that we don't go far enough.

Category: Books (page 1 of 2)

Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas

Every Thanksgiving we go to visit my Mother-in-Law in Richmond.  Sarah’s mom is down there by herself so we stay in a hotel over by the state Capital and go to dinner at the Tobacco Company.  We also found a really great French Country restaurant there.  Erin loves Fountain books and City dogs (hot dog joint) is right next door.  Love it.  It’s really, in my humble opinion, the best part of Richmond.  Someday I’d like to go there when the GA is in session and see how much different it is.  There’s actually a place there where you can get an old-school, proper shave.

This year, they are filming a movie about Lincoln on the grounds of the GA.  They’ve built a portico (I’d guess you’d call it) on the back side of the building out of plywood but with the spray paint and plaster it looks real.  My opinion is that we should build it for real.  I’ve always loved every aspect of the Capital building except the back.  I’m not an architect but the back of that building looks unfinished to me.  Certainly not as elegant in any respect.

In any event, one of the things I do when I travel is read.  I don’t usually blow the opportunity to get out and see the area but I will hole up with a book in the evening or read it on the trip down.  Sarah is our wheel-(wo)man so I’ve got time to read in the car if it doesn’t give me a headache.

On this trip I read “Fear & Loathing ins Las Vegas”.  I was going to try to do some analysis and write a real review but I’ma tell you up front it’s one of the worst books I’ve ever bothered to read.  Yeah, the stories are kinda funny but the 2 or 3 moments of clarity in the book – the wave speech is great – aren’t worth the 300 pages of cruft you have to sort through to get to them.  It isn’t that I disbelieve that some form of this story actually happened.  I’m sure it did but the devices just get old.  “As your attorney I advise you to eat an acid blotter” is funny the first 10 times.  I know it’s a product of the times and Thompson was a nut but I don’t think it ages well.

For my money, a book of Thompson’s that I read awhile ago that is much better (if still filled with drugs, alcohol and violence): The Rum Diaries.  The writing style isn’t that much different and the story is still fairly gonzo but I feel like it’s somewhat more plausible fiction.  The stories in F&L remind me of meeting up with my frat brothers and we all “1-up” each other until one of us is relating a tale of actual, unassisted human flight.  I’m glad I downloaded it on the iPad for cheap and don’t have to store it on a shelf….

The Billionaire’s Vinegar

I just finished a book about the wine business called “The Billionaire’s Vinegar”. The book is centered around a find of 200 year-old wine that allegedly belonged to Thomas Jefferson. The author then uses this find as a starting point to go over the development of the big wine auctions and the “wine scene” in London and New York.

One of the central tales (and how the book got its name) is how Malcom Forbes bought the first of these bottles to go to auction, a 1787 Lafite, for $156,000. Significant time is also spent on the fake wine problems that the auction houses encountered.

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