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Manny Rayner's book reviews

I love reviewing books - have been doing it at Goodreads, but considering moving here.

Currently reading

The Greatest Show On Earth: The Evidence For Evolution
Richard Dawkins
R in Action
Robert Kabacoff
Fluid Concepts and Creative Analogies
Douglas R. Hofstadter
McGee on Food and Cooking: An Encyclopedia of Kitchen Science, History and Culture
Harold McGee
Epistemic Dimensions of Personhood
Simon Evnine
Pattern Recognition and Machine Learning (Information Science and Statistics)
Christopher M. Bishop
Relativity, Thermodynamics and Cosmology
Richard C. Tolman
The Cambridge Handbook of Second Language Acquisition
Julia Herschensohn, Martha Young-Scholten

Everyday Drinking: The Distilled Kingsley Amis

Everyday Drinking: The Distilled - Christopher Hitchens, Kingsley Amis A very nice birthday present from Jordan! The first half of the book is a hilarious manual on how to spend your life drunk. I couldn't wait to get started. Amis's technical knowledge, especially when it comes to spirits and mixed drinks, is impressive. Also his ability to avoid bullshit.


We got our courage together and tried making Ernest Hemingway's signature cocktail, the fabulous Death in the Afternoon. It's very simple: put one measure of absinthe in a champagne glass, and then top up with champagne. An interesting point, which Amis somehow fails to mention, is that the absinthe stops the champagne from foaming, so it's easy to fill the glass up to the top.

Hemingway recommended drinking three to five glasses to get the full effect. I had one, and although I thought it was delicious I decided to stop there - I wanted to be still in shape to appreciate the Sauterne we were going to have with dessert. Our neighbor Don amazed us all by having a second glass of Death, and then three glasses of Sauterne with the blue cheese and figs. But he's an aspiring novelist. Maybe it goes with the territory?