January 20, 2013 · 10:41 am
Summer days and the summer nights are gone/ I know a place where there’s still somethin’ going on…” Bob Dylan, “Summer Days” from Love and Theft (2001)
Bottoms Up: A Toast to Wisconsin’s Historic Bars & Breweries by Jim Draeger, Mark Speltz, and Mark Fay (Wisconsin Historical Society Press, $29.95, 272 pages)
Bottoms Up: A Toast to Wisconsin’s Historic Bars & Breweries has the potential to appeal to a variety of readers. Weekend travelers and curiousity seekers will find ideas for a mini-excursion in the coffee table-style book. History buffs should be drawn to various aspects of the account: prohibition, supper clubs, old-fashioned breweries, local culture, hops, architecture – a little something for everybody. But, most of all, beer lovers from anywhere should be attracted to tales of secret entrances for women; classic bartenders; dice games; microbrews; corner taverns; tourist traps; highway stopping off places; and memories of 10-ounce drafts, fish frys, crazy uncles, dart boards, and, for the true Wisconsinite, the magic potion known as an Old Fashioned.
The first 74 pages are an historical account of immigration, breweries, prohibition, and various other stories detailing Wisconsin traditions and the evolution of the brewing industry. There are times when the Germans and the Irish play nice, and times when they don’t. The rest of the book divides the state into regions and lists 70 must visit places throughout the state.
The writing is mostly straightforward. There is a hint of cleverness to some passages, but the book avoids being schmaltzy – even if it sometimes touches on malt – and can be appreciated for possessing characters, humor and insight without being contrived, forced, or displaying any hint of condescension. Having been in many of these places myself, I can personally vouch for the fact that these authors know what they’re talking about.
To memories and old friends. Cheers!
This book is also available as a Kindle Edition and Nook Book download. Dave Moyer is a public education administrator and the author of Life and Life Only: A Novel.
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April 4, 2012 · 9:43 am
The hardbound version of El Gavilan: A Novel by Craig McDonald will cost you $24.95. But you can read this new Tyrus Books release for free if you have an e-reader device, such as a Nook or Kindle. That’s right, until the end of the day on Saturday, April 7, 2012 you can download El Gavilan (The Hawk, in Spanish) as a Nook Book or Kindle Edition release and be billed the special price of -$0-. And if you’re busy, you can download it now and read it at your leisure at some point in the future.
This “ripped from the headlines” story is about a community in Ohio where tensions have been building and escalating between the long-time residents and newly-arrived immigrants. Once one of the immigrants becomes the victim of a brutal crime, “a war of all against all” may have been unleashed. As stated in the synopsis, “El Gavilan is a novel of shifting alliances… Families are divided and careers and lives threatened.”
David M. Kinchen wrote in the Huntington News (West Virginia): “It is difficult to find a good book that explores the tensions in the nation’s heartland fueled by both legal and illegal immigration, but I think Craig McDonald has acted it in El Gavilan, a novel that the author has said was inspired by true events.”
The novel is a 4.5 star-rated book at Amazon, and the starred review by Publishers Weekly noted that, “McDonald deftly… dissects one of America’s most tormenting social problems.” The author lives in Ohio with his wife, two daughters and a dog named Duff.
Tyrus Books is a division of F+W Crime. Reviewer David Kinchen, while noting that El Gavilan is “a nuanced thriller,” did issue a caution that the novel has “very graphic sex scenes and equally graphic violence.”
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