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Sunday, November 15, 2009

History of the World in 6 Glasses

When I wanted to start reading more I assumed I would be reading fiction.  When I was Jr. High and High School I read at a pace of about 2 novels a week, it was a good defense against boredom with school and a way to spend my time in isolation without feeling lonely.   When I moved to Las Vegas I resumed the 2 novels a week pace, it was a good defense against poverty and you can buy 2 books a week for the same price that cable TV would cost you, new books even!  All this and you didn't even have to front the price of a TV, a horribly large expense at the time and terrible impractical for someone who moved every 4 months or so and who didn't  have a car.

So now that I'm returning to my reading habit I'm surprised at how much great writing there is on the non-fiction side of the bookstore.  Or well since now I rely on online merchants to feed my habit the non fiction side of the best seller lists.

History of the world in 6 glasses is a review of how beverages have shaped human history.  The beverages are beer, wine, coffee, tea, coke, and distilled spirits.  Before going in I was familiar with what an empire the British forged with their lust for tea but the rest I was fairly unfamiliar with.

I especially loved the chapters on wine.  The book went into great detail as to the rituals surrounding wine drinking in Greek and Roman times, the places wine was grown and it's effect on trade.  Greek and Roman history is one of my favorite topics and this was a subject that was skipped over or lightly covered in history classes, but it was obviously a huge cultural influence, you can't tour any art museum without tripping over Renaissance paintings of a bacchanalia.

After reading the book I watched a documentary about the black sea, they were doing an underwater excavation of a boat and its cargo was a whole bunch of wine urns, just like the book described.  I also went back to the museum of art and in the Egyptian tomb exhibit I saw a display of hundreds of statues of men and women carrying beer and and the deceased even had a model brewery to help him through the afterlife.  I love when I learn new things that add context to future experiences.

So chalk another book up to the long list of valuable reading experiences.  Who needs fiction anyway?

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Hey I appreciate you leaving your thoughts behind! Be well my friend.