And the cocktails to pair them with
There’s power in rereading books. You pick up on things you missed the first time around, your opinions change, and more often than not you’ll learn something new. Here, we’ve rounded up five of our favorite classic books that taught us a thing or two about life. We feel they might do the same for you. Download them, order them, or pick up a few used and whip up a cocktail to sip as you turn the page.
The Book: All the King’s Men
The Cocktail: Keep it real with 1792 Full Proof on the rocks.
“[A]nd soon now we shall go out of the house and go into the convulsion of the world, out of history into history and the awful responsibility of Time.”
Published in 1946, Robert Penn Warren’s Pulitzer Prize winning novel All the King’s Men illustrates the fact that actions have consequences. Set in the American South during the 1930s, the story centers around the political rise of Willie Stark and reporter turned right-hand man Jack Burden. A tale of politics in every sense of the word, it’s a piece of cautionary literature that will have you reexamining who (and what) you’ve decided to place your faith in.
The Book: The Big Sea
The Cocktail: Reflect with an Old Fashioned.
“… the only way to get a thing done is to start to do it, then keep on doing it, and finally you’ll finish it …”
In his autobiography, Langston Hughes pens a journey of struggle, hard work, and self-actualization. As relevant today as when it was first published in 1940, it’s a personal story that operates as a mirror to the good, the bad, and the ugly inherent to society as a whole. Revisiting this documentation of a creative life well-lived makes us want to define and rise to our better selves.
The Book: The Great Gatsby
The Cocktail: The Pocket Square … a stylish cocktail for a stylish tale.
“High over the city our line of yellow windows must have contributed their share of human secrecy to the casual watcher in the darkening streets, and I was him too, looking up and wondering. I was within and without, simultaneously enchanted and repelled by the inexhaustible variety of life.”
F. Scott Fitzgerald’s most famous work shatters the gilded facade of the American dream. An entertaining examination of decadence and excess, Fitzgerald observes and questions the social and moral decay of his era, making it clear that not all that glitters is gold. Even pleasure, it appears, should have its limits.
The Book: The Bonfire of the Vanities
The Cocktail: An extra sour Whiskey Sour.
“By the time he reached the front door, the truth had hit him. Through stupidity, incompetence, and funk he had now managed to lose his one last hope. Oh, Master of the Universe.”
Though not exactly a “classic,” Tom Wolfe’s 1987 satirical novel does for the 80s what The Great Gatsby did for the 20s, making it a worthwhile reread. Serving as a kind of fictional compendium of Wolfe’s own cultural observations, it’s a tale of greed among a bygone breed of the New York power set. The story shines a light on the seedy underbelly of ambition, yes, but it will also make you laugh.
The Book: The Odyssey
The Cocktail: Heavy reading calls for a lighter drink. We suggest a Georgia Smash.
“A man who has been through bitter experiences and travelled far enjoys even his sufferings after a time.”
It’s time to revisit Homer’s epic that you leafed through in high school and actually read it. Odysseus and his ten years of struggle against the wrath of the gods, the Cyclops, and the Sirens is the OG of the “pull yourself up by your bootstraps” story. Try, fail, try again.
What Books Do You Recommend?
Our list is but one perspective. What classics have you pulled off the shelves of late only to discover something again, for the first time? Tell us about it on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram and tag us (@1792bourbon).