In a recent column for the Globe & Mail, I paired some of my favourite books with wine …
I can’t think of a better book to read on January 1 than Lucky Jim by Kingsley Amis. It has one of literature’s finest descriptions of a hangover: "Consciousness was upon him before he could get out of the way; not for him the slow, gracious wandering from the halls of sleep, but a summary, forcible ejection … His mouth had been used as a latrine by some small creature of the night, and then as its mausoleum."
On the other 364 days, I actually enjoy pairing books with wine. Wuthering Heights is stormier with a glass of brooding shiraz. Pinot noir, otherwise known as the heartbreak grape because it’s so difficult to grow, pairs well with The Scarlet Letter. I can’t pick up A Tale of Two Cities without drinking a blend of cabernet sauvignon and merlot. And everyone should try rosé with Pride and Prejudice to get over any hang-ups about this delightful pink wine.
What about the books you got for Christmas? Try a full-bodied Argentine malbec with the Fall of Giants or a strong, but svelte French syrah with The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest. For the Giller Prize winner The Sentimentalists, try some undiscovered gems from Niagara, especially riesling—it’ll surprise you with its light, deft touch.
Where to read? The cellar can be a little dark. Best to bring your bottle(s) upstairs and find a comfy chair. My favourite place is in the kitchen, close to the corkscrew, glasses and decanter. Right now, most of my reading is research for my second book to be published this fall. Fortunately, in my field, research is also of the liquid kind. As the Irish poet and playright Brendan Behan observed, I’m a drinker with a writing problem.
You’ll find brand names of the wines mentioned above that are in stores now here. You’ll also find more wine and book pairings, and tips on organizing an informal wine tasting for your book club here half way down the page.
Photo credit: Dave Chan