howmanybeards

Category: Books

080: A Change In Focus

So, I know you have all really come to love and adore the content I post here on How Many Beards. But this post is to serve as a bit of a forewarning that you may notice a slight shift in focus coming soon.

complete beer course

In TOTALLY unrelated news, I am finding myself getting back into brewing and as part of that I am diving into beer styles. The internet has almost unanimously pointed me towards The Complete Beer Course by Joshua M. Bernstein. It’s a hefty tome that is equal parts coffee table book and actual fountain of knowledge. The book is truly designed to walk you through learning the different beer styles, and it’s something I am fully committing to. As a result of all this you should start to see more regular posting here. The downside is you probably won’t really care about most of it, and some of it may be unintelligible if I forget about the second half of Hemingway’s maxim: Write Drunk, Edit Sober.

What I am really here to ask is if anyone is interested in joining me on this voyage. It won’t be a short one. There are 10 Classes, and the first class has 34 beers (2 from each style) to try. So let me know! Don’t make me be the guy drinking all these beers alone! I’ll do it though. I’ll drink them alone. At night. In the dark. While everyone is sleeping.

 

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070:ECHOES 092313

 

If you’re anything like me, you hate how much time sleeping takes up. Think of all that other stuff we could get done! I mean, think of all the extra reading and writing I could finally accomplish. Heck, I might even start updating this blog more regularly.

  • To start off here’s an interesting look at the preferred writing tools of 20 famous authors. Call me predictable, but I liked Hemingway’s the best.
  • Another great author sadly omitted from that last is Salinger. In this piece from the fine folks at WELL SPENT they look not only at the author but his rather impeccable style as well.
  • And what is a great author without books? Every man should have a library whether it’s a mindless spiral of odds and ends collected over time and spilling off bookshelves into piles along the molding or a carefully curated collection of only your favorites, here a few good lists to help you get started.
  • Last but not least, there are many words that simply have no English equivalent. Here is a fun look 10 of those words coupled with a nice little illustration to go with them. Komorebi is definitely my favorite. Feel free to leave a comment and share which is your favorite.

060: ‘Salem’s Lot

There are a lot of different ways to describe different types or genres of literature. So many that I never really bothered to pay attention to them. Simply one more way for people to classify, pigeonhole, and thereby engender a license to be an elitist prick about something. I can only imagine that most people don’t have very kind descriptors for the kind of work that Stephen King writes, but regardless of his literary merits there is one undeniable tenant to his work: it’s fun to read. I’ve read a few other books by King over the last few years and have always found them entertaining. I even read his half advice/half memoir On Writing and found it uniquely interesting (but that’s a conversation for another post). Most recently I was in the midst of prepping for a trip to Boston, MA and Portsmouth, NH so I swung by the library and picked up a copy of a distinctly New Englandish book, ‘Salem’s Lot

salems lot cover

Now for all you font/grammar weirdos out there, let me clarify right off the bat that the apostrophe at the front of ‘Salem’s Lot is not a typo. Right away in the book they identify that the setting is a town called Jerusalem’s Lot, conveniently shortened to ‘Salem’s Lot. King even provides a back story. To me the most interesting part was the brief insight that Jerusalem contains the word Salem. But whatever.

The main reason I’m convening a post on this book though is its subject matter.  This is a story about vampires. Now you might already be clicking for the close window button but hear me out for just a second. Yes, vampires are played out, over saturated, or whatever you want to call it, but that’s exactly what makes ‘Salem’s Lot so satisfying. It was King’s 2nd novel and it was published in 1975. What this creates is a charming and refreshing take on the vampire menace. There’s nothing sexy going on here, just old school unspeakable horror in the night style vampires who want nothing more to consume. As an added bonus the setting naturally precludes all modern amenities (cell phones, internet research, etc,). And lastly, this is from when King was still fresh to writing, when he was writing more for himself than for any audience.

I am recommending ‘Salem’s Lot as fodder for your next thesis paper? No. But am I recommending it as a incredibly fun and compelling read? Absolutely. So get to it. 

Have you read ‘Salem’s Lot? Any thoughts or concerns? Leave’em in the comments.

041: This Is How You Lose Her

This Is How You Lose Her 4/5

It seems that in the modern world successful storytelling has to come as part of a planned, or at least the intention, or a three or more part series. While this may not be true of quote unquote literature, it has become relatively standard fare for sci-fi, fantasy, romance, and of course the ubiquitous teen fiction. All of this seems to be slowly eradicating the world of stories that simply happen to fall into the same universe a la Tom Clancy’s novels or Terry Pratchet’s Discworld series. Now it seems everything has to be Part One, Part Two, Part Three etc, demanding dogmatic adherence to progressing a singular story line with a static main character and a relatively constant supporting cast. Don’t take this to mean that all serialized fiction is terrible (it’s not), and it has done great things especially in the realm of increasing readership amongst young people. So maybe all of this is why I liked Junot Diaz’s newest book so much.

this is how you lose her

 

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