KingMidget's Ramblings

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On Books and Beer


I was sitting there having a beer, doing what I do. I had a book. Actually, I had three books. The only problem is that none of them were the book I was actually supposed to be reading.

Weeks earlier, I had bought six books in preparation for a trip to Arizona for Spring Training. Since then I worked my way through five books — all of which were interesting, compelling, and worth the read. Then I got to the sixth book.

We were in Santa Cruz for a few days of ocean, sunsets, and relaxation. The Queen Midget and I. I had that sixth book and I was gonna get it done.  Imagine Me Gone.  I was trying, but I was struggling. Then on Friday, we did the thing. The one she likes to do. We walked through downtown Santa Cruz, where there are lots of shops. Antiques and clothing stores.  And shoe stores.  Oh my!

We walked through one and afterwards my wife asked me about something she saw in the store. I mentioned that it may look like I’m looking at things in those stores, but, no, I’m actually not. It’s pretty much close to torture for me, this thing.

But at one point we walked by a book store. “You wanna go in?” she asked.  “Sure,” I replied. I knew what would happen. 20 minutes later, I walked out with three books, after finding about 8,763 books I would have liked to buy. When I was ready to check out and found my wife, I showed her books.  “I see,” she said.  “What? You know what happens if I’m gonna go in a book store,” I replied.

Even though I had bought Imagine Me Gone with us on this little side trip to downtown Santa Cruz, I left it in the car because I decided to try to do the walking/shopping thing with her instead of what I normally do. Which is this. “Oh look, a bar. I’ll go have a beer while you walk around.” She’s patient with me and says “okay.”

I had my three books, but we had plenty more walking to do. I went with her. I avoided the bars and restaurants and walked the streets and went into the stores. Until I could no more.

“I’m gonna go over to 99 Bottles now and have a beer.” We were going to meet my nephew there for dinner in a little bit. I thought I could have a beer and then hold a table in case the place got crowded. “Okay,” she replied.

I settled in at the bar. 99 Bottles pretty much describes the place’s approach to beer. It has at least 99 different options in the carbonated alcoholic beverage category.  Probably about 20-30 on tap and the rest in bottles. I ordered something and looked at my bag of three books. I pulled one out and started reading. The Revenant, which Leonardo DiCaprio recently starred in a movie adaptation of.

I read the first chapter. It’s short. And then set the book to the side. I talked a little bit with a guy sitting to my left. And then another guy pulled out the stool to my right. He pulled out a tattered piece of paper with all sorts of numbers and many of them checked off. “Let’s see,” he said to the bartender, “I think I’ll start with 47.”

The paper represented 99 Bottles ultimate challenge — to drink every one of the beers they have to offer. Check the number off each time and achieve fame on the walls of the bar. There are some people who have completed that little challenge more than 50 times. One or two have done it 70 or 80 times. Think about that. Do the math.

Judging from his paper, the guy to my right was about two thirds of the way through it.

We’re sitting there. Me, with The Revenant in front of me. Guy to my left who talked about history and how much he loved it and said something I thought meant he was a history teacher, prompting me to think that I should talk to my un-motivated older son who likes history to see if maybe he had thought about being a history teacher.  But later guy on the left revealed that it was his dad who was a history teacher. Guy on the left was, in fact, a long distance truck driver.

And guy to my right, with his beer-drinking challenge, who suddenly asked me, “How’s the book?”

To which I replied with a chuckle, “I don’t know yet, I just started it. Only finished the first chapter, but I’ll let you know once I read more.” Wink, wink. I then told him what the book was about — a true story about a man in the early 1800s who was attacked by a bear and left for dead by the trappers he had been with and who then crawled out of the wilderness to revenge their treachery. And as I finished this summary, I said, “And the first chapter ends with him beginning to crawl.”

I knew what I had to do when we got back to our room after dinner with the nephew. Go back to Imagine Me Gone. I was committed to the book, having got about halfway through. I read a bit more that night, but it was hopeless.

This is all a long way to explain why I never got to the 6th book in my Spring Training series. The next day, I moved on to The Revenant, because it seemed to promise something far more interesting and compelling. That promise was fulfilled. It’s a stunning story of survival and revenge. I highly recommend it. I won’t say more about it. Just go read the book.

Now, I have to decide whether to go back to Imagine Me Gone.

Truth is, I read another book in the in between. Differently Normal by Tammy Robinson. It’s a short, quick, easy read. She’s a self-published author I discovered through the WordPress blogosphere and my own self-publishing efforts. I love her stories and Differently Normal is no exception. She writes modern day fairy tales of two people finding companionship and love when they weren’t looking for it and weren’t expecting it. And frequently, rather than living happily ever after, Tammy is willing to give the reader an unhappy, bitterly sad ending and I give her great credit for that.

But now … it’s time to decide whether to go back to that other book. Or give up.

I’ll let you know what I decide.

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12 responses to “On Books and Beer

  1. TamrahJo April 26, 2017 at 10:13 pm

    As a female, who shares your love of books store, but understands the Queen Midgets desire to antique, even if I don’t understand the shoe stores – as the waitress daughter of blue-collar dad, who sees exactly, perfectly, why the long-haul trucker sounds more like the historian, than the other fella – well – (and I may have read to fast and only once, but, ya should have kept me in the loop – ya know, the whole Have It your Way and all, of modern society – sheesh!) – In the end – hope you and Queen Midget had a fantabulous holiday – in her and her offsprings defense, I hope you don’t take out your angst over human nature out on the offspring or shoes – – LOL – – cuz, ain’t their fault you can’t read the sixth book – – LOL

  2. pinklightsabre April 27, 2017 at 6:00 am

    Love how much you read, that’s super. The beer and the reading kind of doesn’t work for me, I’m inclined to nap. Love the idea of that book The Revenant, was sorry I didn’t see the film…but now even better I guess, read the book!

    • kingmidget April 27, 2017 at 6:41 am

      Reading is what I do. Been doing it my whole life. Particularly these days since I’m not writing much. I read.

      After reading the book, I want to see the movie just to see how well (or not) it is done.

  3. Carrie Rubin April 27, 2017 at 7:18 am

    Beer and books? Did someone say beer and books?

    The only time we do the shop-to-shop thing is when we’re on vacation as well, but about five or six stores is our limit. Like you, we’re not much for shopping. We’ll always end up back with the beer and books too. Cheers!

  4. Kevin Brennan April 27, 2017 at 7:57 am

    I’m more and more inclined to bail out of books that aren’t floating my boat. It feels like there’s just not enough time to fart around! Meanwhile, I have Imagine Me Gone on my library hold list. You’ve convinced me not to buy it … 😉

  5. S.K. Nicholls April 27, 2017 at 8:25 am

    I’ve been a slacker in reading and writing. I was hoping the trip to Vegas would inspire me and give me a kick in the seat of my pants. I’m just so very frustrated with Naked Alliances and marketing efforts. I give away books to people who promise reviews…maybe fifty so far…and I’ve only received a couple of reviews. I sell books almost every day to people I meet locally…and get a few reviews here and there. Paid promos sell books at 99 cents…and no reviews. I’ve had a couple of blog tour and about twenty online interviews. Two radio interviews. It’s just so hard for me to focus on what’s next when I don’t feel what’s now is really rolling along well. I’m into the Cabernet now and have found a couple I really enjoy. No beer for me.

  6. cinthiaritchie April 27, 2017 at 9:48 am

    If it were me, I’d bail on “Imagine me Gone.” Books are kind of like relationships, you know? You have to make sure you’re getting an adequate return on your investment. P.S. I hate to shop, except for running shoes, books or food. Food shopping is fun. Clothes shopping? Ugh, ugh and ugh. Anyway, hope you both had a lovely vacation.
    P.S. Have you read “We’re all Damaged” by Matthew Norman? It’s a quick read, very funny. Okay, it’s a bit unrealistic at times but a nice romp through a world of odd characters. I laughed out loud too many times to count but there were also bittersweet moments too. And it didn’t have the typical Hollywood ending though the ending did feel a bit forced. Still, think you might like.

    • kingmidget April 27, 2017 at 10:33 am

      I cracked open Imagine Me Gone last night. Found the spot where I had left off. Scanned the page. Nope. I moved on to my next book.

      I will definitely take a look at We’re All Damaged.

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