READ IT (AGAIN) | Pair Vladimir Nabokov’s “Lolita” With A Spiced Margarita At Lolita’s

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by George Giannakos and Robyn Yager | Slowing down a little and breaking out a good book is never a bad idea. But what to read? You could walk into any bookstore and roll the dice on a recent release, but here’s another option: pick up a book that you last put down 5, 10, or 20 years ago. For the next book in Scout’s Read It (Again) series, we’ve picked Vladimir Nabokov’s scandalous 1955 novel, Lolita.

Why You Should Read It Again | Although widely considered to be an “erotic novel”, Lolita is just as widely celebrated as one of the best books of the 20th century. Despite its highly controversial theme (a middle-aged literature professor becomes obsessed and then sexually involved with 12-year-old Dolores, nicknamed “Lolita”), Nabokov’s writing has been compared to the prose of James Joyce. Read it again because its literary pastiche deserves as least two or three reads; you’re bound to find something new in every read.

Pair It With | Coincidentally, The Cinematheque and the Vancouver Art Gallery have collaborated on a collection of film screenings in honour of the gallery’s current exhibition, Grand Hotel. This week, the film centre is showing the 1962 Stanley Kubrick adaptation of the novel (featuring a brilliant performance by Peter Sellers), so why not brush up on the storyline prior to attending the film? Thumb its pages at the West End’s appropriately named Lolita’s for a spicy chilli margarita before catching before catching the show.

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READ IT (AGAIN): Pairing Steinbeck’s East Of Eden With A Stiff Sipper At “The Acorn”

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by George Giannakos and Robyn Yager | Slowing down a little and breaking out a good book is never a bad idea. But what to read? You could walk into any bookstore and roll the dice on a recent release, but here’s another option: pick up a book that you last put down 5, 10, or 20 years ago. For the next book in Scout’s Read It (Again) series, we’ve picked Pulitzer Prize-winning author John Steinbeck’s 1952 novel, East of Eden.

Why You Should Read It Again: It is Steinbeck’s ode to the Salinas Valley, also known as the “salad bowl of the world”. He wrote the book to describe the agriculturally rich region (think broccoli, celery, spinach, cauliflower, tomatoes, strawberries) to his two young sons while adding his own life experiences to the tale. Considered Steinbeck’s greatest work, East of Eden was inspired by the fourth chapter of Genesis; aka the story of Cain and Abel. In the thick of this sticky summer heat, I can’t think of a better time to read about lush California valleys and the complicated relationship between the Trask and Hamilton family.

Pair it With: Something fresh with a kick, like the Mirror Lake cocktail at The Acorn on Main. Made of ginger, bourbon, mint, lime, ginger beer and bitters, the drink is refreshing and satisfying, just like a Steinbeck story.

READ IT (AGAIN): Pair An “Alibi Room” Pint With The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy

by George Giannakos and Robyn Yager | Slowing down a little and breaking out a good book is never a bad idea. But what to read? You could walk into any bookstore and roll the dice on a recent release, but here’s another option: pick up a book that you last put down 5, 10, or 20 years ago. For the next book in Scout’s Read It (Again) series, we’ve picked Douglas Adams’ cult novel The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy. 

Why You Should Read It Again: Published in 1979 from a series of Radio Shows, The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy is the first novel in a 5 part saga. It’s about a huge number of things. Among these are space travel, the end of the world, the fabrication of planets, the quest for answers to the ultimate questions of life, the universe, and everything. It’s a very easy read.

Pair it With: A pint of bitter at the Alibi Room (157 Alexander in Gastown) whilst channelling the main character, a hapless Englishman named Arthur Dent (preferably in a dressing gown). But be quick about it. Because the world is about to end in order to make way for a hyperspace bypass.

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READ IT (AGAIN): Pair “A Farewell To Arms” With Some Quality Whisky At The Shebeen

by George Giannakos and Robyn Yager | Slowing down a little and breaking out a good book is never a bad idea. But what to read? You could walk into any bookstore and roll the dice on a recent release, but here’s another option: pick up a book that you last put down 5, 10, or 20 years ago. For the next book in Scout’s Read It (Again) series, we’ve picked Ernest Hemingway’s 1929 novel, A Farewell To Arms.

Why You Should Read It (Again) | Hemingway gives us everything he’s got in this bestseller. It’s a classic of love and war with just the right dose of both. The story follows Frederic “Tenente” Henry, an American serving in the Italian Red Cross in World War I, and his affections for a nurse named Catherine Barkley. Parts of it are obviously autobiographical, which makes it all the more enjoyable.

Pair It With | There were 40 occasions in which someone takes a drink in this book, of either grappa, brandy, whisky, Cognac, vermouth, gin or wine. While they’re all tempting choices, we’re thinking a quiet corner in The Shebeen would suit these pages perfectly. Choose a sipper from their ridiculously extensive whisky list and ease into it…

‘What are you thinking, darling?’
‘About whiskey.’
‘What about whiskey?’
‘About how nice it is.’
Catherine made a face. ‘All right,’ she said.

Go ahead and order two.

READ IT (AGAIN): Pair Some Traditional Egg Nog With Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol”

December 20, 2012 

by George Giannakos and Robyn Yager | Slowing down a little and breaking out a good book is never a bad idea. But what to read? You could walk into any bookstore and roll the dice on a recent release, but here’s another option: pick up a book that you last put down 5, 10, or 20 years ago. For the next book in Scout’s Read It (Again) series, we’ve picked Charles Dickens’ classic 1843 novella, A Christmas Carol.

Why You Should Read It (Again): Chances are high that you’ll see some form of Dicken’s classic novella, “A Christmas Carol” in the days leading up to the twenty-fifth. And with Christmas landing at the end of the calendar year, the books’ many Ghosts (of Christmas Past, Present, Future) help to facilitate the kind of personal reflection that gets muted by the seasons’ rampant consumerism. It’s also a quickie; short and sweet.

Pair It With: Keep it traditional with some a good old fashioned Egg Nog. It’s arguably one of the few things more evocatively “Christmasy” than Dickens’ Scrooge and Tiny Tim. There are several bars around town doing proper ones right now, but there’s no better place than home next to a decorated tree and a fire. To get you started, here’s an Egg Nog recipe from 1888.

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READ IT (AGAIN): Pair Wilde’s Dorian Gray With An Absinthe Cocktail At “Pourhouse”

December 4, 2012 

by George Giannakos and Robyn Yager | Slowing down a little and breaking out a good book is never a bad idea. But what to read? You could walk into any bookstore and roll the dice on a recent release, but here’s another option: pick up a book that you last put down 5, 10, or 20 years ago. For the next book in Scout’s Read It (Again) series, we’ve picked Oscar Wilde’s timeless 1890 novel, The Picture of Dorian Gray.

Why you should Read It (Again): The Picture of Dorian Gray was Wilde’s masterpiece and the only novel published by the Irish poet/playwright. It was widely considered an immoral work in its time, and as such it was subject to criticism, outrage and, ultimately, censorship. It’s simply a Faustian story about a young man whose notions of human nature, beauty, and youth are corrupted by opium hedonism a convincing mentor, with fatal consequences.

Pair it with: An absinthe cocktail at Pourhouse in Gastown, and do it all alone; consumed by a desire to stay young and beautiful. Oscar Wilde was particularly fond of this drink, and we think – after a glass or two – that it would help him feel even more at home in the bar’s Victorian embrace.

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READ IT (AGAIN): Pair An Old Pal Cocktail With John Steinbeck’s “Of Mice And Men”

by George Giannakos and Robyn Yager | Slowing down a little and breaking out a good book is never a bad idea. But what to read? You could walk into any bookstore and roll the dice on a recent release, but here’s another option: pick up a book that you last put down 5, 10, or 20 years ago. For the next book in Scout’s Read It (Again) series, we’ve picked John Steinbeck’s 1937 classic, Of Mice And Men.

Why You Should Read It Again: Though it’s heavy in content and theme, this 75 year old story is still only a novella no thicker than an iPhone 4S. It traces the fates of George Milton and Lennie Small, two opposites both physically and mentally, who are out looking for work in California during the Great Depression with the shared hope of having a place of their own someday. It’s still required reading for most English classes in North America (and for anyone wanting to understand American aspirationalism), and justly so.

Pair It With: A stiff, classic drink composed of Whiskey, Dry Vermouth and Campari called an Old Pal. It should provide a (false?) sense of security with which you can brace against Fall. The drink was invented in the ’20s and would have been well known during Steinbeck’s long reign of fiction, its popularity contemporary with the misadventures of “old pals” George and Lennie. Any of Vancouver’s better cocktail joints should be able to take care of you with one of these.

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READ IT (AGAIN): Pair “The Hobbit” With A Wee Hike & Swigs Of Fat Tug India Pale Ale

September 14, 2012 

by George Giannakos and Robyn Yager | Slowing down a little and breaking out a good book is never a bad idea. But what to read? You could walk into any bookstore and roll the dice on a recent release, but here’s another option: pick up a book that you last put down 5, 10, or 20 years ago. For the next book in Scout’s Read It (Again) series, we’ve picked J.R.R. Tolkien’s Jr.’s 1937 masterpiece, The Hobbit.

Why You Should Read It Again: Are you all grown up now and no longer enthralled by dragons, dwarves, elves, wizards and riddles? Perhaps, but you will still love a re-read of The Hobbit. With Fall fast approaching and everyone heading off on their September adventures, what better way to bring in the new season with one of the most epic tales of them all. This is the story of Bilbo Baggins, a homebody Hobbit who finds himself thrown (reluctantly) into the journey of a lifetime together with a benevolent weed-loving wizard and thirteen dwarves who underestimate his worth to their party. It’s the prequel to all things Lord of the Rings and an excellent way to get ready for the December release of Peter Jackson’s long-awaited 3D adaptation (trailer).

What you you should pair it with: A stroll over to the rolling hills of False Creek’s Ron Basford Park with a Fat Tug IPA by B.C.’s Driftwood Brewery in honour of a Hobbit’s love for good brews. Go barefoot with thirteen small children for the sake of authenticity.

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READ IT (AGAIN): Pair A Boozy Shake At Save On Meats With “Slaughterhouse Five”

by George Giannakos and Robyn Yager | Slowing down a little and breaking out a good book is never a bad idea. But what to read? You could walk into any bookstore and roll the dice on a recent release, but here’s another option: pick up a book that you last put down 5, 10, or 20 years ago. For the next book in Scout’s Read It (Again) series, we’ve picked Kurt Vonnegut Jr.’s 1969 anti-war satire, Slaughterhouse Five.

Why You Should Read It Again: “All this happened, more or less…” so Kurt Vonnegut Jr. opens his cult, World War 2 classic. After the famous line it’s just go go go with protagonist Billy Pilgrim. It’s a light read – both physically and mentally – and it’s pretty hilarious, albeit in a really dark, war-seriously-sucks kinda way. And if aliens (ahem, Tralfamadorians) and time travel (to both the past and the future) don’t make you want to pick up the book again – perhaps this link with multiple pages of the novel’s take away phrase “So it goes” tattooed on people will.

Pair It With: The book has no direct mention of any particular drink, so one must get a little more creative. Considering how it’s the end of summer and Slaughterhouse Five blends comedy and tragedy seamlessly, I think it’s only appropriate to take a stool at the long bar of Hasting’s Save-On-Meats and grab yourself a thick and boozy Bacon Bourbon Chocolate Milkshake. If that isn’t a blend of comedy and tragedy, then I really don’t want to know what is.

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READ IT (AGAIN): Pair Albert Camus’ “The Stranger” With A Glass Of Wine At A Beach

by George Giannakos and Robyn Yager | Slowing down a little and breaking out a good book is never a bad idea. But what to read? You could walk into any bookstore and roll the dice on a recent release, but here’s another option: pick up a book that you last put down 5, 10, or 20 years ago. For the next book in Scout’s Read It (Again) series, we’ve picked Albert Camus’ 1942 novel: The Stranger.

Why you should read it again: Take an apathetic anti-hero, throw him into a heat wave, and make him go through a bizarre sequence of ill-fated events. What do you have? Your life last week in Vancouver, you say? Perhaps, but I was thinking about Meursault in “The Stranger.” Written in short, sparse sentences and weighing in at just over one hundred pages, it’s a perfect candidate for a lazy August read. The book gets bonus points for inspiring The Cure’s first single “Killing An Arab” and for turning 70 years old this year. Give yourself bonus points if you can read it in the original French.

Pair with: wine seems to be the drink of choice for Meursault and his friends, and with the novel being set in French Algiers, French wine seems to be the obvious choice. The ladies from House Wine recently compiled a list of their favourite summer wines of 2012, and both French reds and whites are in attendance. As for where you should do the pairing, it’s good to remember that the book is seperated into 2 parts: the first near (or on) a beach (preferably white), and the second inside a small, dark room (ideally read). Vancouver has plenty of both, so take your pick and enjoy.

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READ IT (AGAIN): Pair “Madame Bovary” With New Shoes & A Sidecar At L’Abattoir

by George Giannakos and Robyn Yager | Slowing down a little and breaking out a good book is never a bad idea. But what to read? You could walk into any bookstore and roll the dice on a recent release, but here’s another option: pick up a book that you last put down 5, 10, or 20 years ago. For the next book in Scout’s Read It (Again) series, we’ve picked Gustave Flaubert’s 1856 masterpiece: Madame Bovary.

Why you should read it again: Emma Bovary isn’t a typical, provincial French woman from mid-19th century Normandy. She is one of the most twisted, selfish, weak and complex characters in the history of literature – and Flaubert writes her beautifully. The novel is filled with luxurious spending, affairs, lies, romance, passion, lust, debt, greed – all the necessary ingredients for a scandalously good summer read. Parisian public prosecutors tried to get Madame Bovary banned and actually went so far as putting its author on trial for obscenity in 1857 (he was acquitted). It has – unsurprisingly – never been out of print since (it has also been adapted for the screen many times).

Pair with: A fancy new pair of shoes from Rowan Sky and a solo date to L’Abbatoir sitting at the bar complete with a cocktail, preferably the Sidecar, made with brandy, curacao, and lemon juice (curacao is mentioned in the book during one of Mr. and Mrs. Bovary’s first encounters).

READ IT (AGAIN): Pair “The Sun Also Rises” With A Glass Of Red Wine Or A Papa Doble

by George Giannakos and Robyn Yager | Slowing down a little and breaking out a good book is never a bad idea. But what to read? You could walk into any bookstore and roll the dice on a recent release, but here’s another option: pick up a book that you last put down 5, 10, or 20 years ago. For the next book in Scout’s Read It (Again) series, I’ve picked an Ernest Hemingway gem: The Sun Also Rises. It details the halcyonic exploits of a lushy group of American and British expatriates who head from Paris to Pamplona to take in the Festival of San Fermín. Unsurprisingly, it has been continuously in print since it was first published in 1926.

Why You Should Read it Again: It’s never a waste of time to (re)read Hemingway, so why not read the book that started it all: The Sun Also Rises. Set in 1920′s Paris and Spain, Hemingway takes you through several country sides and towns alongside endless glasses of wine and heat that will set the mood perfectly for the summer we’ve all been waiting for. The opening line, “Robert Cohn was once middleweight boxing champion of Princeton”, is the perfect precursor to Vancouver’s upcoming Aprons for Gloves event.

Pair With: A bottle of red wine. Since so much of the story takes place under the influence of this beverage, it would be difficult not to grab one yourself. If wine isn’t your thing, or you’re looking for something cold and refreshing, why not try a drink named after the author? The “Hemingway Daiquiri” or “Papa Doble” (same drink, different name) is the quintessential summer consumable, containing white rum, lime, grapefruit juice, with a dash of maraschino. The Pourhouse in Gastown makes them perfectly and with the 20′s inspired atmosphere it might be as close as you’re going to get – locally – to the spirit of Papa himself.

SEEN IN VANCOUVER #368: Sons & Lovers Used Book Pop-Up Shop At Revolver Coffee

by Rommy Ghaly | This past Sunday, book lovers Robyn Yager and George Giannakos held their first Sons and Lovers pop-up at Gastown’s Revolver Coffee. Their goal was to make the books they loved, the ones “that had been read, thrown in backpacks, relocated, moved, and lasted through the ages,” available to everyone else who was looking for a good summer read. The event saw people stopping by, chatting over cookies and coffee, and perusing the outstanding selection of classics from Hemingway and Faulkner to Kafka and Verne. They had hoped to sell as many as 50 books in the three hour pop-up, but they sold over 125. The next Sons and Lovers pop-up is TBD, so stay tuned to their Twitter or head over to their website for more details.

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EVERYTHING SEEN IN VANCOUVER

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Rommy Ghaly was born and raised in New York. He’s spent the past sixteen years moving around from city to city and country to country, trying (and failing miserably) to find himself. You may see him out in the streets with his cameras taking photos of people he doesn’t know. The results of those adventures can be found at vancouverish.com.

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