What was the girl’s main complaint when she read Pride and Prejudice?
While you dwell on that question (the answer’s at the end), it’s time for another Found Balloons newsletter. It’s our second one! Made it an entire month and we’re still here!
Found a few more great books this past month that you guys will love, made some fresh cocktails to close out the summer (I’m ready for some hot buttered rum by the Fall campfire) and have an update on the much awaited for next installment of Maybe True, Mostly Metaphor (you guys have been so patient…).
New Bookstore Adds
Fiction: The Ascent of Rum Doodle
A few months ago, my wife and I were wandering a bookshop in Portugal famous for being the oldest in the world. It was such a cool historical experience…and left me with a big stack of books and an empty wallet as souvenirs. Fitting all those books into my carry-on later was another interesting experience…but I digress.
At that bookstore, my wife found a book called The Ascent of Rum Doodle. She wasn’t sure what to expect. She thought it was a true adventure story, like Jon Krakauer’s Into Thin AIr, and only bought it because she wanted to read “my kind” of book for a change (ain’t she sweet?).
So, The Ascent of Rum Doodle isn’t exactly like Into Thin Air. It’s so much better. And that’s coming from someone who enjoys reading about disastrous mountain adventures.
This book, written by a little known author named W.E. Bowman, is true adventure meets good old British satire. A fictional story, it’s what the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy would be if Ford Prefect dragged Arthur Dent up the tallest and most treacherous mountain in the world. In short, it’s fantastic.
Famous travel writing funny man Bill Bryson wrote an introduction for the Vintage Voyages edition and he sets it up perfectly. It’s a shame Bowman didn’t find more fame from this short read, but it’s found it’s niche of readers among mountaineers and rock climbers who have named official landmarks after inside jokes and references from the book (there’s a mountain in Antarctica that explorers named “Rumdoodle Peak” out of fondness for Bowman’s story).
So, if you like British comedy (and who doesn’t?), travel, adventure and just a feel good read about the hubris of man, check this book out. You’ll love it.
Nonfiction: The Soul of an Octopus
I haven’t quite finished this book yet, but octopuses (not, octopi, apparently) have always fascinated me. I won’t spoil too much, but it turns out they’re unbelievably smart and clever animals. This book follows naturalist Sy Montgomery as she studies the octopuses at the Boston aquarium, befriending the cute little beasts of the deep that served as nightmare fuel for ancient sailors. It’s not my normal read, but I’ve been thoroughly enjoying it so far and Sy does a wonderful job bringing you right up close—face to tentacle—with the octopus, close enough for them to steal your heart with their little suckers.
As Summer dies down, I’ve been turning to more folk and indie music to relax and write to. The weather has still been pretty warm, though, so the Fall music doesn’t quite feel right. Enter Blind Pilot, the perfect mix of classy summertime jazz and folk indie music. These guys easily rank among my top five bands of all time, from their poetic lyrics to the chill-yet-head-bopping-worthy style. Start out with their song Oviedo to hear their purest style or, if you want something with a little more rock, try Packed Powder, which has electric guitar undertones in key parts if you listen hard enough.
October Drink Menu
As much as I want to break out the cold weather cocktails like hot buttered rum and mulled wine, the weather’s still warm enough for rum punches and chilled drinks. I’ve been enjoying a new drink called the English Blackthorn lately. It’s sort of like a martini mixed with a Negroni—maybe more towards the latter. What makes it unique is that it uses “Sloe gin” a fruity variant of the normal gin that my wife says “tastes like making out with a Pine tree.”
To make an English Blackthorn it’s:
1 oz gin
1.5 oz sloe gin
.75 oz red vermouth
3 dashes of orange bitters
Shake with ice then strain into a martini glass (or a coffeemuig because I don’t have any martini glasses).
Garnish with an orange zest twist
The color of the drink is a beautiful burnt orange sunset and it tastes like a boozy hot summer night. I’ve tried a few variations on it myself like adding maraschino liquor and Cointreau to make the flavor a little more diverse.
Maybe True, Mostly Metaphor Update:
For those of you who have read and enjoyed my first two installments, thank you so much. If even one person reads a story of mine and walks away with a smile and even the smallest change of perception about the world, then I consider it a success.
It took me the better part of a year to get part one exactly how I wanted it. Mainly because it was the first piece of fiction I’ve ever written and I had no idea how difficult it was to write in the second person. Part two was much quicker to write—just a few weeks—and now I’m just about done with the next section for you all. My plan is to have part three out before the end of the month. My routine of late has been to work on it for an hour every morning from 5-6 before I head off to go about my day. My weeknights are spent either reading or working on research writing for my clients and my weekends are usually spent writing other short stories (of which I’ll be posting one on here next week…) That’s the schedule when I’m not on a plane or road tripping to explore new towns and restaurants and bars and clu—ahem, let’s call it “researching”.
So, bottom line, part three by the end of October. It’s currently running about 4,000 words. If it gets too long I may break it up into two parts for you, posted near in time to each other.
Oh, right, before I go, What was the girl’s main complaint when she read Pride and Prejudice?
She thought the characters were too austentacious.
(Featured photo this month: One of my favorite parts of Fall: driving out to the middle of nowhere with some warm drinks and sitting on top of the car stargazing.)
Go and learn.