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Thursday, July 6th, 2017
Book Reviews

Recommended Reading - New York Bars and Peculiars


Delia Cabe

Storied Bars of New York: Where Literary Luminaries Go to Drink 

The Countryman Press 

Storied Bars of New York is a breezily written, handsomely illustrated history and guidebook to 34 New York saloons, extant and extinct, frequented by America’s major league writer/boozers. Cabe is enamored of the Golden Age 20th century writers. You’ll find anecdotes about Scott and Zelda, Hemingway, Dylan Thomas and Dorothy Parker. She delves back earlier than Prohibition, including Civil War-era haunts of writers like Walt Whitman—a modest drinker who preferred people-watching. In addition to histories of the bars, she includes cocktail recipes. I was proud to learn that I had refreshed myself at six of the places listed.

- Bruce Collier


Ransom Riggs

Tales of the Peculiar

Illustrations by Andrew Davidson 

Dutton  


Tales of the Peculiar is a spinoff from the Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children series. But don’t dismiss it for child’s fare alone, any more than you would the Grimms’ marchen. Tales doesn’t feature the cast of peculiar (read: “paranormally gifted”) children of Miss Peregrine’s place, but it does have the same gritty, delicious creepiness.

These 10 pseudo-folk tales start with “The Splendid Cannibals,” the theme of which is “transactional cannibalism.” To wit, three travelers ride into Swampmuck, a simple village of Peculiars. The travelers are sumptuously attired but starving. The village folks offer food, but the travelers, by nature, can only subsist on human flesh. Finally, because of a recent accident, farmer Hayworth exchanges a recently lost leg for gold. As it turns out, Peculiars’ can regenerate lost appendages, and soon more hungry anthropophagous travelers come. Before long, they and the Peculiars are doing a brisk trade in Peculiar flesh, and it all works out quite oddly.

There are nine more—some curiously heart-warming, some bizarrely enlightening, all too peculiar to tweet about.

- Wynn Parks