Skip to main content

Thoughts About Tom Standage's History of the World in 6 Glasses.

I first heard about Tom Standage's book A History of the World in 6 Glasses back in 2005 and I think it was on Boing Boing. I only managed to buy it from Kinokuniya almost a year later, and only managed to read it this year. I regret not reading it earlier.

Its conceit is simple: tell history from the perspective of six different drinks, Beer, Wine, Spirits, Coffee, Tea and Coca-Cola, and how they shaped certain civilisations in each of their dominant eras.

We all know history can be very dry, but in the hands of capable writers, even the driest parts of history can be saved from being a total wash out. (Sorry.) I am glad to report that Tom Standage makes reading about history fun and interesting and occasionally even thirsty.

It was enlightening to read, for example, about how coffee helped kickstart the age of reason due to its so-called "mind-sharpening" qualities and how it was as controversial as alcohol in the early days of Islam.

I found every chapter (each dedicated to a drink) a pageturner, but only the last, the chapter about Coca-Cola left me with a bad aftertaste. (Sorry again.) It was the shortest chapter and wasn't as fleshed out or as filled with neat trivia as the rest of the chapters.

But that small nitpick aside, the book's a definite must read, especially for fans of any of the drink mentioned. I am now keen on checking Mr. Standage's other books, The Victorian Internet, and The Turk.


Popular posts from this blog

HOWTO: Get Rid of Silverfish

The bane of every book collecting person: the Silverfish. DUN DUN DUNNNNN!!! How to get rid of them? If one book has been infected, place it inside an air-tight plastic bag along with some silica gel desiccant. The silica gel is important to get rid of moisture, because you will now place the sealed plastic bag with the book in it inside the freezer. Leave it in there for a couple of days so that those bugs catch their death of cold. If you're feeling particularly paranoid, (like I usually am) feel free to leave the plastic bag in there for a week. If they're not dead, then you might likely have an infestation of zombie silverfish , which is out of the scope of this blogpost. But what if a whole colony of silverfish decided to invade your whole bookcase? Then you have to make sure you're ready for war. Place a generous amount of silica gel (or if you can find it, diatomaceous earth) behind your books at the back of the shelves so that moisture levels remain low.

Hitting 1000.

Last night Sharon quoted Raman of having said to writers when they bring him their manuscripts for publishing, "How many books have you read? Have you read a thousand books? If not, get out and go read a thousand books, then come back with your manuscript." His point being, you've got to have read a lot if you want to be a writer. And I thought to myself, a thousand books isn't so bad. I've probably read more. Er...Wrong. After some quick calculations, we determined that if a person read a book per week, it would take around 20 years to reach a thousand. I'm a slow reader. I'm only 25. There's no way I've read 1000 books my whole life! When I got home I counted the books in my house. I estimate I own around 300 books, probably another 300 left at my parents's house. That's only around 600 books that I own... and a lot less that I've read! So with that number in mind, I have resolved to start keeping track of my book reading. I ne

Send me to Clarion West! - My crowdfunding effort.

I just launched my crowdfunding page to help fund my Clarion West trip on GoGetFunding and I am nervous as heck. Anyway here's a link . Any help or support much appreciated even if it's just to share the link around. Thank you so much!