Sunday, April 26, 2009

Finally, a children's book about beer

Not enough books out there with beer as a subject.

But now there's "B is for Beer," subtitled "A Children's Book for Grown-ups" and "A Grown-up Book for Children."

Tom Robbins was one of my favorite writers back in the 1970s. "Another Roadside Attraction" (1971) featured a vagabond football player, mistaken identity, a Vatican hit squad, tourism and a possible Second Coming. The main character in "Even Cowgirls Get the Blues" is Sissy Hankshaw, born with a very large thumbs tailor-made for hitchhiking adventures. A movie was made by Gus Van Sant in 1993. I never saw it, but maybe I should put it on my list.

An adventurous English prof at World's Most Famous Beach Community College used "Another Roadside Attraction" in his class. I devoured the book. Kooky and well-written, it's hippie-era mysticism suited for the times. The only other English classes I'd taken to that point focused on the classics of American and Brit lit. This was a welcome change. However, I did go on as an English major to take many more lit classes, most featuring the classics, but made interesting by talented profs at Hogtown U in Florida and Aggieville in Colorado.

I read "Cowgirls" later on my own. I liked it less well that "Roadside," but it was fun and entertaining. I lost touch with Mr. Robbins after those first two books. He has others, I know, but methinks he was keeping to himself in the wilds of Washington state.

His new book demands attention. He'll be at the Tattered Cover in Denver's LoDo on Thursday, April 30, 7:30 p.m. This is one of those free ticketed events. The TC will give a ticket to the first 275 people who who buys a copy of "B is for Beer" ($17.95 Ecco Press). Since TC started giving out tickets last Tuesday, they probably are all gone. You can still hang out in the TC corridors and hear Mr. Robbins -- you just won't be able to hear him. To get a signed copy of the book, e-mail

Here's a description of the author and his new book from the TC web site:

Maverick bestselling novelist Tom Robbins will discuss and sign his new book B is for Beer, a children's book about beer, but also a book for adults, from the author known for his ability to both seriously illuminate and comically entertain. Once upon a time (right about now) there was a planet (how about this one?) whose inhabitants consumed thirty-six billion gallons of beer each year (it's a fact, you can Google it). Among those affected, each in his or her own way, by all the bubbles, burps, and foam, was a smart, wide-eyed, adventurous kindergartner named Gracie; her distracted mommy; her insensitive dad; her non-conformist uncle; and a magical, butt-kicking intruder from a world within our world. Populated by the afore-mentioned characters -- and as charming as it may be subversive -- B Is for Beer involves readers, young and old, in a surprising, far-reaching investigation into the limits of reality, the transformative powers of children, and, of course, the ultimate meaning of a tall, cold brewski.

Sounds like a Tom Robbins book.

I look forward to imbibing it.

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