Legend has it
that the inspiration for great art is substance abuse and "Hemingway
& Bailey’s Bartending Guide to Great American Writers"
is a new book that delights in recognizing our country’s poets,
screenwriters, playwrights and novelists while lionizing their
concurrent abilities to put it away.

Park Slope author Mark Bailey teamed up with Gowanus illustrator
Edward Hemingway (who claims to be the grandson of Earnest) to
create this book which mixes tidy bios of the greats with reports
of their bad behavior under the influence as well as recipes
for each scribe’s favorite cocktail – or what Bailey imagines
would be a suitable choice.

For instance, Sherwood Anderson’s tribute is a cautionary tale.
The author of "Winesburg, Ohio" swallowed a toothpick
at a party and died soon after from an infection of the stomach,
writes Bailey. Rather than mourn the scribe, the reader can toast
Anderson with the "Old-Fashioned" recipe that’s supplied.
But Bailey requests that out of respect for Anderson – when garnishing
the libation with a lemon twist, orange slice and cherry – that
you leave off the toothpick.

While it’s puzzling that the authors left out Brooklyn native
Pete Hamill, who penned the memoir "A Drinking Life,"
there are stories about a diverse group of 43 men and women which
will inspire you to go to the library and catch up on the classics
– or send out invitations to your own holiday cocktail party.

Edward Hemingway and Mark Bailey will read from "Hemingway
& Bailey’s Bartending Guide to Great American Writers"
(Algonquin Books, $15.95) at BookCourt [163 Court St. at Dean
Street in Cobble Hill, (718) 875-3677] on Nov. 14 at 8 pm. For
more information, visit www.edwardhemingway.com.

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