Saturday, January 15, 2011
JIM HARRISON, THE ENGLISH MAJOR, STEVE WAGNER, AND ARROGANT BASTARD ALE
Michigan born writer, Jim Harrison’s The English Major is a pretty good book. After losing a bad wife and a good dog, an old codger by the name of Cliff sets on a road trip/quest to rename all fifty states. Cliff is a high school teacher turned farmer.
Harrison is an outstanding writer. While he’s won all kinds of writing awards, his most famous story is probably Legends of the Fall. Harrison’s succinct and poignant style is reminiscent of Hemingway. It’s funny too. There seem to be a bucket load of allusions to Thoreau and Prairie Home Companion. Works for me. I happen to like Thoreau and Prairie Home Companion – and Hemmingway.
Although I was not English major, I was turned on to the book by an English major, an old pal by the name of Steve Wagner. Steve’s a cool cat, one of those guys who learned early in life to follow his bliss. After spending a few years playing guitar with a semi-successful rock and roll band, he picked up a job in a Portland brewery. A few years later, he and a partner founded the wildly successful Stone Brewing Company, most famous for Arrogant Bastard Ale. I’ve tried Arrogant Bastard and it’s a pretty good beer.
There you have it, a pretty good book and a pretty good beer. My job is done here now.