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Books at the Bar

It’s dry January, which for some reason got us thinking about books set in bars.

If you are participating in dry January, think of these as a vicarious pleasure.

If you’re not abstaining this month, cheers!

The Tender Bar by J. R. Moehringer

"Moehringer has crafted a yearning, lyrical account of his fatherless youth and the companionship he found...among the Dickensian characters at a neighborhood bar. (The Los Angeles Times Book Review)

Love by Roddy Doyle

“This story, with its beer-inspired and home-brewed philosophy, its funny and painful moments, is about love . . . and the remembrance of love between friends, lovers, and family . . . Doyle’s narrative style is fast-paced and deceptively easy to read . . . [dialogue] goes down as smoothly as gulps of beer.” (Boston Globe)

A Horse Walks into a Bar by David Grossman

A searing short novel about the life of a stand-up comic, as revealed in the course of one evening’s performance in a dive bar. In the dance between comic and audience, with barbs flying back and forth, a deeper story begins to take shape—one that will alter the lives of many of those in attendance.

Devil in a Blue Dress by Walter Mosley

Walter Mosley’s novel introduces reluctant detective Easy Rawlins, a Black World War II vet recently laid off from a defense production plant. He’s hired to track down a French femme fatale who has disappeared with $30,000. His journey takes him through one bar and jazz club after another in1948 Los Angeles.

Mouth to Mouth by Antoine Wilson

Is there any kind of bar more simultaneously depressing and filled with promise than an airport bar? In a first-class lounge at JFK airport, our narrator listens as Jeff Cook, a former classmate he only vaguely remembers, shares the uncanny story of his adult life--a life that changed course years before, the moment he resuscitated a drowning man.

The Iceman Cometh by Eugene O'Neill

The Iceman Cometh focuses on a group of alcoholics and misfits who endlessly discuss but never act on their dreams, and Hickey, the traveling salesman determined to strip them of their pipe dreams.

Tom Harry has a streak of frost in his black pompadour and a venerable bar called The Medicine Lodge, the chief watering hole in the town of Gros Ventre, in Montana. Tom also has a son named Rusty, whose mother deserted them both years ago. The pair make an odd kind of family, with the bar their true home, but they manage just fine.

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