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On Booze

3.45  ·  Rating Details  ·  682 Ratings  ·  86 Reviews
“First you take a drink,” F. Scott Fitzgerald once noted, “then the drink takes a drink, then the drink takes you.” Fitzgerald wrote alcohol into almost every one of his stories. On Booze gathers debutantes and dandies, rowdy jazz musicians, lost children and ragtime riff-raff into a newly compiled collection taken from The Crack-Up, and other works never before published ...more
ebook, 96 pages
Published June 28th 2011 by New Directions
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May 03, 2013 matt rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition

Not quite as funny, wise, vivid, or interesting as you'd think it might be.

A lot of it is recycled (obviously) but it's some vague, mildly amusing letters mixed in with long passages from The Crack-Up (which I've already read before) and this doth not a FSF compendium of booze ruminations make....

There is this, though:

"When he urinated, it sounded like a night prayer."

Two stars. That last quote just made it under the one-star gun.
Stephanie Austin
I could spend my life pulling quotes out of this little ditty.

"On the side of the bed I put my head in my hands. Then silence, silence--and suddenly--or so it seems in retrospect--suddenly I am asleep. Sleep--real sleep, the dear, the cherished one, the lullaby. So deep and warm the bed and the pillow enfolding me, letting me sink into peace--nothingness--my dreams now, after the catharsis of the dark hours, are of young and lovely people doing young, lovely things...."

The stuff in the book is
Megan C
The longest section of this very short novel was, unfortunately, what I found to be the most boring part. However, while boring, it's still written by Fitzgerald and still, therefore, has beautiful imagery. I read it fluidly and lazily, like a poem. I just listened to the rhythm and the sound instead of focusing on the details of all the hotels he and Zelda stayed in over several years.

I'll have to reread this after I've read more Fitzgerald. Unfortunately, I've only tackled The Great Gatsby so
I enjoyed it on the basis that it was a collection of Fitzgerald's writings, but it did kind of feel like the editors did a Find-Replace of his work for anything that mentioned the words "drink" "gin" "drunk" "booze" etc., and copy-pasted them together to make a book. The back said it was his thoughts and experiences with drinking, and yet some stories would be 5, 10 pages and only mention the narrator sipping a drink at some point. So it was a little random in that respect. I think "The Crack-U ...more
Mar 17, 2014 BrokenTune rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed
Review first posted on BookLikes:

On Booze...I wish I had been when reading this.

This is a collection of short stories and fragments of Fitzgerald's notes and unfinished pieces. It's not polished and when reading it I could not help but feel that this was thrown together by an editor to create a freebie book to go with a re-issue of FSF's novels.

If you are a die hard fan, the short stories are worth reading but they are not of the same strength as the ones

I felt that this book was an excuse for editors to stick random parts of Fitzgerald's work that ever mentioned the word drink or alcohol, not necessarily writings about drinking or Fitzgerald's alcoholism. However, I think the book redeems itself in at it seems to look directly into Fitzgerald's psyche. "the Crack Up" is a 3 part autobiographical piece where fitzgerald describes a nervous breakdown and a desire to avoid contact with former relations. "Show Mr. And Mrs. F To..." is another autob
Abbi Dion
"Drunk at 20, wrecked at 30, dead at 40.
Drunk at 21, human at 31, mellow at 41, dead at 51."

"Debut: the first time a young girl is seen drunk in public."

I made a note during "My Lost City" -- "Major problem with FSF's writing: relies heavily on privileged anedcotes, knowlege and interest in the gossip of a society we care little about--particularly because the gossip is of the most mundane variety. From this tale, I pulled the beauty: "All is lost save memory, yet sometimes I imagine [...]"

I typically am not a huge fan of Fitzgerald, but I loved loved loved this collection. Half of it is written in an inebriated state and might I add, I would happily of drank with F. Scott were he alive today. “Selections from Notebooks” are fantastic quibs that make the modern mind wonder… what if F. Scott had a twitter account. “Selections from letters” shows his ability to be rather eloquently direct, supportive, and critical of his dearest, talented friends. I especially adore that half his wo ...more
Feb 25, 2014 Mike rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Seems silly to offer caveats about an affordable little book of winning pieces by an American giant, but here goes: everything contained within can also be found in The Crack-Up, which is also readily available from New Directions even if it won't fit in your pocket. Also the title is misleading; maybe a third of the pieces are about booze per se, the rest simply chart vaguely booze-related topics: insomnia, travel, and the changing nature of Manhattan social life.
Andrew Gaines
Dec 03, 2014 Andrew Gaines rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was my first Fitzgerald reading beyond implicitly-curriculum based Great Gatsby. I very much enjoyed Fitzgerald's writing, especially after recently reading his contemporary (and oft-name-dropped) Hemingway (The Sun Also Rises). I found F.S.F.'s writing more to my taste, and strangely invigorating, even in the constant topic of Jazz Age ennui. To be honest though, I was strongly leaning towards a three-star review, as I found the essays to be mostly not "On Booze" but on life, which, I supp ...more
Feb 27, 2015 Sean rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
For all this has to do with booze, the title could have been On Boise or On Bobcats and been as accurate. The selections from notebooks and letters would typically be interesting for a fan who hadn't combed through an author's entire bodies of work, but these were dull on the face and said nothing regarding the book's purported subject. The four essays, not stories, though they are well written and lesser known, often make only passing references to alcohol and speak mostly of state of mind or c ...more
i can't get over how beautiful this book is. from the slim design, to the matted textured cover, to the well thought out selections. it's a pleasure to read and reminds me why i love holding books. to feel their weight between my fingertips.
Charlie Scudder
Write drunk, edit sober.
Jose Moran
May 09, 2014 Jose Moran rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I should start by saying that Fitzgerald is one of my favorite authors of all time. Ever since I first read The Great Gatsby, I've been on a mission to read all of his books. The Roaring Twenties was also my favorite section of American History so I've always been interested in that era, which includes Fitzgerald and fellow authors of the 1920's.

This is a collection from Fitzgerald's letters and journals that pertain to booze (alcohol, drank, whatever you want to call it), which is a lot. Recal
Christine Ditzel
Oct 12, 2013 Christine Ditzel rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own-read
On Booze is a collection of random thoughts, essays, and letters written by F. Scott Fitzgerald – only parts of which are focused around drinking and alcohol despite the way the title and synopsis make it sound.

I’m not much of a drinker. I don’t go to bars, clubs, etc. and I usually only drink in the comfort and safety of my own home, except for the very rare occasion. I haven’t even had my “debut,” as Fitzgerald calls it in this collection (“Debut: the first time a young girl is seen drunk in p
James Payne
This book bummed me out and made me question the editorial quality of the publishing line in general. Most of the pieces can only be described as being tangentially related to alcohol - few fit the description on the back of the book. I'm totally in support of digging up work in the public domain, coming up with an enticing, contemporaneous angle to it, and packaging it in a well-designed book, but I'm not into naming the collection and describing it as something other than what it is.

Reading t
May 07, 2013 McKinnie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Hardly pertaining to booze and lacking any specific focus, this literary hodgepodge of nonfiction from F. Scott Fitzgerald begins with a bunch of random fragments and freshly-jotted ideas before it becomes a book of short essays and autobiographical writings. The writer's gift showcased in this collection is the most compelling reason to pick up this collection. Very few other authors could have written such a disjointed and imprecise work and still have left the reader feeling as though they ha ...more
Abimelech Abimelech
As noted, the title is misleading. It's a marketing ploy for a slim, handsome collection by an artist known for one of the most perfectly-written books of all time and almost simultaneously for his extraordinarily heavy drinking. Notebooks, excerpts from The Crack-Up, a bit more prose and a couple of letters. The book has more of a brief biographical impact than a prosaic ebb and flow, more vacantly depressing than crushing in its scattered admissions.

The title and the author say enough for the
Brooke Everett
After almost a year and several instances of restarting from the beginning, I FINALLY finished this! It's a slim volume: once I actually got into it, it went quickly. The title is a touch misleading - it's not exactly his "best drinking stories" but more so pieces that mention alcohol here or there, or he was actually buzzed while writing. It's a bit dense at times but contains some really fantastic observations. I love the imagery and excitement of 1920s NYC on many of these pages.

"Life was som
Contrairement à ce que peut laisser penser le titre, il n'est pas ici question d'alcool. L'alcoolisme de Fitzgerald est pourtant le compagnon silencieux de ses diverses anecdotes et pensées qui peuplent ce petit recueil.
Et quel étrange recueil! Une écriture fluide et faussement joyeuse (pas mal de passages au ton désabusé également) pour partager le temps qui passe, quelques anecdotes sur la vie et les changements de l'auteur et de son monde. Tout un chapitre consacré à une succession de séjours
May 30, 2012 Kyle rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Don't expect drunken debauchery after the first few pages. There's hardly even two mentions of booze (which is coincidentally the number of shots you might need to get through some of this) within the three short pieces provided. "The Crack-up" can be whiny at times and doesn't live up to other stories or novels with the same cynicism and topic. "Show Mr. and Mrs. F to Room-" is rich in detail, but lacks connectivity between thoughts. It reads more like sketches of things not fully developed. Bu ...more
Apr 28, 2015 Koonu rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
A shameless and effective cash grab made to appeal today's short attention span culture. If you are looking for more of Fitzgerald's non-fiction, try going to a used book store and look for The Crack-Up. It has the content of On Booze in its entirety and a whole lot more at a very small fraction of the price.
Feb 02, 2015 Jeremy rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Misleading title, mostly not on booze. Which is in fact the only reason I bought and read the book. I want to like Fitzgerald, but I guess he just isn't my cup of tea. When he's not completely full of himself he's full of a pretentious self-deprecation that in no way meshes with his high and mighty writing style.
Alex Delany
An interesting collection of writings. Some of the stories had me and others didn't; the quotes from his journals were incredible. Definitely a great snapshot of Fitzgerald's train of thought.

I do wish the content backed up the title more justifiably. Some stories included had only the briefest mention of drinking.
Feb 07, 2014 Kris rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
F. Scott Fitzgerald's writing is precise and graceful. His descriptions are vivid and highly personal. 'On Booze' was a casual and light read for me. I thought the notes at the beginning were funny, but it gradually vanished as I progressed through the book. My favorites were 'Sleeping and Waking' and 'My Lost City'.
The first thing I want to say about this book, is that hardly any of it relates to booze. I found this utterly bizarre, seeing as the book was titled "On Booze". However, this didn't particularly bother me or affect my enjoyment of the book.
I'm not going to say this is a brilliant book that everyone should read, because it isn't. If you're a Fitzgerald fan then you might as well pick it up if you're looking for a quick read. It was definitely more style over substance, and seems an odd collectio
Jun 15, 2014 Hannah rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
There is nothing revolutionary about this little book. If you're looking for something to move you, challenge your beliefs, and push boundaries this may not be the book for you. However, it is a delightful little book filled with amusing quotes. Don't expect a literary revelation while reading this, but do expect to be entertained with all the wonderful one-liners.
Jun 03, 2015 Jacquelyn rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own
A cute little collection of things Fitzgerald said about drinking. The letters were the most interesting, but you can find everything elsewhere. Borrow it if you have a choice: these excerpts aren't difficult enough to find to warrant buying this book.
Sep 10, 2015 Ally rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This short book is a collection of some of F. Scott Fitzgerald's writing about, and under the influence of, booze. Some are letters, some are journal entries, some are short stories. All are enjoyable.
Sep 21, 2015 Amanda rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book has little to do with booze and was actually just a collection of essays that I had mostly read before but, they were some of my favorites, so I was happy to read them again!
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Francis Scott Key Fitzgerald was an American writer of novels and short stories, whose works have been seen as evocative of the Jazz Age, a term he himself allegedly coined. He is regarded as one of the greatest twentieth century writers. Fitzgerald was of the self-styled "Lost Generation," Americans born in the 1890s who came of age during World War I. He finished four novels, left a fifth unfini ...more
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“I only wanted absolute quiet to think out why I had developed a sad attitude toward sadness, a melancholy attitude toward melancholy and a tragic attitude toward tragedy — why I had become identified with the objects of my horror or compassion.” 7 likes
“I saw that for a long time I had not liked people and things, but only followed the rickety old pretense of liking. I saw that even my love for those closest to me was become only an attempt to love, that my casual relations — with an editor, a tobacco seller,the child of a friend, were only what I remembered I should do, from other days.” 4 likes
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