The Whiskey Book Club
Think book groups are only for wine-drinking women? Think again.
“It was a pretty emotional book for me,” Fleming adds. Coates’ narrative led him to reflect on things he had felt but hadn’t been able to articulate. “It was eye-opening for me as a black person and also for the other people in the book club who don’t have the same lived experience.”
Says Perez: “We have very different political and philosophical ideologies, so we got a lot of perspectives.” When it was his turn to host the club at his place, Perez picked Einstein’s Dreams by Alan Lightman, which he first read in high school. He remembered liking the collage of stories about the scientist’s imaginary dreams and humans’ understanding of time. He wanted to revisit them.
Club co-founder Judge, a resident of Falls Church, says that discussion also ranked among their most thought-provoking. “It was fun talking about time because it can be so many different things,” he says. The wide-ranging nature of reading material has stretched the literary tastes of many participants. “I’ve definitely not liked a book going into the meeting and then felt very different about it after the discussion.”
Why whiskey? “[It’s] easy to sip on, and it’s fancy enough that I feel a little more intelligent when I’m drinking it,” Gresham explains.
Perez says he enjoys trying different whiskeys and appreciates their tongue-loosening effects. “Having a little bit of liquor doesn’t hurt to lubricate the conversation,” he says. The group gets more boisterous as they sip.
They’ve also formed tighter bonds over bourbon and prose.
“You learn more about some of your closest friends, which is really, really cool because of their perspectives,” Fleming says. “These topics aren’t something that you can organically get to if we’re just sitting around doing what we usually do or what we did in college”—namely, watching Virginia Tech games or heading to bars and parties.
Next up, the group will tackle global finance and white-collar crime in Billion Dollar Whale: The Man Who Fooled Wall Street, Hollywood, and the World, by Tom Wright and Bradley Hope.
They may need more than a little whiskey for that one.
Amy Brecount White thoroughly enjoys her own Arlington and Bethesda-based, wine-drinking book club of 15+ years.