Literary Drinking Games

Drink ‘Til He’s Witty: The Reader’s Drinking Game

By Anna North,, August 3, 2010

Drink 'Til He's Witty: The Reader's Drinking Game

A recent essay in the Times points out that “rules for drinking are not so different from rules for writing.” If that’s true, then clearly famous literary stars need their own drinking games. A few suggestions, after the jump.

Geoff Nicholson extrapolates from writing-workshop maxims to create these drinking rules: “Drink what you know, drink regularly rather than in binges, avoid needlessly exotic booze, and leave the table while you can still stand.” But why stick with what you know when you can challenge yourself — and your liver — with a game of William Faulkner or Ernest Hemingway? You can play these games in groups — by, say, having one person read aloud (this will probably get even more fun as the reader’s voice slurs and his/her eyes lose focus). However, they are perhaps best attempted — like great writing — alone with your secret fantasies, your thwarted desires, and your gnawing fear that you will never really amount to anything in this bleak, meaningless life.

Thomas Pynchon: Drink every time someone has a stupid name, like “Eigenvalue.”

David Foster Wallace: Drink every time a sentence has three or more conjunctions.

William Faulkner:
Every time a sentence goes on for more than a page, drink the entire bottle. Then make out with your sister.

Joyce Carol Oates: Drink every time there is a home invasion.

Jane Austen: Drink every time someone plays whist, goes riding, or gets married.

J.D. Salinger: Every time there is a symbol of lost innocence, drink a highball. Then spit it all over someone you love.

Emily Bronte: Drink every time you see the word “heath” (Heathcliff counts).

Gabriel García Márquez
: Drink every time someone’s name is “Aureliano.” (Note: this only works for A Hundred Years of Solitude)

Virginia Woolf: First, go buy some flowers. Then, if you have time left over, drink.

Sappho: Drink every time you can’t tell if something is hot or disgusting.

Ernest Hemingway: Drink every time Ernest Hemingway is boring and overrated. Man, I am so wasted right now.

Raymond Chandler: Drink every time someone drinks.

Dashiell Hammett:
Drink every time someone drinks.

Drink every time someone drinks gross diluted wine.

Dylan Thomas: Drink until you are in a coma.

Some other goodies:

Agatha Christie: Drink any time Poirot talks about his “little grey cells”, Miss Marple is reminded of someone from Saint Mary Mead, or Tommy and Tuppence mention the War.

Anne Radcliffe/Wilkie Collins: Drink every time a woman is in terror, the setting is a deserted castle/monastery, manor house, whenever something ridiculous has a perfectly reasonable explanation.

J.K.Rowling: Drink as soon as the characters do. (What is it, six books in?)

Beowulf: Drink every time there are no women in a scene.

Stephenie Meyer: Drink every time she uses the words “chagrin,” “beautiful,” and “perfect.” Also drink every time someone sighs,  sparkles,  and every time Bella abdicates her free will to the closest male.

Sweet Valley High: drink every time you read the phrase “ocean blue-green eyes,” “sun-streaked blond hair,” or “perfect size six.”

Edith Wharton: Drink every time there’s a scandalous divorce. Drink every time old money characters are horrified by the nouveaux riche. Chug a fine-aged bordeaux every time a character escapes to Europe.

Ann M. Martin: Drink every time Dawn is sanctimonious, Mary Ann is passive, Kristy calls a non- emergency emergency meeting of the BSC, or Claudia wears something that you, as a youth, used to think was awesome, and later, you remembered as being horrifying, and now you realize that you could purchase in total at American Apparel.

And, by Laura:

Nietzsche: Drink every time you don’t understand something, or every time you roll your eyes. (Can also apply to Derrida.)

This entry was posted in bronte, bsc, harry potter, jane austen, sleuthing, sweetvalley, vampires, writerly lives. Bookmark the permalink.

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