Friday, February 29, 2008

What is Benjamin Wallace reading?

The current featured contributor at Writers Read: Benjamin Wallace, author of the forthcoming The Billionaire’s Vinegar: The Mystery of the World's Most Expensive Bottle of Wine.

His entry opens:
I'm currently bouncing between two books. Louis Menand's The Metaphysical Club constantly amazes me by introducing me to nineteenth-century figures, such as Louis Agassiz, who loomed huge in their day -- and are unknown now, because they were colossally wrong (anti-evolution, pro-phrenology, etc.). Marc Norman's What Happens Next: A History of American Screenwriting tells the story of Hollywood from what I would call a worm's-eye view, except that such a lowly description would confirm the very prejudice toward screenwriters -- those schmucks with MacBooks -- that this book nobly aims to explode. [read on]
Benjamin Wallace has written for GQ, Details, Food & Wine, Salon, and the Washington Post. From 1990 to 1992, he lived in the Czech Republic and Hungary, teaching English, proofreading diplomatic documents at the Czechoslovak Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and writing for such newspapers as The Prague Post, The Budapest Post, and The European. From 1993 to 1995, he worked as a reporter for obscure trade publications in Manhattan, including a magazine about magazines and a mergers-and-acquisitions newsletter called Corporate Control Alert, which was regularly mistaken for either an industrial-security journal or a bondage & discipline periodical.

Simon Winchester, author of The Professor and the Madman and A Crack in the Edge of the World, writes of Wallace's forthcoming The Billionaire’s Vinegar:
“It is the fine details — the bouquet, the body, the notes, the finish – that make this book such a lasting pleasure, to be savored and remembered long after the last page is turned. Ben Wallace has told a splendid story just wonderfully, his touch light and deft, his instinct pitch-perfect. Of all the marvelous legends of the wine trade, this curiously unforgettable saga most amply deserves the appellation: a classic.”
Writers Read: Benjamin Wallace.

--Marshal Zeringue