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Raw Spirit - Iain Banks

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Raw Spirit - Iain Banks

Postby lexkraai » Wed Nov 12, 2003 3:25 pm

Hi all

Finished reading my copy of above book over the weekend. It's a personal account of Banks' search for the 'perfect dram', travelling around Scotland, visiting distilleries, and tasting them. Interspersed with the whisky-related writing are childhood memories, comments on cars and motoring, his strong views on the war in Iraq, etc.

I really enjoyed reading it; it's a whisky book like no other, with the possible exception maybe of Morton's 'Spirit of Adventure'.


Cheers, Lex
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Raw Spirit

Postby Frank D.Scott » Tue Nov 18, 2003 9:45 pm

Thanks for the update Lex.I have ordered a copy of this book and can hardly wait.I really enjoyed Morton's book.a great ride around the country.I wish he 'd do it again maybe in an MG this time of course, with no top.I'd love to see his thoughts on all these well reheased kids in all these distillery VC's.I am really glad I did most of my distillery tours in the 70's and 80's when you drove up and just talked to who ever was working and got shown around the place.I was taken places you would never see on the 4 pound tour today.
Slainte
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Postby The Fachan » Mon Dec 29, 2003 10:08 am

Just finished "Raw Spirit" and found it a great book. Iain Banks is writing from the heart not just on whisky but a lot of his personal feeling and memories.
His passion and believs come across throughout the book regardless of the subject, whether it is whisky or Great Wee Roads.
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Postby Deactivated Member » Mon Dec 29, 2003 10:19 pm

Hi Ian ,indeed a good book and one that was difficult to put down.Only annoying bit was when he came so close but so far to visiting my favourite distillery..The Speyside,near Kingussie. :cry: Never mind.At least he got to meet the cats down at Bladnoch,another gem of a distillery.
Hmm thought I recognised the name,just looked at my WhiskyFest "menu" that hangs proudly on my fridge and there you are.Hope you enjoyed it as much as I did.
cheers,Lavinia
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HALF PRICE AT WATERSTONES

Postby Deactivated Member » Thu Jan 01, 2004 2:33 pm

If you're in the UK, get down to Waterstones. My local one's got "Raw Spirit" at half price!!!
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Raw spirit

Postby Pipe and dram » Mon Jun 21, 2004 11:33 pm

I cannot believe you enjoyed this book - I agree with the comments in the other discussion above about this book - it has nothing to do about whisky - just some swelled head writer going on and on about his boring life. He cannot leave the war alone, thinks it is great to write about cars he is driving and the only bit he gets in about whisky is tiny tidbits he picked up at brochures at the visitor centers - he did not even take the tours or talk to the people.

I was real excited when I got this book for father's day. But as I got to about page three (I do not care how many books he has written -does he need to remind on on every second page) and then got bored and am now skimming whole pages looking for something evenly remotely connected to whisky. On one page I counted thirty seven "I"s - boy is this guy high on himself.

A complete waste of money and randomhouse should be ashamed for publishing this garbage.
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Postby Argyll » Tue Jun 22, 2004 11:57 am

:x

Hear hear!

What a load of self-indulgent twaddle. The man cannot stop reminding you that he is being paid a wedge of money to do this!

This was a chance to encourage more drinkers, more visitors and to really sing the praises of Scotland and its national drink. Instead, nothing.

Such a shame.

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Raw spirt - raw nerve

Postby Pipe and dram » Tue Jun 22, 2004 1:25 pm

:( I could not help commenting again about this book. Last night I skimmed another 60 pages looking for something remotely interesting. He could not even do a good job on Macallan which he claims is one of his favourites. All he could talk about is wanting to change his name to Macallan so and so to be a pseudonym for one of his many books he can’t stop talking about. He will need a pseudonym after this book because I will never buy one of his books. To be mistaken for Iain Rankin – ha. I wonder what hat size he is.

Here is a quote from page 255 (hardopy) “To the people who insist they really do have a great idea but they just can’t write, I’d say that given some of the books I’ve read, or at least started to read, it would appear that not being able to write is absolutely no obstacle whatsoever to writing a book and securing a publishing contract.” Hear, hear Iain, listen to your own words and heed the next time you go spewing off about how good a writer you are.
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Money back

Postby Argyll » Fri Aug 27, 2004 11:09 am

:evil:

Does anyone know the address of Mr Banks as I feel the need to send his book back to him and ask for a full refund - perhaps even asking for compensation for the time wasted in my life reading his pathetic scribblings.

I don't want to send it to the publisher's as it will go nowhere.

Regards,

Argyll
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Raw spirit

Postby Pipe and dram » Sat Aug 28, 2004 12:40 am

Good idea - perhaps you can get a contact from the publisher. If so let me know and I will ship my copy as well!!
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Postby Pete Reek » Sat Sep 04, 2004 2:48 pm

I see that "close friends of Mr Banks" have been quoted again in the press , expressing their outrage about the SMWS losing its independence and Glenmorangie now being up for sale; as a member of many years standing I would say that the quality of the bottling lists have only improved over the past few months (although no Glenmorangie yet!).
Unlike the aforementioned author, I prefer to take my whisky straight and don't believe in mixing it with water, ice or politics, and so will resist any temptation to make comments on the state of the Labour Party, the security situation in Iraq, the interim government in Afganistan, or any other unrelated topics.
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Postby ikendal » Fri Sep 09, 2005 2:35 pm

When I started reading this thread, I could not believe all the positive comments. I want to echo all the negative coments above. This is not a book about whisky but a string of ranting linked very loosly with the occasional distillery. a great disapointment. If you have that address please pass it on, because mine is going back the the author.

Coult it be that this book breaks the trade descriptions act! a book about finding the perfect dram - I think not!
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Postby toshie » Fri Sep 09, 2005 8:29 pm

I set out to like it, persevered to the bitter end and considered it to be the self-satisfied smug ramblings of a guy who believes the blurb on his own book covers. Shame - it was a great idea and totally spoiled by this self-indulgent guy. Someone else should do it properly.
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Postby Paul A Jellis » Fri Dec 23, 2005 2:15 am

Finally, after a year, I have finished the damn thing. It became a personal goal, my 'Everest', to read it through to the bitter end.

What a pile of self-indulgent pap! I'm glad my copy was a gift, if not I would be asking for a refund.

From now on I shall stick to 'real' books about whisky!

Cheers

Paul
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Postby woodenboy » Fri Dec 23, 2005 9:03 am

I agree that Raw Spirit is not what it could have been. After wading through the first half I started just skimming pages to see where he actually talks about whisky. However, I feel the need to stand up for Iain Banks just a little bit...

Although I did partly buy this as a whisky book, I think I bought it mainly as an Iain Banks book, because some his fiction and science fiction is absolutely wonderful and I've been a fan for a long time now. (I say some - he's very inconsistent - much of his writing is creative in an extraordinary way, and some is dull as dishwater).

I would recommend you all pick up a copy of "The Wasp Factory", his first and definitely his best of those I've read. For the science fiction stuff under the name Iain M. Banks, check out "Consider Phlebas", "Player of Games", and "Against a Dark Background".

Avoid "Inversions", "The Business" and "Walking on Glass". There are several of his books I've not read yet, but despite his inconsistency, his good ones are so good I'm still going to have a crack at all of them at one time or another.
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Postby Iain » Fri Dec 23, 2005 9:21 am

The Business really was disappointing. You got the impression he lost interest in it, half way through writing. As I did, less than half way through reading...

He's a great writer when he's on form. But he has also written some jaw-droppingly awful sci fi short stories.

Which isn't really relevant to a whisky forum, except it was my experience with TB that warned me off reading Raw Spirit.

I enjoyed Tom Morton's book, and the tv series that "spawned" it.
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Postby woodenboy » Fri Dec 23, 2005 9:53 am

Iain wrote:Which isn't really relevant to a whisky forum

True... I just thought I'd stand up for Iain Banks a little bit. If you tasted one whisky you didn't like, it wouldn't stop you trying others would it? :)
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Postby Iain » Fri Dec 23, 2005 10:08 am

"If you tasted one whisky you didn't like, it wouldn't stop you trying others would it?"

That's true - except I'm not currently wary of ALL authors, just the output of one! :D

If I had a bad experience with a whisky from a particular distillery (Fettercairn and Littlemill spring to mind), then I'd be wary of buying another bottle of stuff that came from that distillery - unless I got a recommendation from a reliable source re a particular bottling, of course.

For some people on this forum, the best example might be Bowmore? Many are reluctant to give it another chance, as they have had a bad experience re FWP (or whatever we should call it in the light of recent debate - if indeed it exists!). Others (less cautious, perhaps, with their pennies) have continued to buy. They say that it's back on form (if it was ever off form), and encourage us not to be put off by any previous disappointments.

I've had great experiences with Gavin Smith's books in the past, and I'm looking forward to reading his latest offering (Santa willing) :wink:
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Postby corbuso » Mon Apr 03, 2006 3:16 pm

I am surprised by the comments regarding this book. I have read only a third of the book so far, but I dp really enjoy it. The style is quite unique and entertaining. If you don't like British (or Scotch humour), then you might be quite disappointed.
Of course, it is not a book about tasting notes or about the whisky process. If it was your initial thought, then I can understand your dissatisfaction.
Otherwise, it is a refreshing and relaxing book
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Postby Alec » Fri Apr 07, 2006 10:26 am

I read it recently. I have to say it isn't a book about whisky. If they hadn't advertised it as a book about whisky I might have enjoyed it a bit more, but then again I probably wouldn't have bought it. I've read quite a lot of Banksie's books and respect him as a writer, but this book is incredibly self-indulgent. The bits I hated the most, which seemed to get ever longer, were his pages on cars. I am a keen cyclist and don't drive and have no interest in cars, and gave up wading through pages of enthusiastic stuff about which are the best roads to drive on etc. Still, trying to be positive, I had read reviews on amazon about this book and had decided not to buy it, but my girlfriend bought it for me as an Xmas present, so I was ready for it, and it was interesting to discover more about the author. Bottom line if you want an entertaining read about whisky distilleries don't buy this book. If you like Iain Banks and you enjoy driving buy it.
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