The Club Reminisces on 2018…and Cringes

With only a couple of weeks left to 2018, everyone is looking back at what the universe dished up in the past 350-ish days. The Winter Olympics feel like a lifetime ago. We have more gray hairs than we care to admit after reading the news each day. And our future children will mock us when they see that we slung fanny packs over our shoulders like Jansports. Woof.

We might sending 2018 off with a “boy, bye” instead of a stirring rendition of Auld Lang Syne, but that doesn’t mean we won’t look back fondly on some parts of this year. There was a royal wedding. A selfie kid at the Super Bowl. Probably some other stuff we will remember years later in therapy. What we will remember from this year: the amazing things we read.

Not ones to be left out of a good fad, we present to you our Best of 2018 list. And because it’s us, we have to share with you our Worst of 2018 list as well. Note: unlike The New York Times and any other reputable outlets, not all the items presented here have been published this year. We just read them this year. Better late than never, right?

We’ve also shared our favorite drinks from the past year as a pairing with our favorite reads, because we love you.


DD: “How Anna Delvey Tricked New York“. Pair with: a perfectly chilled Veuve Cliquot.

LL: Beneath A Scarlet Sky. Pair with: a cucumber mint vodka cocktail.

DR: Manhattan Beach. Pair with: a Tom Collins.

AM: Beartown. Pair with: Justice (better than any drink out there).

MM: Sharp Objects. Pair with: a glass of Valpolicella Ripasso. MM also recommends noshing on some Trader Joe’s cheese with the purple rind. You know the one.

MV: Look Alive Out There. Pair with: Sauvignon Blanc and a LED floodlight for all the Jared’s in our lives.

EV: The Tokyo Zodiac Murders. Pair with: Pinot Noir.



DR: Swing Time

MM: The Nest

AM: That article about the auction of Sylvie’s stuff. We’re still a little salty about that one.

MV: Alias Grace

The Club Believes Her

You ever have one of those days where work becomes a soul-sucking vortex of chaos? Yeah you have. It’s called Tuesday. I’ve had a month of Tuesdays. MM is beginning a marathon of Tuesdays. We may not see here until 2019.

Which is why I’m delighted that AM took over scribes duties for our last meeting, held at the end of September. So, without further ado:

On this edition of Drinking Club with a Reading Problem, the club talks flaming hot cheetos, Are You the One?, a BOGO deal on babies, and this month’s book selection: Beartown by Fredrik Backman.

The flaming hot cheetos? Delish. And while they didn’t pair fantastically with the vegetable dip also present, they did add a little somethin’ somethin’ to all of the red wines joining this evening.

Are You the One? A fantastic show which, if you haven’t already, you MUST watch. The concept is so simple yet becomes so involved. DD and I are hopeless fans who had 7 strong seasons to cover.

Baby BOGO deals? MV let us in on this medical marvel, but I’ll leave our fabulous blog owner to tell you this one at another time because it is, after all, half of her story too.

And now to the club’s thoughts/feelings/findings on this month’s choice of Beartown.  Unfortunately only three of us had finished the book by the club’s rendezvous, but fortunately we all had similar feelings towards it: Love. Necessity. Sadness. Fear. Anxiety. Emotions difficult to describe in any combination of words. To name a few…


I am no novice to Mr. Backman’s writing – having read My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry and A Man Called Ove, I already know that I am a sucker for Backman’s style. He has this insane ability to write characters so that I feel like I know them as a person, sometimes better than I know most people in my day-to-day life.

Even though the players are always my favorite part of Backman’s novels, this particular one is a little tougher because in very different ways, the two main characters of this novel are not actually people at all, but are “Hockey” and “Rape”.

In what sounds to an outsider like a grown-up version of The Mighty Ducks, this town lives, breathes, and relies on hockey to shape its inhabitants’ lives. The sport makes, breaks, defies, ruins, and touches every single person’s life whether they want it to or not, whether they realize it or not. It also drives one of its stars to feel comfortable enough with his reputation and abilities to think he can get away with whatever he wants. This includes assault. This includes rape.

And how apropos is it that the Club reads and meets to discuss this novel exactly 24 hours after the conclusion of one of the most widely watched, talked about, and controversial senate judiciary committee hearings of our time. I won’t get too political here and share my views and opinions on the trial or on its participants (or on the fact that Alyssa Milano was present), but what I will say is that this world could use more women like 15-year-old Maya who is strong enough to tell her story so that justice can be served; so that others can find strength in her story; and so that she and her family can begin their journey back towards some semblance of normalcy in their lives, which is every person’s right but which we take for granted.