The Happiest Hour – 5/9/20

Here ye, here ye: everyone’s favorite cringeworthy teenage obsession is making a comeback. That’s right: Midnight Sun hits shelves this summer. 14-year-old EV would have been out of her mind that it publishes the week of her birthday. DD has suggested a Twilight-themed sleepover to mark this momentous occasion.

Here’s what you missed this week:

  • Who knew NYT critics had a lot to say about books and breakfast? (NYT)
  • In honor of Mother’s Day, find out which literary mother you are (I’m Marmee). (NYPL)
  • Here are some of the more surprising titles readers are choosing to get them through quarantine, from the greatest tastemakers around–booksellers. (The Strategist)

 

Cheers,

EV

The Happiest Hour – 3/20/20

Well.

When I wrote last week’s post, I didn’t think we would be here a week later. The world is in freefall, waiting to slam into rock bottom. And each day, that bottom seems farther away. Many of us (myself included) are boomeranging between existential dread and some distant relative of cautious optimism. An optimist at heart, I believe we will come out of this, though I know it won’t be without some bruises and concerns about what our future will look like. So for now, I’m taking it one day at a time. And I’m wishing you and yours health and sanity during this challenging time (the understatement of the month. I can’t even justify saying the year because IT’S ONLY MARCH).

Here’s what you missed while refreshing your news app this week:

  • Comfort reads from the literary cool kids. (NY Times)
  • How independent bookstores are adapting to the age of COVID-19. (Vulture)
  • While many stores and shuttering, and publishers are cancelling book tours, we can still support our local indies and authors! Check out this list of authors who would have been touring now and support if you can. (Bookshop)
  • Drinking Club favorite Sloane Crosley advocates for a little distance before we submit Love in the Time of COVID. (NY Times)
  • Sports are on hold. The Bachelorette is postponed. Might we suggest #LiteraryMarchMadness to fill your Fantasy League needs? (NYPL)

 

Cheers,

EV

The Happiest Hour 9/22/19

At the end of this post waits a mimosa and a nap after three conferences in two weeks. So let’s get to it.

Here’s what you missed this week:

 

Cheers,

EV

The Happiest Hour – 6/2/19

Blessed be the boss that releases you early from the hallowed halls of the Crystal Palace, after a week of attempting to stem the frustration of book nerds who missed the galley drop by minutes.

And now, my watch has ended.

Here’s what you missed this week (or really, what I missed this week. Cell service in the Javits is abysmal):

 

Cheers,

EV

The Happiest Hour – 4/26/19

I’m not drinking tonight, as I must dehydrate myself before viewing the final Avengers movie. Before you get concerned: the Drinking Club held their April meeting last night, and the happy hour carafes were a-flowing.

Here’s what you missed this week:

 

Cheers,

EV

The Club Atones For Its Sins

A few weeks ago, on a Monday afternoon, I received a text from AM:

“I just did a terrible thing and I need to admit it to someone. Are you willing to receive this information?”

The worst thing I could think of was that she hadn’t scheduled enough episodes of her beloved Jersey Shore: Family Vacation at work (she’s personally responsible for all of your reality show binges). In reality, it was much worse.

AM: “I just bought several books from Barnes & Noble because they were cheaper than at the independent store I was originally going to buy them from.”

THE HORROR.

I’m kidding. Kind of. My job in publishing puts me in regular contact with independent booksellers. They are some of the most dedicated, passionate, and hardworking people you will ever meet, and they do it all for the joy of putting the right book in the right hands at the right time. I try to buy most, if not all, of my books from independent bookstores. And I encourage others, especially the club, to do the same. And by encourage, I mean I judge them, harder than my high school English teacher who wrote “no shit” on our papers, when they go anywhere but an indie bookstore for their next read.

AM needed to atone for her sins. So we (AM, DR, MV, and E) gathered on a sticky Saturday afternoon to visit one of the tri-state area’s best independent bookstores: Little City Books. But first: we went for brunch. Obviously.

 

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Over cocktails and chorizo omelettes, we covered a variety of topics that ladies who brunch normally discuss: why Dr. Pimple Popper’s YouTube videos are better than her TLC series; why cats are literally the worst¬†(it’s been scientifically proven); and the horrors of wisdom teeth removal. We have stomachs made of Teflon.

It wasn’t all talk about the things middle school boys gush over in the cafeteria. We (eventually) made our way back to books. MV is plodding her way through Alias Grace, though she’s giving up if the murder doesn’t happen in the next 50 pages. And AM is making it her mission to read more books this year. She recently moved in with MM, and with it, her commute time was cut in half. What is one to do when the travel time you relied on for reading is now gone? No seriously, we’re asking. The call of Netflix can be too strong to resist at home (as I write this, To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before is beckoning me. The struggle. Is. Real.)

 

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A short walk from the restaurant found us browsing the floor-to-ceiling shelves of Little City. The tiny storefront packs a punch, housing ample selections of literary fiction, essays collections, sci-fi, and thrillers. Not to mention a capital A-dorable children’s section, filled with classic picture books and the friendliest bunch of stuffed animals.

 

 

DR somehow managed to exit the store without a book (maybe the cats she babysat got to her; see link above). AM walked away with a copy of The Thorn Birds, a 1970s Australian family drama set in the outback (TBD on whether everyone’s friendly neighborhood Wolverine makes an appearance). MV purchased When Katie Met Cassidy, a charming rom-com that pairs well with bottomless mimosas, about two kick-ass female lawyers trying to figure out whether they belong together. And your narrator picked up a copy of Eligible, Curtis Sittenfeld’s modern retelling of Pride and Prejudice. Because when in doubt, always choose Austen.

So, has AM been absolved? I think she’s forgiven. TDB on Sylvie’s opinion, but she can be spiteful. The lesson here, dear reader: visit your independent bookstore. They value readers. And we will judge you if you don’t.

 

–E

 

 

The Club Goes to New Orleans…And Finds a Bookstore

Hello readers,

I’ve spent the past week in New Orleans for work, meeting with some of the kindest and coolest children’s booksellers you will ever meet. Before I left the Big Easy, I had two goals: eat beignets, and visit at least one bookstore.

The first order of business was accomplished a few hours after my arrival:

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Best decision: ordering an iced cafe au lait to accompany the delicately fried perfection of the beignets. Worst decision: wearing black pants on this adventure.

 

The second item was found during a leisurely ride on the St. Charles streetcar, admiring lavish southern mansions shaded by stately oak trees. A few coworkers and booksellers had ridden the trolley through the Garden District, raving about the relaxing loop from downtown through the quiet neighborhood. I hopped on the morning before my flight home, ready to marvel at homes worth more than I could imagine, and browse one of NOLA’s best bookstores: Garden District Book Shop.

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A quiet Thursday morning in the Garden District.

Tucked away on¬†Prytania St, Garden District houses bestsellers and classics on well-worn wooden bookcases in a cozy storefront. The paperback display was like candy; positioned up front by the register, where any book lover’s willpower disintegrates. The store had a decent selection of local reads and travel tomes, and an entire bookcase dedicated to Anne Rice. Not gonna lie, I was tempted to pick up a copy, but thought it might add another 5 pounds to my carry-on. I did purchase a copy of The Year Of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion. I read Slouching Towards Bethlehem in college and South and West last year, and am mesmerized by her writing (whose notes could be turned into a bestseller? Not mine. Joan puts us all to shame). I will post my thoughts soon! In the meantime, here’s Garden District:

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Like I said: candy. How many are on your TBR?

 

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The hardcover display. The Power is phenomenal!

 

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Later this year, I’ll be in San Diego, Tampa, and Rhode Island for work. Let me know your favorite indie bookstores in the area–I’m always looking for recommendations!

– E