The Happiest Hour – 3/13/20

Can we be honest with each other?

Right now, this doesn’t feel like the happiest hour. With every news alert and email from that yoga studio you went to once saying they’re cancelling classes, it feels like we’re sitting inside a countdown clock, waiting for it to hit zero. Last week, The Drinking Club was conversing about embarrassing bodily functions while demolishing several bottles of red. Today, my relative calm was eaten away as I scrolled through my news app while working from home. The isolation stoked whatever anxiety I had–until I went out to the grocery store for WFH supplies. The sun was shining, the air was warm. There was a bird chirping somewhere (it was probably lost).

This is to say: we all need to take a breath. We need to be smart and cautious, and we need to take care of ourselves and our communities. I’m toasting tonight to all of us getting through these next weeks and doing what we need to stay healthy and calm. In these challenging times, remember: there’s nothing a good book can’t fix.

There’s also not enough wine to make you forget the sight of your coworker in his pajamas on the conference call.

Here’s what you missed this week:




The Happiest Hour – 11/1/19

We’re comin’ atcha this week from Bavaria, where we are sinking slowly into a carb coma due to overconsumption of pretzels and beer. We’re very okay with this.

Here’s what you missed this week:




The Librarians Have Spoken: The Club Gets The Results

Last month, we told you how we prayed to the Library Gods for recommendations for The Drinking Club. They replied, voice booming from the heavens, promising to answer us in two weeks. Which they did. And now I’m sharing the results…one month later. I have no defense.

The Almighty Alex, librarian extraordinaire, has suggested the titles below for our group. It’s a mix of literary fiction, nonfiction, and memoir. We’ve read one of them already, so we’re off to a great start.

  • The Death and Life of Aida Hernandez by Aaron Bobrow-Strain
  • Evicted by Matthew Desmond
  • Another Brooklyn by Jacqueline Woodson
  • When I Was Puerto Rican by Esmeralda Santiago
  • H is for Hawk by Helen Macdonald
  • Free Food for Millionaires by Min-Jin Lee
  • Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman
  • In the Woods by Tana French
  • Parable of the Sower by Octavia Butler
  • Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
  • The Power by Naomi Alderman

This list is comprehensive. We got sci-fi, mystery, dystopian, coming-of-age stories, nature writing. It’s also fairly diverse–knowing full well publishing is primarily pale, male, and stale, and there are a plethora of experiences not captured on this list. Still, there are only two dudes. We’ll take it as a sign of progress.

As you will have noticed, Almighty Alex included The Power, which we read last fall. Alex clearly saw into our collective soul to make these recommendations, so I feel confident in saying that if we read one of these, a third of us would like it. Several of these have been on my TBR for a while. I feel I should hand in my bibliophile card for not having read Americanah yet. It reminds me of my inadequacy every time I find it on my bookshelf.

This just means we have to read one of these. The Library Gods have been magnanimous–all of these books are book discussion sets, meaning they have longer check-out lengths and multiple copies available. They also created a collection for these titles on their website that we can save to our library account. They’ve even named it: Books for a Savvy Book Club. They’re being very generous with that moniker. It would be rude not to read one of their suggestions.

So, what should we read next? Is there a title missing that you think jives with the rest of this list? Let us know!



The Club Makes a Match

A love match, that is. With a book.

For those that thought it was with a human, I say to you: we have enough friends already, and have you been on Hinge recently?

The nose miners (I mean children) of New York City return to school today, an experience rife with matches: will your homeroom teacher be the mysterious youngish man, or the fossil the building was constructed around? Will your bestie be waiting for you in 5th period English, or will she be living it up with the rest of your friends in Bio, leaving you with an incurable case of FOMO? As the girl who bought her school supplies in July, my nostalgia peaks this time of year. I even perused the supply aisle in Target to see if anything has changed since my days of color coordinating Mead notebooks (it hasn’t). And while I’ll never feel the thrill of reading my class schedule for the first time again, I can find out what books I should be reading from the library.

The Brooklyn Public Library offers Bklyn BookMatch to card-carrying bibliophiles and anyone who walks in off the street. The free service provides a customized, five-book reading list for you, personally created by a librarian. I discovered this in a newsletter, when it announced the BPL would be offering book matches live for one day only in the Central Library. I thought they did that everyday, being librarians.

I went after work, completed a form…and then got too hungry to wait the 30 minutes for my recs. But now I’m here and committed to finding recommendations not for myself, but for the club. Because there will be a time when we need a solid pick because we waited too long to send AM our choice and she’s written us off.

I’ve kept our reading preferences purposefully vague, and not just because it’s our modus operandi. I’m curious to see what the librarian selects for us. I’ve provided our last read, and well as our current selection. I’ve also noted that we’re willing to try any book once, because they put a word limit on sharing dislikes. Anyone that knows The Club will know our scorn can never be shackled.

I’m so excited to share our matches with you…in two weeks. Which is about the same time it takes the average Murray Hill male to reply to your witty comment about his summer vacation story in your dating app chat.

Until then, I’m sorry the tiny humans will be taking all the subway seats on your commute.




The Happiest Hour – 7/13/19

What does it say about you when you’re shopping for a high school graduation present for your little cousin, and your eye goes straight for the cute wine tumbler? Nothing good, right? I’m afraid of the kind of mother I’ll be.

Here’s what you missed this week:

  • “’I’m trying not to be too Sherlock Holmes about it, but if there’s such a thing as a quite distinctive rip, well, he or she rips the page in half horizontally and sometimes removes half the page.’” That is a real quote, from a real news story, about the Book Ripper. You heard it here first, ladies and gentlemen. (The Guardian)
  • Bless the librarian who created the noise hotline. (Buzzfeed)
  • I’ve got the morbs because I was poked up about the bald-headed butter. Let’s make this a thing again. (Open Culture)
  • All hail the OG troll, Hans Traxler. (Atlas Obscura)




The Happiest Hour – 4/13/19

Spring has sprung, dear readers. NYC is welcoming the warmer weather with some alarming flash rainstorms, which I discovered as I floated across Flatbush Avenue on my way home last night. Give us sun and outdoor patios for day drinking and reading.

Here’s what you missed this week:

  • National Library Week has just finished, and CNN shared a few tidbits about librarians, including (and I quote): “At the end of the 19th century, library work was considered to be too overwhelming for women, and in 1900, the Brooklyn Public Library Association proposed building ‘a seaside rest home for those who had broken down in library service.'” That Dewey Decimal system get ’em every time.
  • The New York Times put together an interactive sneak peek of books being published around the world this year. Come for the expansion of your literary horizons, stay for the flying hardcovers.
  • We fully support Emily Gould borrowing our Time Turner to go back a give dear Sylvie the review she deserved.
  • The biggest literary question of the year will be answered on Monday (and no, the question is not who’s the first person to die in GoT’s final season).