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 – 10/18/19

We had a Drinking Club meeting last night, and we may have found the first bar in New York City that we are not allowed back to. More on that in the next recap.

Here’s what you missed this week:

  • Can looking at literature tell us how happy we were at a given point in time? It’s got about the same credibility as a Magic 8 ball. (Vox)
  • Someone decided to investigate why so many books have “wife” in the title, and the result is maybe one of the best sentences written: “we did leave in titles that made puns because puns make life worth living.” (BookNet Canada)
  • We’ve shared some pieces about archaic slang before, but now you can test your knowledge (or become totally perplexed, as I was). (Mental Floss)

Cheers,

EV

The Happiest Hour – 10/5/19

“Oh Crystal Palace, how I’ve missed you,” said no one ever.

The temporary home to myself and New York’s ritziest pigeons carries the delicate scent of greasy fries and body odor. And we still have the rest of the weekend to spend together.

Here’s what you missed this week:

 

Cheers,

EV

The Happiest Hour – 9/7/19

Cozy dinners and long brunches make the first week after summer’s end bearable. So does curling up on the couch with a dishy romance and a good Pinot Noir. It’s fall, basic bitches.

Here’s what you missed this week:

  • Breaking news: celebrities read not just the nutrition facts of their kombucha, but real books!
  • Waffle House has a poet laureate. Yes, you read that right. (Atlanta Magazine)
  • Book your tickets to Wales to have your own Night at the Library. (Smithsonian)
  • I took this literary sister quiz and didn’t get a match. Now having an existential crisis. (Quirk Books)

 

Cheers,

EV

The Club Goes to Another Book Club (The Horror!)

Before you get all worried or something, The Drinking Club is fine. More than fine. DR moved into her own apartment, because she is the most successful of all of us. MM kicked her toxic job to the curb. MV is killing it at her new job. LL is planning THE WEDDING of 2020. DD is constantly on the road, advocating for a cure for a debilitating disease. And AM is lounging in the Hamptons (at least we think. Powering up the helicopter to confirm).

And me? I’ve been knee deep in drayage paperwork and traveling to California to sell books to nerds (that last one was basically a work-sponsored vacation and the highlight of my year. DR is drafting the proposal to convince my manager to keep me out there permanently). I was in the cavernous halls of the San Diego Convention Center, contemplating the deodorant choices of certain members of the cosplay community, when the last meeting of The Drinking Club was held. It was a beautiful gathering; the wine carafes flowed, the baked mac & cheese was abundant. Though I can only guess. MV volunteered herself to write the latest recap (still waiting on it) after she scheduled the meeting when she knew I was out of town (still not bitter). I guess you’ll never know what everyone thought of Manhattan Beach.

Fear not, dear readers–I still attended a book club, so you’ll get your monthly dose of wine-infused literary analysis. This month’s reading adventure takes us to Midtown and the teal halls of TheSkimm. As a loyal subscriber (but terrible Skimm Squad member–my follow-through was abysmal), I received an invite to a trial book club event they were hosting. The book: The Farm by Joanne Ramos, an unsettling look at privilege and surrogacy told through the lens of the hosts carrying the fetuses of the world’s uber wealthy. The main event, a Q&A with Ramos at their office, seemed like a great way to kill two birds with one stone: feed my obsession with TheSkimm, and do some research for my day job (we host a similar annual event, however, the median age of our readers is around 75).

Joined by the best intern NYC has ever seen (and actual Skimmbassador), I settled into the plush couches at SkimmHQ with a very buttery glass of Chardonnay. The group assembled was intimate and eager to discuss, though not in an overbearing way. I was a bad sport and forgot to write a book recommendation on my name tag, but that didn’t prevent me from passing along a few recs of my own. There was a real sense of community, or at least a desire to build one from the like-minded ladies in the room.

Joanne Ramos was relatable and authentic; her responses weren’t canned, or overly crafted. The discussion that night covered whether we thought the ending of her novel was a happy one (no spoilers, but I was convinced it was going to end in a bloodbath); whether the likability of the characters mattered to us (Ramos said she had no interest in writing saints or villains); how Ramos’s immigrant experience and today’s political climate influence the protagonists; whether privilege prevents you from “doing good,” and where privilege comes from.

Probably the most interesting part of the discussion for me was the author’s bio, and the circuitous path she took to becoming a novelist. Without having grown up in the Midwest as a first generation immigrant, worked in finance, became a reporter, she said she wouldn’t have been able to write the story that she did. She shared an analogy a former boss had shared with her: while we might like our lives to be a series of choices that place us on a linear path, our choices are often resemble a patchwork quilt. Each experience is unique and colorful, and when added to others, creates a more interesting tableau that put you where you were meant to be. I think that’s a lesson that, while cheesy, we could all use in our hyper-competitive and Instagram-curated lives.

Another important takeaway: Gemma Chan, Saoirse Ronan, and Matthew McConaughey should keep their schedules open, because we want them for the movie. It’s been decided–they can’t back out now.

Until next time,

EV

 

The Happiest Hour – 5/11/19

This whirlwind week began with frigid conferences rooms and ended with rosé with authors in a cozy East Side bar. Who can complain about that?

No one, which is why I will complain instead about these dismal days, when the pollen taking up residence in your airways is second only to the permafrost coating your apartment, because it is too warm for heat but not warm enough for air-conditioning.

Here’s what you missed this week:

 

Cheers,

E