The Drinking Club Reads from Quarantine

After reading multiple articles about all the things we could be reading during this time (some of which I shared here), we figured it was time the Drinking Club compiled its own recommendations, on this the 37th week of quarantine. Recent reports, however, indicate that people no longer have the attention or desire to read due to our collective hell. To which we say: fair.

However, if you do feel inclined to spend an evening absorbed in a reality that is not…(gestures to all this), below are some books you can’t go wrong with. And because it’s us, there are a few we recommend you steer clear of. This list is provided by DD, quite possibly the most well-read member of the Drinking Club (AM is also in this category, but is occupied at the moment with her own consumer research project). So, without further ado, here are the books keeping us on the brink of sanity, and a few we’re regifting once this is all over:

  • Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston
    • DD says: A perfect romantic comedy escape from the sad state of single quarantine life.
  • Circe by Madeline Miller
    • DD says: Another wonderful escape, this one set in the world and lore of Greek mythology. It’s told SO well and I flew through it… and am now very invested in learning more about the Greek gods.
  • Ayesha At Last by Uzma Jalaluddin
    • DD says: A modern retelling of Pride and Prejudice set in a Muslim community in Canada! It’s wonderful, quick, and fun!
  • The Lord of the Rings trilogy by J.R.R. Tolkien
    • DD says: I’ve never read the books OR seen the movies so I am very excited to finally check this off my bucket list!! Fully expecting these to take me through at least the next 2-3 weeks!
  • Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
    • Editor’s note: it’s moving over to the bedside reading stack.
  • Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
    • DD says: After reading Ayesha at Last I couldn’t stop thinking about this OG Austen novel so here I am, having reread it for the zillionth time (the limit does not exist).
  • The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss
    • DD says: If you are a fan of fantasy this is a MUST. It’s a long read, perfect for a quarantine project, and has all the elements of a great fantasy novel (magic, love, revenge, mystery).
  • Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout
    • DD says: For all the acclaim it just did NOT do it for me. Maybe I’m not in the right mindset for it but I really had to force myself to get through each chapter and when I finished the book I just kind of felt “meh.”
  • A River of Stars by Vanessa Hua
    • DD says: I tried to read A River of Stars and got through maybe 60 pages and gave up.


Until next time,


The Happiest Hour – 11/9/18

What’s the best time of the day? Happy hour. Obviously. For those that said 5 a.m., when they begin their day with a meditation session and a kombucha, you know where the door is (just kidding, but we would definitely be swiping left on your OK Cupid profile).

For us, nothing is better than powering down at 5pm to grab a glass with the people who love you even after you’ve complained about your boss for 20 minutes…again. But we don’t just complain. We share tidbits from a week’s worth of news that have piqued our interests. And what might those be, you ask? Just the most scandalous, salacious, and weirdest stories that hit our inboxes.

So, for your reading pleasure: some of the strangest and most fascinating book news of the week. This will definitely impress your date tonight.

  • Calling all Aurors: J.K. Rowling is suing her former assistant for stealing $24,000 worth of candles, cards…and cats.
  • For those reminiscing about the days you came home on Friday to watch the newest DCOM: Quirk Books has a quiz to tell you what 80s Paperback Club you belong in (we’re in the BSC).
  • While the midterm elections seem to be the gift that keeps on giving, here’s something that will truly delight: a comprehensive reading list for fans of The West Wing. Bartlet For America.
  • In movie news: Lifetime is giving Pride & Prejudice the 2018 upgrade we need, and we’re ready for it.
  • And Lucia Berlin has us beat: we complain about our apartments, but none of us have weathered electrocutions, old men dying in the orchard, or the local ducks moving into the swimming pool (we wouldn’t mind if the Mandarin duck came to stay though).




The Club Wonders Whether The Boston Tea Party Actually Happened

This afternoon, AM sent me this article with the subject line “This Just Feels Wrong.” The top 10 selections for the Great American Read were released a few days ago, and HALF of America’s favorite books are written by British authors.

What is the Great American Read, you ask? Why, it’s a public television program and competition to find the most beloved book in America. Was Beloved on this list? You bet, but the top ten was Fifty Shades of White. Has your favorite blog writer (oh, stop) seen all the episodes? No, but I have my first free weekend since Labor Day coming up, and I plan to catch up with a nice bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon, as it is the only thing I possess to warm my frigid body until my super decides to turn on the heat. Don’t have a TV to watch PBS and hear you favorite authors and celebs gush about books? Fred Rogers would be so disappointed in you.

Thus far, the top ten titles are: Charlotte’s Web; The Chronicles of Narnia; Gone with the Wind; Harry Potter; Jane Eyre; Little Women; The Lord of the Rings; Outlander; Pride and Prejudice; and To Kill a Mockingbird. If I need to tell you which ones were written by British authors, you shouldn’t be here. The only thing I can pick up from this list is that we’re feeling nostalgic in these uncertain times, given the amount of children’s books voted in, and books that were our English teacher’s favorites. We may also have a few Macfadyen fans in the house.

Whatever the case may be, here’s the most important part: voting ends tomorrow. So go show the Brits that we write good too. Or let your inner anglophile free. We don’t really care. Just go vote.



But First, The Club Takes a Shelfie

Jane Austen wrote in Pride & Prejudice, “I shall be miserable if I have not an excellent library.” Truer words, friends. Up until recently, my books, and MV’s, were scattered across our apartment. They were on a single IKEA bookcase, tucked into unreachable corners of the living room, and shoved under nightstands in stacks that threatened to topple the furniture. And then, a miracle appeared in the form of another matching IKEA bookcase, magically transported and installed to mirror the existing piece (and by magic, I mean our Dad trucked it in from dirty Jerz and mounted it to the wall. He’s the best.).

The shelves are not organized by the Dewey Decimal System, or any system for that matter. They’re shelved in the order they were pulled from the moving boxes and the piles on the floor. The only design element is a small stack of paperbacks in the middle of a top shelf, which is also home to a framed picture (because I ran out of shelf space for that too).

Nothing quite illustrates the lengths we go to create any kind of space for our libraries like Sloane Crosley’s Virtues of Shelf-lessness, her recent NYT essay on her chosen method of storage: the moldings that frame the ceilings of her apartment. Last month’s author has created what she calls a “sentimental library” along the moldings, a system that catalogs titles based not only on the feeling they evoked upon the first reading, but also the location within the apartment that best matches it. For example: books that inspire are housed near the desk, while books that entertain and relax live above the couch (my question: what goes in the bathroom?).

However, most of us don’t have those desirable pre-war fixtures in our hobbit holes. So here, we share with you: our shelfies, in all their organized, chaotic, postmodern glory (you’ll understand at the end).





Like all things in my life, my bookshelf is organized chaos. I keep the books I’m reading and books I want to read next on my nightstand shelves. Once I’ve read a book, I move it to the living room bookshelves. There are a variety of genres on my bookshelf, and there is only one method of organization- squeeze all the books in until they fit.




Right after college I moved home with my parents, and there my books were mostly organized by when I read them (similar to what Sloane Crosley says in her article) but when I packed up my books to move into the city in 2015, I wanted them to look neater so I organized by color in my first apartment and it stuck! Right now color is the only organizing principle, but I keep a small stack of books that I’m currently reading or need to read in my room and off the shelves (these books shelves are in our common living room area.) Plus library books go on living room ottoman, and stacks of to-be-read New Yorkers are on the chairs near the book shelves, ha!! 




AM calls this work of art “No Frills, Just Adventures.” The cataloging method: “[a] loose width order, only because my OCD will not allow for a larger book to be above a smaller one.”




If there were ever a manifestation of my commitment issues, this would be it. Here is my beautiful, hypothetical shelfie. I shit you not, the tape has been there for 2 months and will stay there as I debate the placement of the shelves for another 6. 


[The books] live under my nightstand and in a cube thing in the hall. The cube is hard to photograph, so here is my nightstand. Big dreams to one day pull the damn trigger on my fear of permanence by way of drilling holes into my wall so that my books have a place to live.

I’ll give you one guess who among us is a professional photographer.


Sloane ends her essay by reflecting on her desire to inflict order on her “shelves.” Maybe she should organize her books alphabetically, or chronologically. Or maybe, she realizes, she already has everything she needs. I tend to agree with her. A lived-in “shelf” is far more personal than a curated, Instagrammable collection meant to impress a critic. Author Tahereh Mafi has said “I love walking into a bookstore. It’s like all my friends are sitting on shelves, waving their pages at me.” I’d to imagine that our books are friends, cozying up to each other to make room for that one book you just had to get from the $1 bin and shove onto the shelf. Because what are books, if not our most loyal companions?

Well, wine is up there too. But books are definitely in the top five. We’re not totally depraved.