Annnd The Drinking Club Is Back

To drinking, that is. You may have thought, based on past content, that this was a book blog. Guess again.

It’s felt harder and harder to connect over our shared love of wit and a good cabernet sauvignon since the worst Friday the 13th on record. And honestly, it hasn’t felt right to go about our business here like The Drinking Club can still meet up in a crowded corner booth at The Lovelace and gripe about our latest read. More pressing matters need our attention. Examples: the cops who killed Breonna Taylor haven’t been arrested. People are pretending we’re still not living through a pandemic. Breonna Taylor’s killers still haven’t been arrested. The US election will likely be a cluster (read: will definitely be a cluster). Breonna Taylor’s killers haven’t been arrested.

You did not need me, a white English major, to pontificate on these issues. Go to the experts–they are the people whose work we need to be learning and unlearning from. You know what we also don’t need? Another joke about these “unprecedented times.” Or a joke about how we keep saying “unprecedented times.” If I see it in one more millennial newsletter, my eyes will roll and become permanently lodged in the back of my skull.

What have we been doing, then? Not meeting to discuss the merits of 21st century literature. We’ve been Zooming, working, sleeping. Drinking. We’ve caught up a few times, but it’s hard to maintain a conversation past 30 minutes when no one has done anything except walk from their desk to their bed to the kitchen table and back to their bed (that’s not entirely true. DR works in a hospital managing the crap out of our essential workers and deserves more than a gold star, but that’s all we’ve got). As The Drinking Club’s (faithful? deluded?) scribe, I feel adrift without the companionship and snark of these incredible ladies. Maybe we are unmoored without the promise of a killer happy hour on the horizon.

Since we haven’t read anything together since A Year of Magical Thinking (what a time to read that), I’ll share with you what books have been filling my socially-distanced life:

  • The Nightingale – this was purchased at last year’s Independent Bookstore Day, courtesy of AM’s recommendation. I completed it at 1am on a Monday in April because I could not physically put it down. Historical drama at its best.
  • Bringing Down The Duke – I spent a few delightful spring evenings swept up in this smart regency romance. What could be wrong with a book in a series called A League of Extraordinary Women?
  • A Court of Thorns and Roses series- I finally read these after high praise for years from dear friends of the Drinking Club and DD. This fantasy is enthralling, but I have one question: who read the first book and thought, we should totally market this to teenagers? I read parts of the second book, A Court of Mist and Fury, along the East River and thank god I had my mask on to hide my girlish blush.
  • Manhattan Beach – I know, I was supposed to read this last year. This story of three interconnected people, and their search to give their lives meaning and purpose, was compelling.
  • Party of Two – we’ve talked about Jasmine Guillory before, and in case it wasn’t clear, this is a Jasmine Guillory stan blog. I couldn’t work once I had started this book. If you’re not reading her work, I don’t know what you’re waiting for. They’re smart, they’re swoon-worthy, and you will want to be friends with all her protagonists. I loved this immensely.
  • Evvie Drake Starts Over – this is another DD recommendation, being the fastest and most dedicated reader among us. It was charming and a touch melancholy, and the happy-for-now ending I was looking for.
  • Just Mercy – this needs to be required reading for everyone. Bryan Stevenson documents the harm our criminal justice system and our society’s racial inequalities do to Black people, and in particular, his clients on Death Row. He does this by shining a light on the humanity of the people he has worked with, the humanity that racist people and policies attempted to take from them. My favorite line from the book was: “the death penalty is not about whether people deserve to die for the crimes they commit. The real question of capital punishment in this country is, Do we deserve to kill?”
  • The Wife – this crime thriller was twisty and turny and left me with so many questions. I need a sequel. This book also has one of my favorite crime fiction protagonists. We need more stories with Detective Corrine Duncan taking charge.
  • Beach Read – oh, what I wouldn’t give to move to North Bear Shores. Specifically, to the house next to Gus Everett’s. I’ve already told DD about this plan, and she approves.
  • To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before – this was the second book selected by my grad school book club (the first being Just Mercy). We’re really running the gamut here. But there are few things better than sweet high school romances and even sweeter sister relationships. Though there was a consensus amongst the group that Movie Peter is better than Book Peter. You can keep your opinions about this to yourself.

What’s next on my illustrious reading list, you might ask? I will tell you.

Did we also just skim over the fact that I’m cheating on The Drinking Club with my grad school book club? Yes, I did.

Right now, I’m a quarter of the way through Ninth House, and just started Riot Baby. Thus far, both are phenomenal. I’ve also been working my way through Me And White Supremacy. I know it will be the most important book I do.

As the weather cools and PSL achieves world domination, we’ll be back with some of our regularly scheduled programming and biting humor. We do hope everyone is taking care. We’re lifting our last glasses of summer rosé to you.

Until next time,

EV

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 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
    • DD says: I KNOW THIS IS ON YOUR BOOKSHELF AND I PROMISE NOW IS THE TIME. I LOVE IT SO MUCH. It’s great.
    • 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,

EV

The Happiest Hour – 2/21/20

We’re back after a brief hiatus. We had to pack all of our books, move them, and unpack them. In the process, we learned we cannot buy any more books, because we have no more space to shelve them. We also learned that this probably won’t stop us.

Here’s what you missed this week:

Cheers,

EV

The Happiest Hour – 1/31/20

Well, we made it to the end of the first month of the new decade. I honestly did not think I was going to survive last week after my Amtrak train was oversold. You know it’s bad when even the priests won’t give up their seats.

Here’s what you missed these past weeks:

  • Stuck finding your next read? This might help. (Forge)
  • Well, there goes my plan to color code my bookshelf. (Architectural Digest)
  • This article made me wonder how many Blairs and Serenas are roaming the halls of elementary schools across the country. (The Atlantic)
  • On a more serious note than we usually take over here: the publishing industry stepped in it again with their campaign for American Dirt. While the outcry around its publication will hopefully launch the overdue conversation we need to have about diversity in publishing, check out these 17 books by Latinx writers you can read if you want to learn about life along the US Border. I once had the privilege of manning a registration table outside of a room where Luis Alberto Urrea was speaking, and the reaction from people as they exited the lecture was pure transcendence. Let’s give these writers the recognition they deserve. (Texas Observer)

 

Cheers,

EV