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.”


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.




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.)



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.





The Drinking Club with a Reading Problem Meets…and Decides We Want the Honest Truth

It was a weird week. The lunar blood moon eclipse was last night, the longest full blood moon we will see in our lifetime. Making this the longest week we will endure in our lifetime (hah, who are we kidding). Mercury also went into retrograde on the 26th. Translation: brace yourself for the extra crap the universe is about to throw our way, just for the heck of it.

Which is the perfect segue to the club’s latest read, Look Alive Out There. You may know Sloane Crosley from her first collection, I Was Told There’d Be Cake, an ode to twenty-somethings trying to hack it in the Big Apple. Or possibly her novel, The Clasp, about a hot mess love triangle that traipses across Europe in search of a necklace lost during the Nazi occupation of France that served as the inspiration for a famous short story. I enjoyed The Clasp; her protagonists are self absorbed and coming to terms with the unfulfilled dreams of their youth (they’re in their late twenties). But there is something so authentic about their messy and indulgent quarter life crises that you go along for the ride, and hope they come out the other side more self aware. And who doesn’t love a good mystery?

Pairs well with: Cabernet Sauvignon and meaningful discussions about why we will not date someone that chews with their mouth open.

But I digress. During our meeting last night, between bites of Trader Joes’ mushroom and truffle flatbread, we had our standard five minute discussion of our read. Our thoughts: we love Sloane’s voice. Her essay about Jared, the privileged high schooler from hell? Phenomenal. We’ve never related to a story more. We got lost in the middle of the collection, feeling as confused as she was in the chapter where she got altitude sickness in the mountains of Peru. But she got us back with her final essay. Her struggle to decide whether she wants, or is even cut out for, motherhood resonated with us. As a group of women in their mid-twenties, a decision like this feels foreign, a choice relegated to the realm of the real grownup. Sloane’s uncertainty leads to a revelation about what may make a good parent: a willingness to share your experiences with a tiny human and impart some of the wisdom you’ve gathered, so they can go out into the world armed with knowledge. If you can manage that, then you might be suited for it after all.

All this talk of nonexistent children led to a very interesting dialogue on relationships, covering everything from what’s everyone’s type, to whether we would want a friend to tell us if they didn’t like our significant other. Our answer: if we ask what you think of him, we want the truth. None of us want to go too far down a path only to discover that the people who know us best think there is someone more compatible out there.

What else is new with the club? How kind of you to ask:

  • We have two book related events on the calendar: books and brunch in Hoboken (stay tuned for more indie bookstore adventures), and movie night, where we each consume a (large) amount of wine while watching a terrible book-to-movie adaptation. Current nominees are Twilight and The Great Gatsby. Recommendations welcome.
  • DR is killing it at work, earning herself a promotion and additional awesomeness.
  • MM escaped attending San Diego Comic-Con to run her company’s activation, while yours truly spent the week inside the convention center selling books and trying not to get swept away by the crowds (I can’t complain though: there a few things better than a California sky and a warm sea breeze).
  • AM, after watching Kid Gorgeous seven times, may have a future as a John Mulaney impersonator.
  • DD is ready to help the singles mingle. And by that, I mean she wants to set us all up on blind dates with her single guys friends.

What else are we reading/watching/listening to:


Until next time,