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 Did Not Order Their Feminist Dystopias With A Side Of PDA, Thank You Very Much

We did this to ourselves. I really have no right complaining to you about it. Like that will stop me.

Let’s set the scene: it’s a brisk fall evening in the city that never sleeps. The club ventures down to the Lower East Side (LES for all the NYU snobs out there) for our latest gathering. The bar is tucked away on a quiet section of Rivington St, away from the bustle of the Bowery. Down the uneven concrete steps we walk into the den of our dreams. Small wooden tables line one brick wall, while sunken leather sofas, Edison bulbs, and built-in wine cabinets complete a warm and inviting space that I would dare HGTV to top. I believe one club member even called this place her wet dream (for obvious reasons, I won’t disclose who it was. We don’t know each other that well yet).

We should have realized that, given the pheromones released by staring at exposed brick, it would be the perfect date night spot. We know of at least three couples who ended their night tangled in bedsheets with their amour. And we full-heartedly support their endeavors. Cuffing season is upon us; you gotta nail it down soon before flight prices go up. We just really don’t need to see you dry humping while we enjoy our charcuterie board.

Pro tip: two bottles of wine does not make them go away. It does make you drunk (why does your alcohol tolerance disappear after 25? Shouldn’t it improve with age?). What actually makes you forget about the girl with the pink dye job sucking her boyfriend’s face off: stories about electrifying women (literally) setting the world on fire. I’m obviously talking about our latest pick, The Power by Naomi Alderman. You may have seen it as the speculative fiction title on the NYT’s Top Ten Books of 2017, or Margaret Atwood’s knock-your-socks-off endorsed read. Or on Obama’s reading list. Regardless, if you haven’t heard about it, it is our privilege to tell you to stop what you’re doing and go to the nearest library or bookstore.



The premise: in a present almost identical to our own, young women wake up one morning with an immense electric power coursing through their veins. This power has the ability to weaken any man, and much worse. It doesn’t take a huge stretch of the imagination to figure out how the world reacts: it loses its shit. What does happen is unusual: women fight back, and they win. They channel their strength to topple the patriarchy and install a new world order. Told through multiple perspectives (female and male), Alderman presents a matriarchy that is awe-inspiring and terrifying. It gives the reader pause. If women were given the opportunity to dismantle the system, would they create a world founded on fairness and equality, or would some use their power to suppress? Through the journeys of each character, she demonstrates how power corrupts, and how the well-intentioned allow themselves to be swallowed up in the same cycles of abuse.

Like I said, nothing kills libido quite like a story about women burning it all to the ground for funsies (this is not Beyonce’s version of girl power). But, in today’s endless news cycle of hate and fury, it’s important for us to understand what power is, and what it can do to us if left unchecked.

If you’re looking for further reading, check out this enlightening interview with the author. And if you learned anything from our last meeting, it’s this: never go to a wine bar that has couches. You now know what happens on them.