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,