My main bookclub operates like a diverse democracy: each month, one person is selected to own the picks and theme, sends out a poll with 5 book options, and decides the restaurant or bar that is on theme with whatever their heart desires. Some favorite themes (all resulting in long nights of bar hopping after, SO DREAMY): 'Ladies of Comedy' where we read Amy Schumer's memoir + a night at Comedy Cellar, a Valentine's Day edition of Love Wins: The Lovers and Lawyers Who Fought the Landmark Case for Marriage Equality + a swap of Valentine's day gifts, and the reading A Long Way Home (or the movie Lion, for those of you stragglers) + a very eccentric tiny Indian family-style restaurant for eats (and shouting over the music about the book). Last month was a neat-o one, with Canadian themed authors which is how we wound up reading short stories for the first time as a group with Alice Munro's Dear Life. Short story collections + math books might be the only books in the world I don't read, but this one is pretty critically acclaimed (we debated several times on if it actually deserved a Nobel Prize- hint, it was disliked by most of the group) but I actually was really into it!
The 12 or so short stories follow the intricate and mundane day-to-day lives of women all around Lake Huron throughout several decades. There were about 6 stories that I really loved and didn't want to end, but also an equal amount that I wanted so badly to skip over. The first 6 however, were my favorite- so if you rent it from the library and don't get through it all- you might not be missing much. BUT, it turned me into a short story craving reader- so it's totally worth something. Being able to cram so much vivid detail + narrative into 30 pages is a beautiful thang that I haven't really appreciated until this point.
It took me a few weeks to finish this read which is tragically annoying at the rate I buzz through stuff, but I spent a long rainy afternoon at the cafe that just opened below my apartment finishing up the last pages (after the bookclub had already passed, OOPS) and super suggest swinging by Sheila's in Carroll Gardens for a stretched out solo coffee reading day. They have amazing pastries (I got some concoction of a pepper rosemary scone) and a great latte which I consumed sooner that I could even pause for a picture of.
Why is this post so vague and indecisive? I would never post about something I wouldn't want to push onto you. Read Dear Life if you like short stories + narratives about how woman are ACTUALLY REAL AND COMPLEX PEOPLE, head to Sheila's if you need to stretch your legs at a trendy spot. Brooklyn is getting so anti-coffee-and-chill/work, I am glad this spot opened in the hood.