With each passing day we are getting closer and closer to hosting our Book du Mois Meeting in The Whisper Room! As soon as it is safe to do so, we will be opening our doors to you, but until then, we will continue cozying up at home with a drink and meeting via Zoom. Here's the scoop on our April, May, and June Book du Mois picks, and stay tuned for announcements about the Candle and Cocktail du Mois!
In April, we will explore Matt Haig's The Midnight Library. In this bestselling literary fiction novel, there exists a library that contains within its volumes all of your possible realities. This library can tell you what would have happened if you had gone to a different college, had not broken up with that old lover, or had the pancakes instead of the waffles for breakfast. Would you visit the library and get lost in its tomes? What if you could return to your reality after having researched all of your best possible outcomes, would you make different decisions? Nora, the protagonist of The Midnight Library, faces these questions, and we can't wait to see what decisions shape her life! We will meet to discuss The Midnight Library on Saturday, April 24 at 11am.
Content Warnings: suicide, cancer, death, drugs, alcohol, depression
In June, we will experience Ocean Vuong’s seemingly autobiographical novel, On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous. Vuong’s protagonist, Little Dog, writes a letter to his mother, who cannot read or speak English, describing the events of his life with both compassion and brutal honestly. Vuong explores the realities of race, class, and masculinity as Little Dog struggles with domestic violence, drug abuse, and the inter-generational trauma of the Vietnam War. This coming of age novel reveals the power and joy of telling one’s own story, and is also a part of our Pride Month reading list that is coming soon. We will meet to discuss On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous on Saturday, June 26 at 11am.
Content Warning: domestic abuse, drug addiction, homophobia, mental illness, violence, and depictions of war
Join us on Saturday, February 28, at 11 am via Zoom for a delicious discussion of The Office of Historical Corrections by Danielle Evans. Although it is completely free, registration is required (check out the button below to register). The Office of Historical Corrections is a collection of short stories exploring human relationships and how the past haunts our present. We cannot wait until we can open up our Whisper Room doors, but until then our resident bartender, Alexis, has shared her perfect Cocktail du Mois that you all can make at home and sip with us! So check out the recipe, grab a copy of The Office of Historical Corrections in store or at either of the links below, and we can't wait to see you all on Saturday Feb 28!
Rêves De Chèvrefeuille (Honeysuckle Dreams)
1 Shot of Bayou Satsuma Rum, 1 oz St. Germain, 1 oz honey syrup, 1 oz lime juice, shaken and pour into martini glass, garnished with lime slice and half sugar rim.
It’s winter and what feels better after a long week of work, or a long week of not working, than cozying up with a good read and a delicious cocktail? The Office of Historical Corrections, gave us sweet, citrusy vibes and we’re running with it!
With winter’s surplus of citrus, and delicious satsumas growing in my entire neighborhood’s backyards, we were inspired to bring this month’s book flavors to life. What’s in this winter’s elixir? You have locally made (and absolutely delicious) Bayou Satsuma Rum, the iconic elderflower liqueur — St. Germain, fresh squeezed lime juice, and a dash of sweet, golden nectar otherwise known as honey. Give that a good shake with ice, pour into your most extravagant martini or coupe glass and viola! If you really want to take it to the next level, or you just enjoy being fancy, give your showy glass a sugar rim, and top your cocktail off with a slice of lime.
Bayou Satsuma Rum is the perfect base for a delicious, soul-warming cocktail. It adds a faintly sweet citrus to the creamy vanilla of Bayou’ silver rum. St. Germain brings the elegance. It’s pleasantly floral and sweet without being too sugary. Fresh squeezed lime juice, key words — fresh squeezed, gives the tartness any good cocktail deserves, and pairs beautifully with the honey syrup! Honey, in my humble opinion, is the best of the sweeteners! Mix equal parts honey and hot water, stir, and let it sit. Now you have yourself the perfect last touch for the Rêves De Chèvrefeuille!
This drink is perfect for that friend who “really wants to get into Rum but hasn’t found THE drink that turns them,” for that winter gathering you’re planning to host, or if you’re just looking for the cocktail that satisfies every inch of your pallet. This is the one! Try Honeysuckle Dreams and you’ll be dreaming about it for weeks!
Before the Ever After by Jacqueline Woodson
ZJ’s dad isn’t just ZJ’s hero, he’s everyone’s hero. As a professional football player, Zachariah Johnson is the star of the team, and at home, he’s the star of the neighborhood. ZJ and all of his friends love to hang out with Zachariah until one day, ZJ’s dad stops remembering things, like his own son’s name. He also becomes angry all the time and has headaches that keep him in bed all day. ZJ’s mom says his dad is sick because he hit his head so much playing football, but it is hard for ZJ to fully understand how his favorite sport, the one that made his dad so happy, could have caused this complete personality change.
Taking place in the early 2000’s when CTE (chronic traumatic encephalopathy) was first acknowledged and researched, Before the Ever After shows the impacts of the professional football on the physical and mental health of a young black family. The story is told in verse and explores ZJ’s observations and feelings about how CTE has changed his family’s life. ZJ longs to go back to before his dad’s headaches, and creates several coping mechanisms to deal with his quasi-loss of a father. This book is heart-wrenching but beautiful as ZJ finds his new normal, relying on his friends that stick around even after his dad’s health declines.
I would recommend this book to all young readers and their parents. The book’s predominant theme is grief and coping, and may be a helpful tool for children experiencing a form of grief in their own lives. The story is filled with immeasurable love alongside the family’s hardships. Jacqueline Woodson was recently awarded the 2021 Coretta Scott King Book Award, and signed copies of Before the Ever After are currently in stock.
Special Thanks to Libro.fm for allowing me to listen to a free copy of Before the Ever After.
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Jefferson Street Journal is Beausoleil Books's online blog for book reviews, news, and more!