While I look forward to nearly every aspect of summer — sunny weather, sunnier attitudes, weekly swim meets, baseball, my birthday — summertime also means my Monday lunch schedule clears, and that has me already looking forward to fall.
Since 2006, at least two Mondays a month from September to May (barring magazine deadline conflicts), I’ve attended lunch meetings of the Social Literary Circle. Founded on Nov. 4, 1901, Social Literary Circle now has 19 members on the roll. Our longest-term current member, Susan Enlow, who joined in 1963, practically grew up in the circle as her mother, too, was a member. Our hand-made annual directory, featuring the circle’s flower, the purple violet, lists 54 members in remembrance.
When I was invited to join the literary circle, by a lovely and gracious member, Virginia “Ginny” Schroeder, I eagerly accepted. Though I was the child who competed every summer for the reading award given by the Evansville Vanderburgh Public Library — the Golden Apple — I had never before been a member of a book club.
With more than 100 years of tradition, the Social Literary Club keeps its rules simple. Unlike most book clubs, members do not read and discuss the same book. Rather, each meeting is organized by a hostess and a program presenter. The hostess hosts the every-other-Monday meeting; the member with the program introduces and discusses the book she has read. Traditionally, members choose non-fiction books of significant historic, cultural, or biographic context.
Each member gives careful thought to the book she’ll present and the menu she’ll serve. The club’s requirements of hosting and presenting are not concurrent. While I sign up to host and present on the same meeting day, other members prefer to keep the duties apart — prepare a book report for one meeting and polish the silver for another.