Whenever it's my turn to host, I go into a complete panic, call the nice lady who cleans my house, and shine the silverware. It's because six of my dearest, most judgemental friends are coming for dinner!
OK, they aren't all that judgemental, but I still feel like I need a spotless house if they are coming for dinner.
We've been meeting once every six or so weeks for years, and it's about even more than the books - which are always worth the read.
Most of them are books that I would have totally missed and that I'm very glad to have read. I know more than most people about Russian military history, when the British left India, the Jamestown flood, Tudor England and the French Impressionists. We read Jane Mayer's Dark Money, an amazing primer on campaign financing. There are books set around the world, on every continent except, perhaps, Antarctica.
But it's not just ablout reading wonderful books might not make it to my own reading list. It's about the friendships. We've been through good times and bad, which here in DC is usually tied to whether or not our favorite politicians got elected. Then there's sickness and health - and I remember the group circling the wagons to help when I had my knee surgury. And richer and poorer fits in there too, though luckily it's been mostly richer.
At each meeting, the hostess serves the main dish, related (if possible) to the book. The rest of us bring similar appetizers, side dishes and dessert. We talk about the latest read and our latest festive gossip. And we can drink lots of wine because we all live within a block of each other and can walk home.
And wine, after all, makes us all so clever!