Reading aloud with wine and good cheer S.F. (nondrinkers ok)http://www.meetup.com/Reading-aloud-with-wine-and-good-cheer-S-F-nondrinkers-ok/http://photos1.meetupstatic.com/photos/event/9/4/c/c/global_162698092.jpeg20120924
This is essentially a book club for people who hate homework. :^)
Well, not really, but that's part of the idea. The founding member loves reading aloud (and listening to others do the same), and that was the initial impetus. But he'd also been shopping around for a book club on Meetup and realized that if he joined one, he'd be so busy reading books others had chosen that he'd have no time to follow his own little idiosyncratic path through literature and what-have-you (something he strongly believes in doing).
At the same time, however, he enjoys being introduced to new books and writers, including those he might not be attracted to if left to his own devices. And he likes sharing ideas and impressions and hearing what others have to say about words and how they're put together and how they sing or slink or sashay or some other such thing that words like to do when properly enticed to do so.
Somehow all this swirled together, and he realized that starting a reading-aloud group would allow for such introductions, as well as such individual meanderings--plus the fun, community, and camaraderie engendered by getting all embarrassed and reading out loud in front of other people.
In fact, as regards the introduction-to-new-books-and-writers thing, this setup allows for more, since how it works is that people usually read a selection of about 10 minutes in length--so then, we're typically dealing with several different little packets of prose (or verse or drama) every meeting.
"Yes, Edward, yes: That all makes excellent sense! How very clever of you! But what about the wine?" "Yes, yes! We want to hear about the wine! <burp> Excuse us."
Well, as Zen teacher Alan Watts once said, wine is one of the few civilizing influences in Western culture. And who are we to argue with that? It's also a good way to loosen up and get past one's stage fright. (Which, btw, is really unnecessary, because this group welcomes everyone from the outrageously theatrical to the mildly bookish to the pathetically mouselike [we love mice, actually, they're quite charming and literary--ask Stuart Little]. We're also no snobs; you can read pretty much anything you like, as long as it's not entirely vapid [and you can sip anything you like too, as long as it's not Two-Buck Chuck].)
Anyway, that's about it, we suppose. Except, of course, for some appetite whetting, by way of this fine sentence from Marilynne Robinson's Housekeeping:
"Halves of two ceramic ducks were in full flight up the wall."