Next Meetup

We will discuss Biographies again. See below for alternative book titles.
For discussion at this meeting, we have chosen the following alternative books: 1 - American Lion: Andrew Jackson in the White House, by Jon Meacham. This book won the Pulitzer Prize in 2009 and is about our seventh president. According to a review, Jackson was a "rip-roaring two-fisted man of the people, duelist, passionate lover, gambler and war hero, . . . also a prime creator of the presidency. . . ." This should be a good book about an interesting time in our history. The author reportedly "makes the historian's case with wit and scholarship. . . but [also with] the novelist's [way] of enthralling the general reader. . . " 2 - John Adams, by David McCullough. This book also won a Pulitzer Prize, among many other awards. Reviews show that the book is "history on a grand scale . . . about politics. . . war. . . social issues. . . human nature. . . love, etc. and the far reaching consequences of noble ideas. Reading this book, we are bound to get in a little women's history, because John Adams' wife Abigail had strong ideas that women should not be left out of important political decisions. 3 - The Plantagenets: The Warrior Kings and Queens Who Made England, by Dan Jones, is a New York Times Bestseller called "A real-life Game of Thrones . . . Fast-paced and accessible." It's action-packed narrative history about the dynasty that preceded the Tudors. This should also be a good and readable book for those of us who might be interested. 4 - We will continue with and finish discussing Grant, by Ron Chernow, apparently quite a compelling book according to the portion we covered in our meeting on July 9th. It's a long one, so we divided it into two sessions. Hope to see you at the meeting! I'd like to encourage participants to bring questions about issues you come across in the book(s) you read or questions about thoughts you might have as you read the book, to ask of the group that will generate discussion - as many questions as you can think up. That way our book discussions might become more than a reporting of what we've read. We might try this and see how it goes.

Mercato Ristorante

111 Market Street Northeast · Olympia, WA

What we're about

For anyone who likes or wants to read nonfiction books. We have three ongoing groups: General nonfiction, World War II, and Art History. Full participation is invited and decisions are made as a group. The groups are described below:

General Nonfiction:

This group normally meets about once a month for dinner beginning at 6:00 p.m. at a restaurant in Tumwater/Olympia/Lacey area. We have a theme and book list - already prepared - for the calendar year, from which we use to select our books. Our themes for 2018 include: Memoirs, Legal and Social Justice, World History-Vietnam, Current Affairs and Economics, Medicine and Health, Culture (Art, Music, Sports, etc.), American History, Environment and Science, Philosophy and Religion, World History - Russia. Changes or additions can be made during the year. We normally select about three books, from which we each can choose to read one or more books. Our meetings last until nearly 9:00 p.m. We have around 8-10 people coming to this group on a regular basis.

World War II Group:

The World War II subgroup meets about once a month for dinner at a restaurant in the Tumwater/ Olympia/ Lacey area. We normally choose one book to read for the month, but sometimes more. Tentative themes for 2018, from which we will probably choose books include: Poland, China, Women, Jews and the Holocaust, German Military Leaders, Japanese, America in WWII, Hitler biography, European War and Battles, After-Effects of WWII (Vietnam), The Bomb, and American Military Leaders. Over 60 million people died in WWII, and we've realized the effects for over 70 years. Absolutely everyone should become acquainted with what it was all about. For those who are simply uninterested in reading about a war, we read much more than just about battles (at least whenever I can convince the men to read about other things). We read about people, how military and political decisions are made, the effect of the war on the world, what occurred after the war to protect us from ever having another one like it. WWII covers a lot of territory, literally and figuratively. If you haven't already studied the topic, I'm sure that over time, you would find the reading worthwhile and enlightening. I've found studying this topic truly exciting. Our meetings last until around 8:30 p.m. We usually have 5-8 coming to this group on a regular basis, but we have had around 10 at times.

Art History Group:

Our newest subgroup, the Art History subgroup grew out of the theme of Art that we had in February of 2017. We normally meet about once a month for dinner at a restaurant in the Olympia/Lacey/Tumwater area at 6:00 p.m. We plan a book from month to month on a theme relating to art history or an artist. Those of us who are participating in this group love it and are learning a lot over time. Art museums become more interesting and we are becoming much more knowledgeable about art in general and it's meaning in society. The combined knowledge and contributions of people in the group add a great deal to the fun. We always could use more members in the other groups, but we especially would like more in this group. We've been down to three, but it would be nice to have five or more members in this group.

What I-5 Intellectuals is doing for those of us who are committed to it is motivating us to keep up our reading and by discussing the books, it expands our comprehension and appreciation of what we read. I think the reading becomes more "guided" than if we were just reading on our own. By working with other people, we also get ideas from them for books, and through that, we have been introduced to interesting subjects that we might not have otherwise known about or would read about, and which leads us to further reading. So while expanding our interests, the group process improves our abilities to read more widely and to sometimes tackle more difficult books, which makes even more reading material available to us. Regardless, it is an avenue for enriching one's life.

Feel free to join us at one of our meetings. To do that, RSVP to a group meeting when you notice it posted. You may email me at or call me at (360)705-4025 for more information.

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