The Literati. The very name conjures up images of medieval secret
societies; a group of genius minds cloaked in heavy hooded robes,
meeting in the depths of a dark forest, greeting each other with secret
handshakes and aliases, joining together in ominous chants around a
circle lit with torches. Clearly this assembly is gathered for nefarious
But it is not. Far from it. Although the group members are brilliant in
their own right, they’re here for a different reason: to experience
the Chosen Book as never before! The Literati is Vista Grande
Library’s adult book club. It is hosted by the . . . oh, what’s
the word? . . .quirky, zany, flat-out-nuts Adult Services Librarian.
That’d be me, Miss Davis, at your service.
The Literati is a new way to experience the written word. It absorbs
the reader in the book setting, a little thing I like to call
“ambiance.” Our designated space is literally transformed from a
basic community room to such places like the White House parlor during
the term of Dolly Madison, an art gallery, or the dining cabin of the
Titanic. The food (and there is always food) runs the gamut of civil war
era rations (hardtack, dried meat, even “maggots” in the form of
gummy worms) to a five course mini-meal reminiscent of the last meal on
the Titanic. The theatrics don’t end there! I am usually in costume or
some inspired ensemble: Edwardian, ball gown, somber Civil War era
attire, or what have you.
The Literati members will tell you one of the best parts of the
meetings are the “activities;” the masquerades, the singers, the
musicians, the soldiers, the author Skype, the games, and the crafts!
Well, not the craft. Never the pumpkin craft. The activities are dually
educational and entertaining. So far performers, speakers, and Skype are
the crowd favorites.
Oh, yes, and then there is the Discussion. It sounds foreboding, but it
really isn’t. It is cerebral, introspective, thought-provoking, and
anecdotal, peppered with random tangents and witty banter. I usually ask
a “Round Question” to close the discussion. We go around to each
person in the circle to answer the inquiry. Usually the poor sucker to
my left is the first to be put on the spot. With twenty or more people
at each meeting, answers can get really interesting.
And that’s not all! Don’t ya want to hear what’s next?! The
Literati Season Premiere is coming up! Our second season’s theme is.
. . Around the World in Eight Months. We’ll be visiting different
countries throughout our literary journey. Don’t think I haven’t
played up the “traveling” sub-theme. There are a few small prizes in
store this year. The premiere takes place in Japan! We’ll be reading
Cloud of Sparrows by Takashi Matsuoka set during the waning era of
the Samurai, when the great gates are open to the West. The last Lord of
his clan and his geisha welcome three Christian missionaries and get
embroiled in a plot to overthrow the leader. The group flees the
imperial assassins to seek refuge in a distant palace known only as the
Cloud of Sparrows.
Naturally, Japanese ambiance will pervade the library community room
including music and sushi. A speaker on Japanese culture will also
perform a sword demonstration. I will be in Japanese-inspired outfit
replete with geisha make-up. In partnership with the Casa Grande Valley
Historical Society, each Literati meeting will have a traveling exhibit,
curated specially for the Literati’s selected book. The exhibits will
tie in an aspect of the book to Arizona and/or Casa Grande.
Sign-up begins August 1st and book copies are limited! It is FREE to
participate. It just doesn’t get any more affordable than this. The
hotly anticipated Premiere spectacular will fling open its doors on
Wednesday, September 3rd at 11:30 am at the Vista Grande Library. Email
me at email@example.com for more information.
Miss Dee Dee Davis
Adult Services Librarian