Pink Fire Pointer High Tea and Books at the Peninsula Hotel

High Tea and Books at the Peninsula Hotel

"There are few hours in life more agreeable than the hour dedicated to the ceremony known as afternoon tea" -- Henry James


I love going to high tea during the holiday season.  The Peninsula Hotel in Beverly Hills has a great one.  The hotel is decked out in its holiday finery and tea is served in the "Living Room." My book club goes there for tea every December to celebrate the holidays, and so our libations are combined with lively conversation of every sort, but mainly about the books we read the previous year.  It's always a festive occasion.  We dress up; the harpist is playing; we start with champagne and strawberries, and everyone is in a heightened state of happiness.

Book clubs are truly a phenomenon at this point.  Almost everyone I know is in one, some have a leader or facilitator, others do it on their own.  I have been a member of a book group ever since studying English literature at UCLA.  I just couldn't give up talking about books.
This group was formed by myself and my friend Caren, out of a group of women at my daughters' school who wanted to meet on a regular basis to talk about books.  This is a dynamic group of women who love to read.  We have been meeting for 16 years.  Each month someone chooses a book and comes to the meeting prepared with discussion topics and background material on the author.  We read classic and contemporary fiction, as well as biographies, memoirs, and other non-fiction.

This year we read an eclectic group of books.  Here is our list:

The Lacuna by Barbara Kingsolver
The Help by Kathryn Stockett
Sentimental Education by Gustave Flaubert
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society by Mary Ann Schaffer and Annie Barrows
Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel
Tattoos on the Heart by Greg Boyle
The Chamber by John Grisham
This is Where I Leave You by Jonathan Tropper
Let the Great World Spin by Colum McCann 

I am always so impressed by our reading list when I see the it each year.

At our December tea we vote on our favorite book of the year. This year the winner was "The Help."  I  liked that one,  though my favorites were "The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society,"  "Let the Great World Spin," and "Wolf Hall."  



For our December selection we tried something new this year.  Each member read a book of her own choosing, and then told the group about it, in the hopes of inspiring everyone with some new book choices for the upcoming year.   We all gave a little review of the book we read, and there were two that I was most intrigued with and would like to read: Cleopatra by Stacy Schiff
The Red and the Black by Stendahl.  


I would love to hear what your book club read this year, your favorite book, and what your group does to celebrate the holidays.