Rutgers Book Club gets a seat at the Algonquin round table

stack of booksSeven members of the Rutgers Book Club of NYC got together on December 4, 2007 for a holiday party at the Algonquin Hotel.

Men in livery held open doors. A team of maitre d’s hurried to oblige us in a search for a table — even though we had no seat reservations. The plush red decor summoned up an elegant ambiance from the days when Dorothy Parker and Robert Benchley — two Algonquin Roundtable wits — used to hang out here and talk about books.

Toward the end of the evening, we exchanged the books we’d brought along as gifts. Here’s a list of the night’s winnings:

Point of No Return by John Marquand

Naked by David Sedaris

The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

Maximum City: Bombay Lost and Found by Suketa Mehta

Writing New York: A Literary Anthology by Phillip Lopate

The Slave by Isaac Bashevis Singer

The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffeneger

Several people also made book recommendations:

Random Family: Love, Drugs, Trouble and Coming of Age in the Bronx by Adrian Nicole LeBlanc.

The Perfect Storm: A True Story of Men Against the Sea by Sebastian Junger.

Five Finger Discount: A Crooked Family History by Helene Stapinski

The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz

Before setting off for our separate destinations, we settled on a reading theme for 2008: The classics; that is, books we want to reread or wish we had read in the first place.  As usual, our theme is loosely defined and open to capricious forays into whatever happens to suit us.

To be read for our January 16, 2008 meeting: The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway.

Thank you to these book club members for creating a lovely night out in Manhattan:

Donald Cassidy, Hugh Evans, Jennifer Cashman, Linda Sayre, Sharon Eliran, Stefanie Rudnicki and Barbara Finkelstein.

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