Reading Circle

I belong to a number of different groups, but the oldest one1 is the Ladies Social and Literary Society, more commonly referred to as the “Reading Circle”2.  This organization was started in 1876, just 26 years after Pella was settled3.  It was founded4 by a group of ladies who were already intelligent readers5, despite the hardships6 of living in a developing7 rural area, and who wanted to promote intellectual endeavors8, particularly reading. 


At first the group was very informally organized9, but in 1884 the members wrote and approved10 a constitution11.  This document12 has been and still remains the guide13 for the organization for more than a century.  According to this constitution, the goals of the Reading Circle are (1) to pursue a systematic course of reading14, (2) to discuss domestic and foreign subjects15, and (3) to promote sociability16 and friendship.  I believe those to be very worthwhile goals17, so when I was invited to join the group about fifteen years ago, I was happy to accept the invitation and become a part of the organization18.


Each year our reading is organized around a theme19.  This past year it was “Treasuring20 our Natural Heritage21: Understanding our Environment22.  We take turns23 being responsible24 for the discussion of the book chosen for that month.  In March I was responsible for the discussion of the book AN INCONVENIENT TRUTH25 by Al Gore.  I think that it is an excellent book since it discusses the reality26 of global warming27.  Since Don is interested in the discussion of global warming and had also read the book (in fact, we read it out loud together), I invited him to be a co-presenter28.  We found the ladies quite interested in discussing the subject, and we all believe it is a serious problem for planet Earth.


Other years we have had such themes as “The U.S. Constitution” and “Literature of the Western U.S.”  I am on the committee to decide what next year’s theme will be, but as yet we haven’t met to decide, so I don’t know what it will be.  I’m sure we’ll find something interesting though.


We meet in the homes of the individual members.  Our meeting time is the third Friday afternoon of the month, at 2:00.  We have our program first and then simple refreshments with tea or coffee afterwards.  It is always a pleasant and worthwhile29 occasion, and I am proud to belong to such an organization that has promoted30 reading for over 150 years. 



1. the oldest one: the organization that has been in existence the longest.

2. reading circle: a group of friends getting together to read (读书圈子).

3. Pella was settled: Pella became a new colony or residence (成为新的居住地).

4. founded: formed or set up for a given purpose (建立).

5. intelligent readers: individuals who enjoy reading good books (擅长读书者).

6. hardships: difficulties encountered while doing something (艰辛).

7. developing: in the process of growing or maturing; becoming organized (发展中的).

8. endeavors:努力

9. At first the group was very informally organized: 原先这是一个非正规的团体。

10 approved: agreed upon (同意、赞成).

11. constitution: 章程、规章制度

12. document:文件

13. guide:指导思想

14. systematic course of reading: a specific plan of reading (系统的阅读计划).

15. domestic and foreign subjects: 国内外的话题

16. sociability: ability to get along well with other people (社交能力).

17. goals: the end towards which aims or intentions are directed (目标).

18. organization: a group formed for a specific purpose (组织).

19. theme: subject or topic for discussion or focus (主题).

20. Treasuring: considering as valuable or important (珍惜、珍贵).

21. National Heritage: 民族遗产.

22. Environment:环境

23. take turns: 轮流

24. being responsible: 负责

25. An Inconvenient Truth: a book about global warming by Al Gore.

26. reality:现实

27. global warming: world-wide tendency for the temperature to rise (全球变暖).

28. co-presenter: person who assists in making a presentation.

29. worthwhile: valuable (值得的).

30. promoted: 推动、促进

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