She’s small, with short black hair and a way with an F-bomb. “The women in my group were wonderful, but it’s not like it’s some big [expletive] secret.” She rattles off the way book clubs work: “You read the book and you go to the meeting and you hope someone likes it and someone else doesn’t, so you can have a debate. But that’s a lot of investment! We’re all really busy!”
And meanwhile, other reading material was piling up. “It’s pretty common that someone brings up an article from the New Yorker, and the response is aw, damn, that’s sitting on my nightstand,” she says.
It was in 2009, Meyers remembers, that she complained to her friend Andrea Evers that someone ought to organize a New Yorker club. So Andrea did. The first meeting of the New Yorker Group was at Andrea’s house. The women ate couscous and discussed an article about Aderall and other “neuro-enhancing” drugs — a topic of particular interest to the kind of overbooked and overworked women who schedule a get-together to make themselves read the magazine they wish they were reading already.
Since then, the group has met every month (or so), discussing two articles (or so), talking for two hours (or so). The guest list has fluctuated, but a few things remain constant: Salad from Linn, good wine and and the heady pleasure of brainy conversation with clever friends. And, of course, the never-ending flow of New Yorkers, arriving in the mailbox each week like clockwork.
“I don’t want to talk about the people of Sri Lanka while I’m eating,” Andrea says.
“Oh, they can’t hear,” replies graphic designer Kelli Quinn, sitting across the table.
She and Andrea met four years ago at a dog park. Five women have joined them at Andrea’s house in Kalorama Triangle. On the agenda tonight are Jon Lee Anderson’s reporting from the Sri Lankan civil war and Peter Hessler’s profile of a Peace Corps fundraiser. “And, yes, I know the Scientology article was really good,” Andrea e-mailed beforehand, “so we can talk about it for a minute. A MINUTE.”
In the warmly lighted dining room, the seven sip wine and eat bake-your-own pizza and arugula salad, surrounded by the kind of big, bold contemporary art that Andrea, a real-estate agent, presumably demands her staging clients remove from their own walls.
“God love him, he’s got so much energy,” says Andrea about ambitious young Peace Corps advocate Rajeev Goyal. “I would never be able to put that much of my energy into something like that.” She’s the de facto leader of the discussion — in part because it’s her house, but also because her Realtor’s distaste for space left empty extends to conversations.
“That’s because we all know what the real world is like,” says Kelly Vrana, a recruiter for a federal contractor. “We’re too experienced.” She flips through her copy of the magazine, one of many scattered around the table.