This site is a blog for The Austin Athenaeum. We are a men’s reading group that meets monthly at some local Austin restaurant. Our venue has a bad habit of changing in the last few years due to forces of civic development, corporate greed, and the need of just the right combination of food, outdoor seating, and quietude.
And yes, we do mean men’s group. Years ago we wrestled with the question whether to allow women to attend. We decided that although there are many women of our acquaintance who are mentally, socially, intellectually and otherwise equal to our group, we would remain a men-only group.
Let the reason be attributed to our own frailty and selfishness rather than to any deficiency in the fairer sex. The stance is borne of a charitable disposition, honor, and the leftovers among some of an upbringing that inculcated respect for women. But we are selfish in that the sacred joie de vivre of our beloved meetings would be diminished in the hearts of many with the presence of women regardless of how doughty and erudite she might be.
We drink beer and sometimes whiskey, some smoke all forms of tobacco, most curse in the most ribald and sometimes unhinged language completely without inhibition. We recognize that it is the only context in our lives that we can do so over the topic of books, and there is near unanimity of opinion that the uniformity of sex is a leading catalyst in the unfettered fellowship we enjoy.
Finally, we have grown to a point that we are not able to welcome new members though this is not yet an official position. We do encourage the multiplication of reading groups in Austin and around the country, and to that end we provide a document describing our procedures that have been hammered out over the years until they have arrived at perfection. We also provide our reading list for others to draw ideas and inspiration. Please look in the left sidebar of this website.