For the same theme, Elaine Chiles reviewed "The Rainbow People of God" by Desmond Tutu, which she cited as her favorite book since she joined the club in 1997. "I had to put it down sometimes, it was so powerful. It wasn't an easy read, it was very emotional for me."
For this year's theme, women of color in America, Chiles selected a biography of Maria Stewart. "History hasn't done her justice," said Chiles, in recapping the story of an orphaned 5-year-old black girl in the 1820s in New England.
Placed into servitude, Stewart managed to learn to read and to write, eventually becoming a political writer.
For her review, Chiles dressed like a woman in the early 19th century -- in layers -- with a hat and lantern as props and delivered an hour-long presentation. "I took my character a little too seriously," said Chiles, smiling.
The group reads nearly all nonfiction, but it hasn't always been that way. Among the books chosen for its inaugural year theme, the modern English and American novel, were "Fascinating Stranger" by Booth Tarkington and "One of Ours" by Willa Cather.
Ten years later, for the theme current thought, the ladies heard reviews on "The Good Earth" by Pearl Buck and "Death Takes a Holiday" by Walker Ferris.
It wasn't until the 1935-36 season that the group specially focused on the Negro in American literature with reviews on Negro poetry, folk songs and spirituals. They gave reviews of fiction by Rudolph Fischer, W.E.B. DuBois and Jessie Fuset and the young poet Langston Hughes.
Always the linguist, Holt jotted down some of her thoughts about the Book Lovers Club of Charleston. "A dominate-shaping force in my life ... I know not where else I would be so immersed in so many-thought information ... We have traveled the world ... We have done it all through books," she noted.
The group shares its love of books each year by buying and donating books to children in several classrooms at Bridgeview and Watts elementary schools.
Related story: Book club speaker is longtime civil-rights activist
Reach Rosalie Earle at ea...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5115.