In March of 2007, local author Daniel Hughes was invited to join The Thirteen, a literary club that meets for dinner and discussion 13 times per year. He has compiled 10 years worth of the stories he wrote for the group into a new book Dinner Stories.
The requirements of membership, Hughes says in his book, were fairly light. Members were expected to write a paper, preferably an interesting one, each year, and to host a dinner. Additionally, at one of The Thirteen dinners over the course of the season, each member would be expected to either opine on a current event or review a recent book they had read.
Hughes has compiled these essays and publishes them, warts and all, as he wrote them for the group.
“As I prepared to pull the 10-year trail of papers into a book, I started to edit, refine, and maybe even improve each one. However, over time, I rationalized that it might even be better, and would certainly be easier, to add some pictures and, flaws and all, let each paper become a chapter just as it was delivered,” Hughes said.
Each chapter in the book is devoted to each of the 10 papers Hughes authored. Hughes said that what he found interesting in researching the topics of his essays was the surprising connections between events and historical figures. He also said he enjoys the opportunity of sharing with an audience, and now his readers, the lives of influnential but largely unrecognized figures in American history.
“I’ve not met many people who were familiar with Dr. Jane Wright and Gen. John Glover, who were subjects of two of my essays. Dr. Wright was an African-American female who was instrumental in the formative years of chemotherapy in the 1940’s and 1950’s. Glover was an incredible leader who shunned the spotlight, but nevertheless was instrumental throughout the Revolutionary War. Getting the chance to talk about these incredible people and share their stories is a great pleasure. I have always enjoyed stories in which people have struggled against tremendous odds and prevailed. Ultimately, this book is intended to convey what I think are some interesting and inspiring lives. It can be read anywhere, but it may be best read after dinner.
Hughes book, Dinner Stories is available on Amazon.com for $11.95.