Book Club Party Ideas
How you decorate for your book club depends a lot on what type of book you read. For a gothic novel, keep the lamps off and light a lot of candles instead. For a tear-jerker, decorate with tissue boxes, and for a crime thriller or mystery, place rope, knives, candlesticks, wrenches and other whodunit weapons peaking out from drawers and bookshelves — anywhere they'll be noticeable but not actually injure somebody.
And why not try decorating with books? Get books from the library by the author you're reading or biographies about that author. Not only will the books help set the mood, you can thumb through them to look for topics to help your discussion.
Most importantly, be sure you have enough chairs and pillows on hand to keep your guests comfortable — just because you're reading doesn't mean it has to feel like school.
Think about the type of club you'd like to be in. Small or large, structured or chatty, classics or new releases? Once you've decided how you want your club to function, invite people to join you. How many? Between four and eight usually works best, because there are enough people for a varied discussion, but not too many that your events are too disorganized or hard to schedule.
At your first meeting, take some time to discuss how you want the group to work. Some topics to discuss:
- Where to meet. Take turns meeting in one another's homes or select local restaurants and bookstores.
- How to pick books. Take turns selecting books or find a list of books online and just go down the list. Or, to keep things informal, ask members to bring book suggestions to each meeting and then decide as a group.
- How to discuss the book. Decide how much of the evening you want to devote to discussing the book. Some people may solely want to discuss the book while others are more interested in the social aspects of the group. You may also want to set ground rules for the discussions to keep spirited debates from turning into arguments.
When you're planning a book club meeting, you want to think about ways to enliven the conversation. If the book is a dud that leaves you little to discuss or debate, you can really save the evening if you plan ahead. Look online for discussion guides, and search for reviews of the book. When the conversation lulls, ask a question from the discussion guide or read aloud a review and ask if people agree or disagree.
Another way to bring the book to life is to ask the group which actors they envision in the main characters' roles. This sparks new topics and lets you see if your assessment of the characters matches the rest of the group's.
The food you choose to serve at your book club meetings depends on how much you want to spend and prepare, and whether there's a dominant theme in the book.
You can plan your menu around the setting and meals in the book, or if food isn't your priority, call for a pizza and get the eating out of the way so you don't have to talk with your mouth full.
Bookmaker's Luck (serves 1)
- 1 oz. vodka
- 1 oz. white rum
- (to taste) lime juice
- (to taste) orange juice
- (to taste) ginger ale
- 1/2 oz. crème de bananas
Pour vodka, rum, lime juice and orange juice into a cocktail shaker half-filled with ice cubes. Shake well; strain into a highball glass one-third-filled with ice cubes. Fill the glass with ginger ale, top with crème de bananas, stir once, and serve.