Reading books can be a great form of escapism, allowing the reader to become immersed in another world. While reading is often a solitary hobby, it can be much more fun when you get some of your closest friends together – and even make some new ones – to form a book club. With a common interest, fresh perspectives, healthy debates – and maybe a little wine – book club can be an event you and your guests will look forward to every month. When it’s your month to host, Frontgate is here to help elevate the experience and begin a new chapter in your book club.
What Type of Book Club Do You Have?
There are said to be two types of book club members: the academics and the socials. While both share a love of books, academics thrive on the pensive discussions and expect most of the time be spent on topic. Socials, on the other hand are there for a fun time. They use book club as a time to catch up with members, eat, drink, be merry – and, of course, reflect on the chosen book. As the host, it is important to acknowledge your group’s intent so you can plan the meeting accordingly.
Map Out the Plan
If academic, outline the course of discussion and come prepared with a road map of talking points. Maybe you assign each member a topic to keep conversation flowing or leave the floor open to whoever wishes to chime in. This will be appreciated by those who want to stay on topic. To keep the environment open, engaging and comfortable, be sure to make the gathering area somewhere intimate such as on a sofa around a coffee table. If your group is more social, perhaps keep a loose schedule, in which cocktail hour is designated for catching up and the book is discussed over food. Another fun element to incorporate for either type of gathering is trivia or another game that is on-theme with your book. These simple tips will keep the party running smoothly while maintaining intent and will leave your guests impressed beyond belief.
Establish the Gathering Spot
The great thing about book club is that the groups tend to be on the smaller side. Fewer guests mean that virtually any space in the home can be turned into your book discussion spot. If your dining table is large enough to accommodate your group, consider it the perfect place to congregate. The table will anchor everyone together and keep the food and drinks front and center. Depending on the climate in which you live – as well as the season – the backyard can be a blank canvas waiting for creative entertaining. An outdoor table or sofa creates a casual environment where everyone can see one another and also soak up a little sun in the process. And since indoor fireplaces have long lent themselves to late nights curled up reading, there’s no reason you can’t recreate this feeling outside. Centering your group around the fire pit or fire table will create an ultra-cozy backyard setting. With a few throw blankets and some warm drinks, your guests will feel right at home and be ready to share all their thoughts and ideas.
All About the Accompaniments
No matter the focus of the group, it is imperative to provide guests with food and refreshments. Sharable hors d’oeuvres are always best for book club. This will ensure large plates and utensils don’t obstruct the ability to chat and that guests will always have one hand free to reference the book. To really impress your guests, center your culinary choices around the theme of the book. For instance, if your book takes place in Georgia, consider serving your members peach bellinis or peach tartlets. Your guests will delight in this attention to detail. Also consider asking each guest to bring a simple appetizer to create another talking point and to take some stress off the host!
Go the Extra Mile
Who doesn’t love a good party favor? Show your club members how much you appreciate their dedication to the group by sending them home with a small gift. A bottle of wine in a faux fur wine bag is sure to make your guests gleam with excitement. Take this a step further by adding a tag to the wine that doubles as a bookmark. Personalized notebooks are practical gifts that allow guests to write as they read, preparing talking points for the next meeting. Additionally, consider how you can revisit the book’s theme when deciding the parting gift. Is your book set in another region? If so, getting your guests a cookbook from that locale is an unexpected and thoughtful sentiment. Finally, since all bookworms love sipping on a warm beverage while reading, a gift of homemade hot cocoa mix will surely be put to good use. Any of these party favors would leave a lasting impression that would make your guests feel truly appreciated.