Culinary and Home Entertaining Expert Zoe Rogers bring you this page-turner!
Crazy for books and book clubs?
You’re not alone! The popularity of book clubs is soaring.
“The Encyclopedia of Community: From the Village to the Virtual World, notes that in 2003, a Google search for “book club” returned 424,000 hits; now it returns 40 million…”
What was once a solo act—sitting in a chair reading a book—has now become a social event. That chair is now replaced with a sofa which seats not one—but many avid readers all on the same page.
Enter: The Book Club.
A book club meeting is an exceptional way for people to connect—since each guest must read the same book to attend, there is common ground, an instant ice breaker—therefore a book club can often become a springboard for strangers to become fast friends.
If you are a single woman and seeking, the advantages of a book club stack up, it’s a top-notch, easy, and organic way to meet well-read men.
In other words, a “Book Club” can become “Book Clubbing”—the main difference being that club wear such as stiletto heels are swapped for something, shall we say, a tad more suitable to the occasion—like kitten heels.
Through my following fun and easy tips an ordinary book club meeting is transformed into an interactive “Singles’ Book Night.” When you host this “Singles’ Book Night” it’s not an ongoing, full-fledged book ‘club’ it’s a one-time, fun event.
This novel night includes built-in conversation starters beyond the discussion of the book selection, which spring from the playful nature and visuals of the book-friendly ideas I give you, after all who isn’t going to speak to the person beside them when they reach for a Bookworm Cupcake!
TABLE OF CONTENTS SINGLES’ BOOK NIGHT:
INVITE AND FOOD:
*Read Between The Lines: In your invitation to your coterie of single, available friends, whether by email, phone or mail—make sure to place emphasis on that it’s a one-night-only Singles’ Book Night. Name the title and author of the book that each guest must read before the date of the event, so they will be ready to join in on the night’s book discussion—this theme has a very persuasive hook to reel single bookworms in.
*Food For Thought: If you don’t have any single, available male friends to draw from, then enlist one of my favorite home-entertaining tools, the ‘friend-of-a-friend’ model—in the invitation ask each of the single, available female friends you are inviting to bring a single, available male friend—making it a requirement to attend.
*Feast of Words: State in your invitation this is a casual, book-themed pot luck and ask guests to bring a beverage and one dish (store-bought or homemade) representational of the geographical location in the story’s setting, for example a book set in Louisiana, could be any foods or beverages specifically made in Louisiana, made from typically Southern recipes, or using Southern ingredients.
Another way is to match a specific food or food category mentioned in the book selection for the night, such as an Apple Pie. Then make your Feast of Words theme be pies, so each guest should bring his or her favorite dessert pie of any flavor.
Make a notation in your invitation that the beverage doesn’t have to match, though you’ll find that people have such fun with this that often they do find refreshments, that fit the book’s story location or theme.
*Book Club Bookworm Cupcakes: Show your fun and playful side by serving my “Bookworm Cupcakes." All you need is a platter of frosted cupcakes (one cupcake for each guest) from a bakery or homemade, and enough Candy Gummy Worms so there is 1 per cupcake. Cupcakes with a light-colored frosting such as vanilla or lemon work best as a background for the colorful Candy Gummy Worms to really stand out.
Candy Gummy Worms are available at supermarkets and candy stores at a nominal cost. Just place, and center a Candy Gummy Worm on the top surface of each cupcake. Presto! There you have it, a fast and easy book lovers’ dessert which guarantees delighted laughter from your guests.
* Alphabet Cookies: Whimsical “Alphabet Cookies” make for another option as an amusing, book-theme dessert. If you want, make them homemade. Or, fast-track it, and make them using store-bought roll-out sugar cookie dough. Either way, you can make Alphabet Cookies using roll-out sugar cookie dough, Alphabet Cookie cutters, frosting and edible decorations.
SET THE SCENE:
* Eat Your Words: Set a table for buffet-style, with stacked plates, napkins, cutlery and glasses. Decorate it with any or all of the items below.
* Faux Library: Stack a few hardcover books (with the spines facing outwards so guests can see them) in short stacks, on the table. When guests arrive they can place food platters on these sturdy stacks.
*Bookends Do Double-Duty: If you already own bookends, place a stack of paper napkins upright between the bookends.
*Fiction Or Non-Fiction: Use ‘props’ from around your home that are actually in the book’s story as decorative accents for the table. For example, if the book selection is a mystery, maybe there is a clue in the book that can be a decorative prop for your event often there is more than one.
* Words To Live By: DIY Book Quotation Frame to decorate your table. Using your computer printer, print a few thought-provoking quotations from the book selection for the night, or quotations about books in general (both are easy and fast searches on a computer).
Here’s an example of a general quotation about books: “Books let us into their souls and lay open to us the secrets of our own.” ~William Hazlitt
Using scissors, trim the computer paper with your quotations to fit a stand up photo frame, repurpose a frame you already own, just replace the photo you had in it after the party!
*The A, B, C’s Of Reading: For another thrifty idea with big impact: If you have some extra time, buy a box of dried Alphabet Pasta at a supermarket and fill small, decorative clear jars with lids with it.
Or, scatter some of the dried, Alphabet Pasta on the buffet table, not too much so that it’s messy, but just for more visual appeal. This looks especially great against a dark-colored table or black tablecloth for a black and white reading theme.
Alternatively, if you have a light-colored table or white tablecloth, buy a few, assorted large paper cardboard letters from a craft store or stationery shop, and decorate your buffet table with those.
If you are using a disposable tablecloth you can use a black or colored ink pad and rubber stamp alphabet letters (or use another book-related rubber stamp) directly on the tablecloth, allowing it to fully dry before placing it on your table. Ink pads and rubber stamps are available at craft stores, and there are many online stores that sell them too.
If you are a parent, you probably own those colorful magnet-backed plastic letters which are a popular children’s toy, these alphabet letters add thematic visual appeal to a table too.
Your Singles’ Book Night will be a bestseller and now your bibliophilistic buddies and perhaps a book-loving, potential beau will want to take a page from your book!
By Zoe Rogers, a leading Culinary and Home Entertaining Expert, Friendship Authority, Author of 9 Cookbooks, and Culinary Judge of Cooking and Baking Contests.
Zoe Rogers is an Award-Winning Author of Food and Beverage Articles and Writes about the Connections Between Food, Drink, Love, and Friendship.
Zoe has a Professional Culinary and Baking Degree, a degree in commercial photography and communication design, and she has studied writing and film.
Zoe Rogers is Founder of GalPalGreet.com—Your Home to the Power of Friendship—Where You Can Find Articles, Videos, Crafts, DIY Projects, Food and Beverage Recipes, Party Ideas and Party Themes, Entertainment and More! Zoe Rogers is on Twitter @ZoeInspiresYou
NOTE: Quotation Source: “The State of Publishing: The Book Club Phenomena” By Katie Wu (2/8/2011) McSweeney’s