With constant emails, texting, ringing and pinging, there’s nothing like pressing pause and curling up with a good book. The novelty of cracking open a new cover (or, let’s be real, clicking forward to that first 1% of your e-book) is the ultimate world-escaping experience. It’s the kind of thing that can only be improved upon by adding friends – and wine — to the mix.
That’s why we’re talking about Book Club. With a gorgeous bottle of wine, a few snacks, and an obsessively absorbing book, Book Club can be the ultimate 21st century brain vacation in the comfort of your own home. Or, you can just say it’s a book club and then not discuss the book at all, but hey … snacks and wine.
Here’s how to throw a best-selling Book Club party in four chapters:
Build the Perfect Book Club Spread
No book club is complete without the perfect spread. Your girlfriends might be coming straight from work or just having a hectic day, so they’ll be grateful for something to snack on as you delve into the plot twists and character development. We recommend serving up an array of meat, cheese, and nuts, as well as some sliced baguette. Definitely add a bowl of gluten-free crackers to make sure everyone’s dietary restrictions are respected. Or, get thematic based on your book: Was it based in the South? Pimiento cheese spread for all. Maybe you’re foodies and busted into Hemingway’s Paris-based “A Moveable Feast”? Break out the mini Croque Madame sandwiches and croissants. Gyoza and edamame for the new Murakami epic? Get creative and give it some personality.
Here’s some inspiration on how to Build Your Perfect Book Club Spread here!
Don’t Forget the Wine
Like any get-together, wine plays an essential part in throwing the perfect book club night. People can get nervous when it comes to breaking down books. And who doesn’t want a glass of wine after a long day at the office or shuttling the kids to soccer practice? Pouring a glass of wine upon arrival is a great way to loosen everybody up and get the book banter started.
We recommend serving up a crisp white wine like Rueda Verdejo. It’s full of refreshing, bright fruit flavors. It will pair with all the snacks on your table. It also won’t stain your teeth, rug, or books if someone spills – and it won’t rock you to sleep like red wine can do. One bottle for every two guests is a classic ratio to go by, because not having enough wine is the ultimate party foul and a cliffhanger that nobody wants.
Keep the Discussion Going
It’s easy to get sidetracked at book clubs, especially as the group gets larger and larger. We recommend using a book club guide. In fact, many big name publishers will have them already created and available for use on the book’s website. If the book you’re reading is from a lesser-known author, check out Good Reads, Electric Literature, and other book discussion sites to get some stimulating ideas for your chat.
Print the discussion questions out and designate a leader every month. This person can either be the individual who chose the book or someone else in the group that feels comfortable taking charge and keeping the discussion going.
Maintain a Schedule
Bear in mind that most people have had long days, but also have to get up the next day. Give everyone 15 minutes to settle in upon arrival, then get things started without it seeming like a military drill. Keep the discussion to around an hour: Any less and it might feel more like a happy hour than a book club, and any more will probably cause your guests to start chasing silly red herrings.
After the discussion, why not pick a book for the next meeting? Assign a member of the club to choose five books beforehand, and then everyone can vote on what’s next up in the queue. Set a maximum page limit, too; books that are too long never get finished in time for the next club and will often lead to some major side-eye!
Now that you’ve perfectly dissected all of the major plot points and metaphors, don’t rush anyone out the door. Keep your Rueda Verdejo bottles popped open on the table, and your friends will stick around for some page-turning gossip time.