A few months ago, I wrote about three ways to shake up your book club with new approaches, inspired by my numerous and varied failed book club attempts.
My current book club operates on the traditional “let’s all read the same book” principle. Still, I can think of many groups I’ve participated in that might have survived if we hadn’t put that particular pressure on ourselves. This is especially true when we didn’t share the same taste in books or the same goals for our book discussions.
I love talking about books and hearing what everyone is reading. In the spirit of creating community (and social events!) around books and reading, here are four more suggestions. They’re tailor-made for readers looking for a social night out and some casual book chatting but without the restrictions of reading a single book.
Literary game club
The nice thing about these games is we never have to worry about running out of conversation material: The games do the work for us! Besides kick-starting literary discussions, they’re, you know, fun.
Side note: They’re also nice for traditional book clubs to have on hand for those (rare?) occasions when the group shows up only to discover that no one actually read the book. Ooops. It happens…
Book and movie club
There’s no shortage of films adapted from popular books. A brief survey of just a few of this year’s movies illustrates the point: The Circle, Me Before You, The Girl on the Train, The Light Between Oceans, to name a few. It’s not too surprising, is it? These films hit theaters with a built-in audience!
For book club purposes, you can discuss the book before watching the movie, discuss both after reading and watching, or skip the discussion and just make an outing of it.
Literary road trips
Living in Connecticut, I’m lucky to be surrounded by fascinating literary history and historical sites, basically from all directions. I enjoy getting creative with these – visiting a place where a story is set, an author’s home or neighborhood, a unique or special bookstore or library. In other words, it doesn’t have to be an *official* site. My recent outings have included the Wallace Stevens walk in Hartford, Conn., Weathersfield, Conn. (where The Witch of Blackbird Pond is set), and the Morgan Library in Manhattan.
Literary supper club
For foodie book lovers, a literary dinner party could be just the thing. If it’s a group in which members all read the same book, each person could make a dish inspired by or that appears in the book. Or the group may choose to recreate a meal from within the book, with each member contributing a dish. If the group is reading historical fiction, recreating a historical meal could be fun. For a casual, “we read what we like and share” book club, a potluck could work nicely. Cooking together while discussing a book (or books) is also a nice option.
For inspiration, here are a few titles to start you off:
Voracious: A Hungry Reader Cooks Her Way through Great Books by Cara Nicoletti
The Book Lover’s Cookbook: Recipes Inspired by Celebrated Works of Literature, and the Passages That Feature Them by Shaunda Kennedy Wenger, Janet Jensen
Fairy Tale Feasts: A Literary Cookbook for Young Readers and Eaters by Jane Yolen, Heidi E. Y. Stemple, Philippe Beha
Literary Feasts: Recipes from the Classics of Literature by Barbara Scrafford
Once Upon a Time in the Kitchen: Recipes and Tales from Classic Children’s Stories (Myths, Legends, Fairy and Folktales) by Carol Odell, Anna Pignataro
Have you ever tried one of these? Do you have any recommendations or suggestions for non-traditional book clubs? I want to hear all about it?