Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Our Book Club

This post is a perfect example of when writing takes over and takes you in a whole new direction--so exciting! I was going to post a bunch of random stuff including a fun picture of a recent book club display of food. I was going to post about various other things as well. But writing took over and it turned into a post solely about our book club and I'm enjoying sharing these things--it's so fun to blog and record the daily stuff you could take for granted. Hope you enjoy the post. Oh, and I was only going to post one picture of book club food, but I've decided to add some old ones, too. You'll see why when you read the post.

Our book club meets once a month and we read the best stuff (you can find our book club website here: http://food-for-thought-bookclub.blogspot.com/). We read a lot of novels and classics and other books, too. Anyone can suggest anything. The "About Us" picture could use some updating--some people have moved, others have joined, etc. There is a list of books on the left, too--all the books we've read. When you click on each book, you can see our accompanying menu. We have a fabulous group of about 12 or so adults, men and women, and we discuss the book for about an hour and then we EAT!

Funny story--our very first meeting to set up our book club and how we'd function as a group (basically, we read pretty much anything and all take turns), I made some light refreshments but said unequivocally, "I am not the kind of person who believes you have to have food at everything! We do NOT have to do food."

Well, I'm not sure what happened after that but that totally went out the window and our book club is equally a food fest as is it a literary discussion. And we love it! Not only do we do food, but we get creative with it--our foods have something to do with the book. We either make something we've read in the book, something from that time period or location of the book's story, or we pick one little thing and get really creative with it (one of my favorites is when one of our members brought "Smoores" (instead of Smores) to represent the Moors in Wuthering Heights. We have so much food that we've moved our book club discussion up closer to meal time since it is pretty much like eating a meal. Most of us have learned to either not eat dinner or eat lightly before book club. It's a feast! Hence our name.

Our basic book club meeting format is this. We meet and discuss the book for about an hour to an hour and a half or so. Then, we all share what we've made for food and how it relates to the book (this part is really fun!). Then we eat! And while we eat, we all share what other books we're reading, and then we pretty much socialize and visit and enjoy one another while we eat and eat and eat. SUCH good food. Mostly it's finger foods and stuff we can eat on a paper plate, you know? But still, it's often fancy, rich food. The fanciest we ever did was when we read Jane Eyre--we did a HUGE sit down British Feast! We had prime rib, Yorkshire pudding, and wonderful sides and desserts (trifle, anyone?) and it was fabulous! But mostly, we sit around the living room in our book club circle and eat and visit and enjoy.

We always know the next two books that we're reading. And at Christmas time, we have a holiday book club party instead of all reading a book and discussing it together (that tends to be a busy time of year for everyone, plus we have some university professors in our group and they're usually swamped with finals). We do a Yankee Swap with books where we all wrap a mystery book and quickly stick it in a big red bag when everyone arrives. We draw numbers and go in order--you can unwrap a book or switch with someone in the group. This is a lot of fun and we all get to keep a fun, new book to read at our leisure. I love books!! We also vote on our top 2 favorite books of the year (those are called "Food for Thought Picks" on our site). And we traditionally make everyone a really nice laminated bookmark keepsake that has all the books we've read over the year on them. And the food for that event? Anything goes! No theme.

We love our book club and are grateful for our friends who enjoy it with us. We have lively discussion, varied opinions, and good learning and fun. We've been going strong for over 3 years!

Here are some pictures of the yummy food we have at book club from various meetings--remember, I was only going to post a recent one, but what the heck--this is fun!

This was the food for our recent book, Ernest Hemingway's posthumous work, A Moveable Feast (apropos, eh?) That cheese on the left is a brie and pesto spread . . . so good! That's also homemade bread and peach jam, fresh, organic tomatoes and basil drizzled with olive oil, pigs in a blanket with different mustard dips, green olives, some "bubbly," and chocolate-covered cream puffs!

This was one of my favorite appetizers for how fun it is (I love fun food)--appetizers on the round loaf
(This picture is from back when we lived in our townhouse)

There is a woman in our group who has a lot of fun getting creative--this is one such example. She made pyramids for when we read The Alchemist.

We also did a Brazilian feast of feijoada (yum!) as well as many other delectables.

Most of the time the food is much simpler than this, but I don't always take pictures of those--mostly, it's the combination of fun things everyone brings that's a total delight! Books and food. YUM.


terahreu said...

Fantastic. My mouth is watering right now.

I just got Thirteenth Tale in the mail (per your recommendation). So far, so good.

I will have to look up a few more. How was the Alchemist? They love that book here and I know nothing about it. Is it worth the read?

Jill O said...

I love the food idea! That looks like so much fun. Great inspiration!

We tried a book club in my ward but it didn't fly. We, of course, had to read "appropriate" books since it was sponsered through the church. The problem was there are so many great books that weren't allowed that our selection ran a little stale. So it kinda fizzled and died. Bummer.

Boquinha said...

Terah, yay! I'm so glad! I hope you like it. Gothic novels are my favorite genre and that one is a really good modern one. I'm awed that it's her debut novel--she writes like a pro!

Jill, thank you! I hear you on the ward book clubs. We purposely started ours outside of the auspices of church for that very reason. We're all grown ups and trust ourselves to make good choices (heck, most of our members ARE LDS--several in their 50s and 60s, though we've recently added some new memers who are not LDS which I think is exciting). We're a pretty open-minded bunch of people who aren't going to cover our mouths and gasp at every mention of sex or a swear word. Funny enough, our book club is made up of former Bishops, Relief Society Presidents (former and present), and a current Stake High Councilman! :P And none of us wanted this to be an "LDS" book club (in fact, I turned down the offer to head up an Enrichment Book Club for several reasons--I'm really happy with our group, I'm not that fast a reader to add another monthly book to read, and I didn't want to deal with all the hoopla about appropriateness) and we love our group and the books we read. Maybe start one outside of church?

This makes me think about people who wish to ban or censor books. That makes me sad. Why do people feel they need to inflict/force their own morality on others? I look at the list of suggested banned books--Huck Finn, To Kill a Mockingbird, Harry Potter, The Catcher in the Rye . . . I can't imagine not having these treasures!! Why should everything we read be screened to be "lily white?" Certain books *should* disturb us. It's okay for us to feel uncomfortable with certain things--it teaches us about ourselves, it helps us figure out our feelings on things and our own morality. We can read about the horrid treatment of slaves, the heinous acts of despicable people, the magic of Hogwarts and the adventures at the burrow. I can't imagine not having those books!

Wow, I was going to post a short comment. I can talk. Have I mentioned I can talk? I'm going to push "publish" now. :P

D'Arcy said...

so wonderful! I recenly joined a book club, my first one. We read "In Cold Blood" last month, what a book. Wow. I still feel dark from it. This month, "the Four Souls" I love the discussions and learning that goes on, and the appreciation for good literautre.

It's a slice of heaven for me!

D'Arcy said...

And everyone in my group is from varioius religions and backgrounds, such a great mix! I LOVE it!!!

J Fo said...

I Love this idea! I need to find a group here to get this started.

Boquinha said...

Yay, D'Arcy! I'm so glad!

Oh Jessica, I so wish you guys lived near us. More than I can say.