It’s time for book club. You managed to read the entire novel this time and an evening of good conversation and community awaits. Whether your book club meets monthly or just a smattering of times a year doesn’t matter. Being a part of a book club is an opportunity to meet others and enrich established friendships. It’s a chance to sit still. And hopefully eat some tasty snacks as well.
Book clubs encourage you to read books you may have otherwise passed by. You could discover a new author or genre you haven’t tried before. At the very least, book clubs offer their members a space to come together and enjoy one another’s company.
Book clubs come in many shapes and sizes. Most select a book and later meet at a designated time and location to discuss the book. This is a proven, reliable method. But if your book club is in a reading rut, they may be interested in trying something new.
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(Cook) Book Club
Rather than reading a traditional novel, memoir, or biography, select a cookbook to explore as a group. Have book club members volunteer to prepare and bring a dish from an assigned category such as an appetizer, side dish, salad, entree, or dessert. Not only will your book club learn new recipes and cooking techniques, but you’ll also get to enjoy a meal together. And what’s better than meeting with friends over delicious food and conversation?
Get cooking with these fail-safe cookbooks:
- The Joy of Cooking by Irma S. Rombauer
This classic has stood the test of time since its publication in 1930. Cooking techniques and U.S. culinary history are included as well.
For recipes everyone will love, look no further than this cookbook. You’ll be sure to find a tasty new favorite within these pages.
- Mastering the Art of French Cooking by Julia Child, Louisette Bertholle and Simone Beck
If your book club is ready for a challenge, you have come to the right place.
- Mack Eplen’s Best Kept Secrets by Terri Eplen-Kleen
For years, Mack Eplen’s fed the citizens of Abilene at its downtown cafeteria, Mack’s Drivateria, Briarstone Manor and more. This collection of family recipes can be found at Texas Star located in downtown Abilene.
Book and a Movie
Many best-selling books have been adapted to the big screen. For better or for worse, readers purchase tickets to see what Hollywood has done to their beloved stories. At times, this can be painful. Reading a book is a personal experience. Many times the movie and what the reader has imagined the story to be do not match up. But other times, the movie can become as cherished as the book.
Have the book club choose a book that has been made into a movie. Read the book at home then come together to watch the movie as a group. Discuss similarities as well as anything that was altered or left out altogether. Did the movie honor the book’s tone? Which did you like best?
Movie vs. Book:
- Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
It’s no wonder this classic has been made into a movie time and time again. Watch it with a cup of tea and a scone for added ambiance.
- The Help by Kathryn Stockett
Set in 1960’s, this is a story of pain, humor and hope. Fun fact: author Kathryn Stockett was childhood friends with the movie’s director Tate Taylor. They collaborated to share this story set in their hometown of Jackson, Mississippi.
- Team of Rivals by Doris Kearns Goodwin
Steven Spielberg adapted this historical work into his film Lincoln.
- To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
Released in 1962, the film To Kill a Mockingbird had the almost impossible task of living up to the beloved novel by Harper Lee. Both the book and movie are a must.
Being a part of a book club has many advantages. You attain a wider viewpoint of the world, your vocabulary improves, new friendships are established….and you wind up with bookshelves that are sagging under the weight of all those books! And yes, I know there are many ways to consume books these days (i.e. audio books and e-readers), but I am of the old school. I like to turn a page and use bookmarks. I carry books in my tote just in case I find myself with a spare moment to read just a bit more.
When you and your book club have no more space left on your shelves, it’s time for a book swap. Instead of purchasing new books, consider exchanging books with others in your book club.
Here’s a fun way to do it:
- Each book club member finds a book from their collection at home they’d like to swap.
- Wrap the book in wrapping paper or a gift bag with no tag. Feel free to add a fun gift like a bottle of wine, tea bag, bookmark, or notepad.
- Bring your wrapped book to the next book club gathering.
- The host will hand out numbered slips of paper to each person as they arrive.
- During the gathering, take turns in numerical order and select a wrapped book.
- After they have unwrapped the book, have the person guess who brought the book to the exchange.
- Enjoy taking home a new-to-you book.
If you feel your book club is growing stale, these unique ways to gather could be just what your group needs. Remember that Abilene has fantastic local bookstores with knowledgeable staff who would love to help you make your next selection as a book club. Support our local book sellers and keep Abilene reading!
By Callie Harris
Photos By Shayli Anne Photography