Last year around this time, I shared about the fun my book club did during our first year of meetings. I thought I’d do the same, highlighting what we read this past year and the fun activities and food we had as well.
In July of last year, we read The Names They Gave Us by Emery Lord. Since the book takes place at a summer camp, we planned to have a bonfire with marshmallows and s’mores, but we never ended up outside. Instead we just ate awesome monster cookies (which are featured in the book) and talked inside. For Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys, we had a few snacks, but I felt odd taking a picture of this book along with the snacks since most of this book features characters starving. Still an epic read, and we were able to do a Zoom meeting with the author through a local library to hear about her other novel, The Fountains of Silence, which was awesome as well.
In Not If I Save You First by Ally Carter, the main characters have a fun childhood tradition to eat ice cream and cause mischief, so we had ice cream (specifically Moose Tracks since the book takes place in Alaska!) and waffle bowls. One of the girls has a handmade hatchet from Alaska and she brought it along so I could take an awesome picture with it. Of course, ice cream wasn’t the only fun we had during that book club. We spent most of the discussion debating the hair colors of the main characters (I have no idea why) instead of things like the plot or setting.
Splinters of Scarlet by Emily Bain Murphy takes place in nineteenth-century Denmark, so my mom made kanelstænger (cinnamon twists) and scones, and I brought stuff for a hot cocoa bar. We my have gone overkill with the sweet stuff, but it was still fun.
For our discussion of The Valiant by Lesley Livingston we had non-alcoholic mead, a cheese and meat platter, and a scrumptious apple dessert. All of these things are featured in the book in some way, so they made the perfect snack. One of these girls had these cool mini plastic swords, too, which fit perfectly with the gladiator-themed book. For the record, the mead was okay. I like the honey aspect but there’s a spice in it that was too much for me.
One of the girls made homemade bread for our meeting about Hunted by Meagan Spooner. I don’t remember exactly why except all of us kept just thinking about the bread they mentioned in the book. We spent most of the discussion debating which Beauty and the Beast version or retelling was the best. This one was pretty good, though.
In February of 2021, we read Winter, White and Wicked by Shannon Dittemore, which was perfect because of all the snow! Since we had just done a book a few months before with hot chocolate, I thought making milkshakes was a good alternative (especially since I had just received a Magic Bullet for my birthday). And because we were making milkshakes, I thought we needed homemade French fries to go with it. Not exactly “book themed,” but one of the girls brought “candied flowers,” which fit with something from the book (even if they were… not so good). The best part of the meeting though was how intense the conversation was about certain characters. Our group are for the most part quiet, reserved people, but there was shouting and arguing and it was hilarious. Every once in a while at other meetings, it’s brought up again and I just laugh.
So I have no idea what type of snack we had for Beyond the Bright Sea by Lauren Wolk in March of 2021 because I apparently didn’t take any pictures and I forgot. I’m sure it was related to the sea in some way since that was a big part of the book.
Fable by Adrienne Young is also set on the sea, so we had potato boats (though mine ended up more like a potato shipwreck), “rock” chocolate candy, chocolate coins, and goldfish. Like always, our conversation ended up being about more than just the book selection, but we have fun and share a lot of laughs. It’s a good group of people. And I’m pretty proud of how the “bookstagram” picture came out for this meeting.
I was a bit wary to read Dearest Josephine by Caroline George this with the group because while I enjoyed it, I wasn’t sure if everybody in the group would, too. But they did! A lot! It was great. We had strawberry scones and pub cheese and pretzel sticks since the book is set in England. I offered tea for everybody, but nobody drank any. Oops?
The latest book we read, just a few days ago, was East by Edith Pattou. Since the book is mostly set in a historical Scandinavian area (the main character travels to several places over the course of the novel), my mom mad a Swedish chocolate dessert called kladdkaka. She said it was a fail since it fell apart, but we all agreed it tasted good no matter what it looked like. I brought vanilla ice cream to have with it, and it was great.
This book club is so much fun and I’m glad I started it. There are times I worry someone won’t remember to come or they won’t like the book, but in the end, we have fun no matter what. As one of the girls put it, I wouldn’t “want to miss it for the world.”