February is the time you want to curl up with a good love story. Studio 5
contributor Teri Harman shares her book club party ideas for a February
Extraordinary Book Clubs
A book club is about four things: bringing books to life, making reading
enjoyable, bringing friends together and having another excuse to throw a
fabulous party. Turn your book club into something extraordinary by
pulling ideas directly from the book that translate into food, décor, invites,
favors and more.
There is nothing as wonderful as the old Hollywood films from the 1930’s,
40’s, 50’s – Cary Grant, Jimmy Stewart. That is unless it’s a perfect novel all
about the love of these films and the love – romantic, friendship, familial –
that makes us human.
Marisa de Los Santos’ enchanting novel begins when Martin Grace,
handsome and refined, walks into the hip Philadelphia coffee shop where
Cornelia Brown works.This stunning stranger (who looks a little too much
like Cary Grant) is everything she has always wanted. Or so she thinks until
young Clare comes along.
Across town, 11 year old Clare Hobbs’ life is falling apart. Her gorgeous
mother has abandoned her and she is forced to turn to her cold and distant
father, Mr. Martin Grace.
After Clare and Cornelia cross paths both their lives take unexpected turns
as they embark on a joint journey of discovering themselves and love. As
beautiful and well written as the classic films it invokes, this love story is an
Book Club Becomes Girls’ Classic Movie Night
This book is a great opportunity to depart from the standard book club
routine. In celebration of the lovely book, the classic movies and
Valentine’s Day (if doing in February), invite guests to wear a pretty and
comfy pair of pajamas – just likeCornelia and Clare love to wear – and
for food, discussion and a screening of one of the classic movies
mentioned in the book.
The best movie choice is Cornelia’s favorite and the most significant to the
book – The Philadelphia Story. This wonderful movie is easy to order from
Amazon for around $10. Here are some other great choices:
His Girl Friday
Arsenic and Old Lace
It’s a Wonderful Life
An Affair to Remember
The invite looks like an old fashioned movie ticket and is very easy to
make. I designed mine in Word and then made a two-sided invite (front of
ticket and back of ticket). The front says, “Admit One” and back says, “Love
Walked In. Book Club and Classic Movie Night. Date, location and
time.Pretty PJ’s, food and Cary Grant.”
Cornelia loves visiting a quaint little cheese shop near her home. At the
coffee shop that she manages she often serves her friends rich, tasty
pastries. In the movie, Philadelphia Story, a significant event occurs after
the main characters have had a lot of champagne.
To connect these three things serve the following spread:
A cheese platter with 3-5 of your favorite artisan cheeses (Harmon’s has a
great cheese shop), bread or crackers and some fruit like grapes, oranges
A variety of pastries – croissants, sweet rolls, éclairs, etc.
Sparkling cider/juice or champagne served in pretty champagne flutes
(cheap ones at dollar stores or Walmart and disposable ones at party
stores). I used Welches Sparkling Red Grape for the fun pink/red color.
The décor is a combination of the three themes:the book, the classic
movies and Valentine’s Day or Love. I used a red, white and black color
scheme (red for love and black and white for the old movies).
I made a movie marquee sign out of a small poster board, black picture
frame mat and shapes/letters cut with my Cricut. This poster says, “Now
Showing. Love Walked In”. With the marquee, hang pictures of the classic
movie posters (found through Google – high resolution and then printed.)
To make them look like the lighted movie posters in theatres, I backed with
a piece of black paper and bordered small yellow dots (like a frame and
Black and white table cloth for food table, with pops of red.
Black and white ribbon with red paper heart tied to stem of champagne
Red, white and black paper hearts all over.
A reading group guide, provided by the publisher, can be found at the
Type up the discussion questions of your choice – at least one for each
person attending – onto individual papers. These papers will be part of the
Popcorn Box (info below). Then, before you start the movie, have each
person read their question to the group and briefly discuss.
Try to keep the discussion short, so there is time for the movie.
The movie itself – if watching Philadelphia Story – also acts as a way to
discuss the book. When scenes mentioned in the book come up, pause and
talk about it.
I found these fun popcorn boxes on Amazon – 10 for $4.99 – and thought
they were the perfect touch to this club. But instead of filling with popcorn
this acts as a favor/ gift for your book club guests.
I stuffed the bottom of the box with some tissue paper and then added
1 – Small notebook, front covered with pretty red paper and a quote from
the book: “Knowing what you love and why, I found out, is as real as it
gets.” I found mine at Hobby Lobby for $0.99. You could also add a pen if
I included the notebook because Clare, the young girl in the story, keeps a
notebook and is always writing in it.
2 – A discussion question to read to group (as mentioned above in the
3 – Small glass jar filled with red, pink and white candies like M & M’s. Fun
for Valentine’s day. The candy can also be munched on during the movie, if
people aren’t already full of cheese and pastries.
I found the jar at Afton’s Candy Shop at Gardner Village – around $2 – but
many décor and hobby stores carry them. Or for a cheaper option, fill small
cellophane bags with candy.
For more book club inspiration visit Teri’s website, www.book-matters.com