Book Club Basics
A handy starter’s guide to building
bonds over a good read
Story by Click Staff
A Circle of Friends
Building a book club is easy! All it takes is a few friends united by a love of a compelling read. My friends and I were all constantly reading and recommending books to each other. One day, it clicked - we should start our own book club! We’ve gained new members by reaching into our other circles of friends to see if others would be interested. And it’s not all about reading — a book club provides a perfect opportunity to network with colleagues, as well as a great excuse to host a party. I’m a firm believer that consistency and adaptation keep everything relevant and flowing. It’s easy to get burnt out after a while, and it’s important to listen to members and discover what needs to be done to light the fire again. It’s important that everyone feel included, not just like a member. Everyone is very involved in the decision making, book selection and event planning.
Planning begins with an annual meeting. At our December meetings, we lay out a schedule for the upcoming year. We each compile a list of books that we’ve read, have been wanting to read and would love to read again. We research upcoming releases including books made into movies and authors we follow and love. We plan our list around new releases and the “best” rankings, as well as a smattering of yet-to-be-released books we plan to read at release.
Choosing a theme and Décor
For our meetings that aren’t on video chat, a little theming and décor magic was necessary. Think about the contents of you book and add a few little touches around the house that recall key scenes. For example, our December meeting was Harry Potter themed which included a Platform 9 & 3/4 entrance and snacks that incorporated both Harry Potter and Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, the textbook that was made into a move set prior-to the Harry Potter series. We also hosted a Galentine’s ‘90s Heartthrob Brunch for February, themed after the smitten love in the book read for the meeting, Red Queen.
Food & Drink
Themed cocktails are a must! Wine pairings can also make for a winning combination. It goes without saying that a deep red goes well with a mystery or thriller, but a nice Pinot Grigio pairs well with a romance novel. What we do isn’t generalized by a genre, but specialized and catered to by the book we are reading. For instance, The Couple Next Door is about a couple who attends a dinner party, and a terrible thing happens. Instead of just having random snacks, we would have a dinner party to discuss.
Setting a schedule to meet and discuss your latest read is easier than it sounds. Combine your love of books, good snacks and great friends, and you have everything you need.
Brie and Candied Bacon
Grilled Cheese Bites
Recipe Courtesy of Serena Wolf
Yield: 6-8 appetizer servings
• 2 tablespoons brown sugar, packed
• 2 teaspoons good quality maple syrup
• 3 tablespoons pecans, finely chopped
• ¼ teaspoon black pepper
• ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
• 1 pinch cayenne pepper
• 4 slices thick-cut bacon
• 1 small baguette (or ½ a large baguette),
sliced into ¼-inch pieces
• 3½ tablespoons Président Unsalted Butter,
• 1 wedge Président Triple Crème Brie
1. Pre-heat your oven to 375 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil. Spray a wire rack with non-stick cooking spray and place it on the prepared baking sheet.
In a small bowl, combine the brown sugar, maple syrup, chopped pecans, black pepper, salt and cayenne pepper.
2. Place the bacon on the prepared wire rack, making sure the slices aren’t touching. Using a small spoon, evenly spread the brown sugar mixture on top of each piece of bacon. Bake for 25-30 minutes until the bacon is crisp and the topping is nicely browned. (Keep an eye on it in the last 5-10 minutes of the cooking time to make sure the bacon doesn’t burn!) Remove from the oven and let cool to room temperature. When cool, chop the candied bacon into very small pieces. (The bacon can also be made in advance and stored in a Ziploc at room temperature for up to 12 hours.)
3. Using a sharp knife, cut the Président Triple Crème Brie lengthwise into 1/8-inch slices. Then cut those slices in half (or thirds, depending on the size of your baguette). Spread Président Unsalted Butter on one side of each baguette slice.
4. To assemble each grilled cheese bite: Place 1 slice of Président Triple Crème Brie on the unbuttered side of a baguette slice. Top with a sprinkling of candied bacon and a second slice of Brie. Cover with a second buttered baguette slice.
5. Heat a skillet over medium heat. When hot, place the grilled cheese bites in the pan. (You will need to do this in 2-3 batches.) Cook for about 1 minute on each side, or until the sandwiches are golden brown and the cheese has melted. Remove from the pan and serve immediately.