"The first rule of Book Club is, you do not talk about Book Club..."
Ok, kidding, but it is wonderful to get together with the ladies for our monthly
I don't need an incentive to read, but I sometimes get in a routine with the types of books I read. Aside from cookery, I love the classics, checking Hemingway, Tolstoy, and Dickens novels off a mental list in hopes that questions about these novels will come up in some future session of Trivial Pursuit or a prize-winning appearance on Jeopardy!. I devour those new-agey self-help books that teach you to do things that you never knew you were doing incorrectly in the first place, like breathing, sitting, and clearing your nasal passages (neti pot, anyone?). I'll occasionally dig into a biography or some history, but with book club, whoever hosts gets to pick the next book, and it is an excellent exercise in opening up my perspective to other worlds of literature. For example, if it weren't for book club, I would never, ever have voluntarily picked up and read Sophie Kinsella's I've Got Your Number.
Book description from Amazon:
I’ve lost it. :( The only thing in the world I wasn’t supposed to lose. My engagement ring. It’s been in Magnus’s family for three generations. And now the very same day his parents are coming, I’ve lost it. The very same day! Do not hyperventilate, Poppy. Stay positive :) !!
Poppy Wyatt has never felt luckier. She is about to marry her ideal man, Magnus Tavish, but in one afternoon her “happily ever after” begins to fall apart. Not only has she lost her engagement ring in a hotel fire drill but in the panic that follows, her phone is stolen. As she paces shakily around the lobby, she spots an abandoned phone in a trash can. Finders keepers! Now she can leave a number for the hotel to contact her when they find her ring. Perfect!
Well, perfect except that the phone’s owner, businessman Sam Roxton, doesn’t agree. He wants his phone back and doesn’t appreciate Poppy reading his messages and wading into his personal life.
What ensues is a hilarious and unpredictable turn of events as Poppy and Sam increasingly upend each other’s lives through emails and text messages. As Poppy juggles wedding preparations, mysterious phone calls, and hiding her left hand from Magnus and his parents . . . she soon realizes that she is in for the biggest surprise of her life.
I don't think I ever read a novel with quite so many text messaging excerpts in it. Although I found myself skimming parts to get through it, it was still an enlightening literary experience. People read this stuff. And like it. And Sophie Kinsella is a millionairess now because of it. Clearly, I'm focusing my writing energies in the wrong direction.
However, with the book set in London, it was a good opportunity to add a little British flair to our book club gathering. The menu:
Eats: Cucumber sandwiches, chicken salad sandwiches, canapes with yogurt dip
Drinks: Chardonnary, Riesling, Perrier and iced tea
Sweets: Fresh raspberries, dark chocolate and shortbread cookies
The chicken salad was a hit, with recipe requests from guests that I usually think of as polite gestures of the "no, I really like this!" kind, but since I typed out the recipe for my book club ladies, I thought perhaps others in Internetlandia might like it as well. No chick lit reading required.
I heart a good post-party table. Good times.
Since I hosted, my pick for the next book: Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris. Autobiographical dark humor about a guy and his crazy-cuckoo family. I'm looking forward to THAT book club meeting next time...
Chicken Salad with Walnuts and Grapes
Adapted from one of my most-loved cookbooks, Gourmet Today
4 cups cubed (1/2 inch) cooked chicken (about 1 1/2 pound)
1 cup walnuts,toasted and chopped
1 cup halved seedless grapes
1/3 cup plain yogurt
1/3 cup mayonnaise
1 Tbls. Dijon mustard
3 tablespoons drained capers
Salt and pepper to taste
Stir together yogurt, mayo, and mustard in a large bowl. Stir in chicken, grapes, walnuts, and capers, then season with salt and pepper to taste.