Entertainment Tip: Proof of Heaven
I am in three book clubs. Three. I joined them not just because I love to read, but because I love to talk about what I’ve read—while drinking and eating with friends, of course. (Isn’t it the worst after reading something—and loving it—and never finding anyone EVER to talk about it?)
In my years of “clubbing” (book clubbing, that is), I have learned a thing or two about what makes for a memorable and entertaining party:
1. K.I.S.S. Keep it simple, Sister. If you want friends to feel comfortable, don’t overdo it.
And don’t spend too much. You want to make it so others want to host as well, and nothing deters others from wanting to host than setting an impossibly high bar. Skip the caterers, housekeepers, and attendants. Better to spend your hard-earned moola on wine and good ingredients (and more books)!
2. Set up a serve-yourself area on your kitchen table, island, or buffet. A couple of large bottles of wine, wine glasses, and a simple dish will do. (Ask others to bring their favorite snacks and before you know it, you have more than books to talk about! Suddenly you’re exchanging recipes, too—also, my favorite part of my get-togethers).
3. Keep it casual—but pretty. Never underestimate the power of a few candles clustered in the middle of decorative tray, dim lights, and some mood music to turn a room into an intimate setting. If you want to incorporate themes from a particular book into your party—pick regions featured in the book to inspire the food and wine choices, or if you have photos, display some pictures of the area. My book Proof of Heaven takes place in several settings—New York, Rome, Assisi, India, Colorado, and California. I happened to have artwork and photos from each area and I displayed them on the buffet next to the food. My friends could look at the Brooklyn Bridge, St. Patrick’s Cathedral, the streets of Assisi, and the Pacific ocean while they filled their bowls. Before they knew it they were talking about parts of the book that took place in each photographed area.
4. If it’s cold outside and you have fireplace—light a fire. There is something about one roaring in the background that facilitates talking—and a sense of hominess that makes people want to stay and stay—like nothing else. (In Proof of Heaven—fire plays a prominent role.)