Sutter Home Book Club: Author Karen Swan’s Entertaining Tips
With her novel Christmas at Tiffany’s picked for this month’s Sutter Home Book Club selection, author Karen Swan shares her tips for hosting a fresh, festive book club in December. Remember to open a bottle (or two) of the new Sutter Home Red Blend!
“I go to extra efforts when hosting my book club at Christmas. There’s almost a sense of ceremony, preparing the table and organizing the food (even though casual dining is a strictly-enforced rule in our club), but there are two elements I always try to incorporate: freshness and fun.
In a season in which the instinct is to retreat from the outdoors, I think there’s something so luxurious about placing an emphasis on freshness. That can mean anything from putting the wine in a decanter so that it’s allowed to breathe, or having mulled wine spiced with oranges and cinnamon sticks simmering on the cooker and kept warm on a tray by an open fire. Fresh ivy and holly and berries picked from the forest in which I live are laid in a trail down the center of the table. And of course, a real fir Christmas tree scents the room better than any candle!
I also inject an element of fun by slipping a strip of paper into each person’s napkin, with a different task for each. One might be asked a question about the book, another may have a page number on it with an excerpt to read aloud and discuss, while yet another one or two may have to role play characters in a scene. It can end up being more like charades than discussions about a book, but it can bring the story and characters to life.
Finally, for a really jolly way to end the evening when I’m bringing out the coffee, I serve a huge, thick slab of chocolate on a wooden board (cheese or bread board will do) and an ice pick. Everyone has so much fun hacking and stabbing and breaking off their pieces, it beats after-dinner mints, hands down!”>
Read more about author Karen Swan at her website.