How's it going? I've been busy with a lot of things, especially going on at work. In fact, let me tell you all about it right now because I'm more than a little proud of what we accomplished.
No, it's not about my awesome book group, although it is book-related. Shocker, I know.
This year we are trying an adult summer reading challenge.
No, it's not that kind of "adult". Get you heads out of the gutter, Friends. I've already had more than one person ask me exactly what that entailed, and where did we keep those kind of books. I could practically see the wheels in their heads turning -- some dark, overlooked corner of the library, cordoned off by beaded curtains, red light glowing overhead. It just means it is for grownups. People over the age of 18. It's not the program that happens every year for kids and teens.
A couple co-workers and I got to throw a kick-off event to get it started. We really weren't sure how many people would actually be interested in participating. It was a lot of work, but it was so much fun and it had a fantastic turn out!
I'm a little proud of what we pulled off, so I wanted to share it here. Feel free to steal any ideas if you want to use them! Maybe you have a book club of your own, or you're thinking of starting one, and need some ideas. Maybe you just think some of the food looks awesome and want to try it yourself. Do as you please, kids.
First, we had the information tables. Yes, tables. Each person had to sign up, and then they got a little notebook to keep track of their progress on the summer reading challenge. The challenge? To read 8 books in 8 weeks, and there are different categories to try and meet -- book published the year you were born, a poetry book, a book set in the Hudson Valley, etc.
My friend and co-worker, Chris, went all out on Readers' Advisory! He made lists for everything: new releases, different genres, and lists based on different books, television shows, and podcasts that are popular.
List, booklets, and information on our book groups
Some of the lists that Chris made.
We also had a table for our Blind Date With a Book program. We do this every year and people really seem to enjoy it. The idea is that you pick a book based solely on the clues given to you. It's all wrapped up so you cannot see what you are choosing. Ideally it helps people to branch out and read a book they might not normally have chosen. They might discover an author that they love but had never read before, or a new series, or find a subject really interesting and want to learn more. This year they also all had clues relating to the challenge part of the adult summer reading program.
...and I might also have mentioned that some of the books met several different challenge categories. I believe the exact phrase was, "If you want to do it quick and dirty, some of them meet several categories." I was being helpful! Get all of the categories filled quickly, then read whatever you want for the rest of the summer. It's totally not cheating.
I wrapped 50 books. I thought it would last a while. I was wrong. The supply lasted about 2 days, and then I had to start making more.
You have to have food and drinks at a party, right Friends? Of course! Since this was a party about books and reading, we decided that all of the refreshments should also tie to a book somehow. None of you should be surprised that I was super stoked about this part. I love coming up with these ideas for my book group every month! (Need a refresher on my awesome book group? Click here to get a taste.)
Let's start with the drinks....
Butterbeer! From Harry Potter, of course. Chris made these and they were delicious.
I made non-alcoholic hurricanes. I had made them when my book group discussed Isaac's Storm, and everyone really seemed to like it.
As you can see from my less than stellar camera work above, we also had regular refreshments for those who weren't feeling adventurous enough to try one of our more creative libations. Good call on another co-worker's part for supplying those.
On to the food! The rest of it is nice and all, but I know you really want to see what we came up with for that part of the evening.
The Devil in the White City Chris made cupcakes that looked like little devils. He even had a Ferris wheel cupcake display, and it actually turned!
Another co-worker made Kabobs for Under the Tuscan Sun. They were delicious!
Chris also made an excellent chocolate trifle graveyard dessert (with awesome decor) for Lincoln in the Bardo.
I'm going to admit right now that we have reached the end of the classier offerings that were on the table. I can say that because I made the rest of them, and classy was not on my mind. I went more for amusing, or at least entertaining. Some might say a little dark. I fully admit to having a warped sense of humor.
Of Mice and Men Those are little chocolate mice made out of maraschino cherries, Hershey's Kisses, and almonds.
The men are Sour Patch Kids. They were going to be gingerbread men, but I ran out of time.
Green Eggs and Ham Why yes, I did make green eggs. The ham is in the filling.
Would you eat them here or there?
Would you eat them anywhere?
Alice's Adventures in Wonderland -- One of my all-time favorite books!
It had to be included in the festivities.
(And the phrasing amused some people.)
Banana Cream Pie Murder -- the newest book in the series. I haven't read it yet, but the series is very popular.
Chocolate Pie from The Help. Yeah, I went there. It did lead to some interesting conversations.
Patron 1: Oh my God, you made the poo pie!
Me: This one is just chocolate pudding. I swear.
Patron 1: Do you think anyone is going to eat it?
Me: Well, we'll certainly find out who read the book or saw the movie. It's also a good way to see how adventurous people are feeling.
Patron 2: *laughing* That is so sick! Did you do that?
Me: Yes. I take all the blame for that one.
Patron: You made the Eat Me cookies too, right?
Me: Yes again.
Patron 2: And the Green Eggs and Ham?
Me: Guilty as well.
Patron 2: That's so awesome!
** Just a quick note: the links for all of the books above go to Amazon. I'm not partnered with them, I'm not trying to get you to buy them. I get nothing out of it. They are simply there for your reference. If you haven't read some of the books then you might not know how the food relates. **
The event went really, really well and had an excellent turnout. It has been less than a week, but I'm hopeful that it is going to prove popular enough to do it again next summer.
Of course I'm participating in the challenge as well -- can't ask other people to do what you aren't willing to do yourself. I will also admit that I am using my own "quick and dirty" method on the challenge, and have managed to meet 5 categories so far. I can't win a prize, but I am going to do my best to rock this thing. I also might be just the tiniest bit competitive....even if it really is only against myself.
All credit in the world to Chris for doing a phenomenal job on this event, and doing an insane amount of work on the Readers' Advisory. Thanks to my other co-worker for her help and organizational skills! I'm glad I could assist by wrapping books and making some interesting refreshment choices.