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December book club ideas

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  • #34467
    Tammy F.

    Hi there,

    I host a fairly new chapter and I was looking to see if anyone had ideas for our December book club meeting to make it more festive? The kicker is, the members have only met once or twice before (and one has only met me,) so things like Secret Santa won’t work; especially since we’re still slowly growing. There’s a good chance I’ll have a new member attend the next book club meeting, so I don’t want them to feel left out.

  • #34999

    How bout some ice breaker games and some sort of exchange. It can be a Bookish exchange with a recommended dollar amount and does not limit it to a book. It could be journals, pens, book darks, book marks. or even self care type items to go with reading. Or just do a book exchange or mug exchange.

    Some ice breaker type games include minute to win it type activities:

    1. Extreme Makeover
    Update a character or two from a book set in the
    past. Place the characters in today’s culture—and
    invent a new life.

    Example: Lydia Bennett (Pride & Prejudice) considers Cosmo great literature and Sex &
    the City serious drama. She hits the clubs,
    wears designer knock-offs and has Big Hair.
    Her eyes are always peeled for Mr. Big.

    Example: Jay Gatsby (The Great Gatsby) takes twice-weekly elocution lessons (The Rain in Spain….). He’s fastidious—flosses 3 times/day and wears only Armani. Listens to rap in private but forces himself to attend the opera, alone.
    Was a big player in a Wall Street hedge fund but managed to avoid indictment…so far.

    2. Alphabet Soup
    Working around the room, have each member name a character, event, place, or object from the book—the first letter of which starts with A, the next with B, the next C, and so forth through the alphabet.

    3. Extend the End
    Jane Austen did it in Pride and Prejudice—she wrote an epilogue telling us how Elizabeth and Darcy fared after the story’s last line. Take any novel, or novels, you’ve read over the past year and write an epilogue. What happens to those characters, say 1 year, 5 years, 10 years out?

    Divide up into teams, or go solo. Read the results out loud. Be as funny…romantic…or serious as you want.

    4. Literary Grab Bag
    Fill a large shopping bag or box with objects from novels. Have everyone pull out an object and guess which novel (and author), which character, and at which point in the story (if relevant) the prop is used.

    Obvious examples: stuffed tiger for Life of Pi; potato peels for Guernsey Literary Society, etc…; camera for Memory Keeper’s Daughter; sling shot for Kite Runner; a book by Russian author Nikolai Gogol for The Namesake (even better…an old overcoat!), and so on.

    5. Hollywood Bowl
    Cast a book as a movie. Pass around a bowl with folded slips of paper containing titles of recent book selections. Each member (or team of 2) draws a title and casts the movie. Take turns reading out everyone’s choices.

    Variation: Using the current book only, have everyone write his/her casting choice.

    6. Literary Snowballs
    Sounds silly, but it’s lots of fun. Divide into 2 teams on either side of the room. Hand everyone an 8 ½ x 11 sheet of paper on which to write a question from the book.

    Crumple the sheets into “snowballs” and, at a signal, throw them across the room to the other team. The team who correctly answers the most snowballs correctly wins

    2 points—to a team for each correct answer
    1 point— to the other team for each incorrect answer.

    7. Whose Line Is It Anyway?
    Chose someone to read quotes by or about various characters — from the current book or past book selections. Members try to guess who said what and when. If you want, divide into teams and keep score. (This icebreaker will require a bit of prep.)
    (Games and Icebreakers by LitLovers. Please feel free to use them, online or off, with attribution.)

    Pass The Hat
    This game is best in groups of about 10 people or less.

    Think up one or more questions per person (if the group is large have one question per person, if it’s small then you might want to have two questions each). Cut the paper up so that each question is on its own piece, fold the papers up and put them in a container.

    Each pull out a question, then ask who would like to go first (this is a better system than taking it in turns to pull a question out which can put a person on the spot with little time to think, which might be just fine for some questions, but not for others that take a bit more thought.) Once somebody has answered his/her particular question, other people might want to share their own answers.

    You’ll probably want to set a time limit per question in order to keep things moving along – you don’t have to announce this up front, just keep an eye on the time yourself and move on to the next question if things are going too slowly.

    Example Questions:
    • What was the first book you remember reading/being read?
    • What is your favorite book of all time?
    • Which book has left the most lasting impression on you?
    • Which book have you read most frequently?
    • What books are on your bedside table at the moment?
    • Name one book/author that you really can’t stand?
    • What type of books do you like reading most?
    • If you were given the money to buy a book today, what book would you buy?
    • Where’s your favorite place to read?
    • Which character in a book do you think is most like you?
    • Which character in a book would you most like to be?
    • What book do you plan to read next?
    • Which literary character would you most like to have a ‘significant relationship’ with?

    Important: The questions above assume that the group who are getting together already consider themselves relatively well read. If you’re starting a group with people who may not think of themselves as “readers”, it would be best to consider more generic questions, such as favorite sport, favorite place to visit, person they most admire, etc. This game is intended to help people feel comfortable with each other, not embarrass them by asking questions they’re not comfortable answering!

    Pair Share
    If you think that some members of your group might feel uncomfortable coming up with a quick answer to a question in front of people that they don’t know well – as in Pass The Hat – arrange people in pairs (if there’s one person left over, make a group of 3) making sure that, whenever possible, each person is with somebody they don’t know. Give each pair a short list of maybe 3-5 questions and about 10 minutes to ‘interview’ each other. Have each person report back on what they found out about the other.

    This is a game that you could use at a first meeting or just as a bit of fun at anytime – suggested by 91-year-old subscriber Antoinette Ciancarelli!

    We play BookBrowse Wordplay at our book club at least once a month. I type out the “expressions” on index cards and pass them around to the members to guess the meanings. I pass around a grab bag of inexpensive little gives to the winners and tell them to close their eyes and pull out a gift.

    This works best for groups of 8 or more. Give each person a copy of the quiz and a pencil; and about 15 minutes to find a person that fits each description, or knows the answer to the question. When the time is up, reconvene the group and have fun sharing the answers.

    These questions are ones that we thought up in a couple of minutes – you can probably come up with much better ones! Aim for about 10 to 20 questions. Use double spacing so that there’s room to write down an answer.

    For added interest, you could contact each person in advance and ask them for one interesting fact about themselves – and include these in the quiz.

    Example Quiz

    Find somebody who
    1. Has read a book of poetry in the last year.
    2. Likes to read in the bath
    3. Has fallen asleep with a book in their hands recently.
    4. Reads more than one book at a time.
    5. Likes to listen to audio books.
    6. Has been in a book group before.
    7. Has children.
    8. Has been married for more than 5 years.
    9. Will admit to being nervous being here.
    10. Moved house in the past 2 years.
    11. Can quote at least 2 lines from Shakespeare.
    12. Knows the heroine’s name in Wuthering Heights.
    13. Knows the name of one member of staff at the local library.
    14. Knows the name of Barbara Kingsolver’s first book.
    15. Can recite a tongue twister (e.g. She sells sea shells on the sea shore…..).
    16. Drives a red car.

    Examples of questions specific to one group member. Obviously you need to create questions relevant to your members…
    17. Was born in South Africa.
    18. Plays saxophone in a local band.
    19. Has a dachshund named Lilly.
    20. Whose favorite book of all time is The Phantom Tollbooth.
    21. Etc!

    • #35267
      Tammy F.

      Wow. These are all FANTASTIC and creative ideas! Thanks so much, Shona!

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