Entertaining forum: Literary Dinner

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ImageGwen
Mar 6, 2010 4:18 PM CST
Name: Gwen
Langley WA
I'm going to do a book/literary-themed dinner for 6 couples. Any clever ideas for decorating, food, anything? I'll be asking people to bring their favorite books and/or books they've recently read to share.
planolinda
Mar 20, 2010 9:54 PM CST
Name: linda
texas
sorry i just saw this now so most likely too late for suggestions
but i would like to read what you came up with
my book club is small and laid back but a lot of times whoever hosts it will make foods that were mentioned in the book-or of the same ethnicity as in the book or somehow related to the book--so you could choose something from one of your favorite books and make it---
look for book trivia to be an ice breaker
linda
ImageGwen
Mar 21, 2010 10:58 AM CST
Name: Gwen
Langley WA
No, I haven't done it yet. It will be sometime in April, so soon!

I'm going to try and make some sort of bookmark-looking thing to use as placecards. I read that you can get some sort of special printing paper that you can then print onto on your computer and then iron onto fabric. I have some white napkins I've never used (hotel looking sort of napkins) and I thought about coming up with quotes from books that mentioned food and putting them on the napkins. Trouble was after about 3 hours of seaching on the 'net, I only came up with six quotes and I need twelve. (I'll put them in a separate post.) I didn't want to iron them permanently onto the napkins unless they were food quotes. So what I might do is just print famous quotes from books onto pieces of paper and have them around on the table and people can try and guess which book they were from. I'm trying to use these as conversation starters.

I wanted to have some conversation starters that relate to books; otherwise, this group will be chatting away on every other topic under the sun. Which is fine, but I thought what would make this evening memorable after the fact was that there was some conversation that was 'different' from other dinner parties.

I don't know if I mentioned, but our dining room is also our library, so the setting lends itself to this theme!

I haven't really come up with too many ideas. I've spent a lot of time on the web and there just don't seem to be many literary-themed dinners!

I did find a website and apparently there's a tv show that does a menu based on a book each episode. We don't get tv, so I've never heard of it. I thought I had bookmarked the site, but now I can't find it. Sad They didn't really have ideas that would translate to my dinner, but it was a fun site.

Anyhow, if you have any ideas, it's not too late and I'd love to hear them!

Here's a photo of the dining room/library. This was taken right after we completed the shelves, before they were all full. Now they're overflowing. I also have my doll collection in there. When I was little, one of my uncles was a pilot for TWA and he flew the international route. He would bring me back dolls from other countries. When I got older and began to travel myself, I continued the collection. Growing up, my dad had built a doll cabinet that was the shape of the one in this photo but was freestanding and hung up on the wall. I couldn't get my mom to give it to me (begged for years), so when we did this room, I had it incorporated into the design.

Thumbnail by Gwen

ImageGwen
Mar 21, 2010 11:00 AM CST
Name: Gwen
Langley WA
Here are the six quotes I found so far:

"Soup of the evening, beautiful soup!"
- Lewis Carroll, Chapter 10, Alice in Wonderland

It is said that the effect of eating too much lettuce is 'soporific'.
Beatrix Potter
The Tale of the Flopsy Bunnies

That's a piecrust promise. Easily made, easily broken.
Mary Poppins

Please sir, May I have some more?
Oliver Twist, Charles Dickens

There is no love sincerer than the love of food.
George Bernard Shaw (1856 - 1950), Man and Superman (1903) act 1

It's the company, not the cooking, that makes a meal.
Kirby Larson, Hattie Big Sky, 2006

ImageGwen
Mar 21, 2010 11:14 AM CST
Name: Gwen
Langley WA
Also, I want to do something really fun with the chairs. I bought the table back in about 1984 or so. I spent years looking for chairs to go with it and finally found them in 2007 or so! They are 'Amish church school' chairs. They have a spot under the chair where books can sit and also a slot on the back where you could have a book or two.

I stuff xmas greens in there at xmas time and have put stuffed bunnies in there at Easter. One year I tied plaid ribbons around stuffed bears and put them in there with the xmas greens. As soon as I saw the chairs in the store, I immediately fell in love with them because they had so many fabulous decorating possibilities. It's just a little bonus that they are incredibly comfortable to sit in! Smiling

So what do you think I should do with them for the party? Just sticking books in them doesn't really seem like enough. Esp since they usually have overflow books in them anyway!

My mind usually tends to the too expensive and takes too much time. All I've come up with so far would be to do a little 'scene' in each chair that coordinated with the ironed-napkin quote. Rolling my eyes. Thumbs down Too expensive and would take too much time to think up each scene and then find everything to complete it.

Another idea I've had, not relating to the chairs, but for the party in general, is for party favors to give each couple a copy of The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, which is my most recent favorite book. I tried to find cheapo copies either thru Amazon or thru the sellers on Amazon that sell used copies (many of which are in near perfect condition), but I guess the book is still too popular because there weren't any cheap enough to qualify. I would only need five. I wonder how much they are at Costco.....

Thumbnail by Gwen

ImageGwen
Mar 21, 2010 11:16 AM CST
Name: Gwen
Langley WA
Another view of the chair and the 'book back' to give a better idea of what I have to work with.

Thumbnail by Gwen

planolinda
Mar 21, 2010 5:39 PM CST
Name: linda
texas
oh i just love all of your ideas! i am such a book lover and just wish i could come!!

love the chairs too--maybe the chairs could have flower arrangements that go with a popular book--or wild flowers with the legend that goes with it--legend of the bluebonnet by tomi depaola for example

i did go to one book club group that had a basket of questions written on little papers and they passed it around--each person took a turn reading her question and answering it--you could do that with your guests-since they are bringing a favorite book along--"what made this book so special to you?" "was there a character you related to the most in your book?" "can you think of a different setting or time that would also work for your story?" "is the book special to you because of the time you read it? or would you have felt the same way any time you were to discover the book?"
linda
ImageGwen
Mar 21, 2010 8:55 PM CST
Name: Gwen
Langley WA
I wish you lived closer too!

Those are great questions. Because there are men coming, who aren't used to book clubs and I don't want to put them on the spot, I think what I'll do is type up a list of these questions and have it as sort of a 'cheat sheet' for people who may not really know what to talk about regarding the book(s) they brought. Do you have any other questions I should include? I really like this idea and these questions!

We picked a date for the party today - it's 4/24. So still lots of time for more ideas!!!
planolinda
Mar 22, 2010 4:11 PM CST
Name: linda
texas
did the book change you or your thinking in any way?

have you read other books by the author? do you know of others? how would you describe his/her style of writing

who do you think would NOT like the book and why?
linda
ImageMiniMama
Apr 1, 2010 3:37 PM CST
Name: Sarah
Georgia
Heres another quote for you- "All sorrows are less with bread." ~Miguel de Cervantes, Don Quixote
ImageGwen
Apr 1, 2010 7:05 PM CST
Name: Gwen
Langley WA
Good one - thanks! Now I've got 7. It turns out we're only have 10 people, so I only need 3 more!
ImageGwen
Apr 25, 2010 4:31 PM CST
Name: Gwen
Langley WA
Our party was last night and it turned out great. Not exactly as I had planned but everything still turned out very nice.

When I went to print onto the napkins, I discovered I did not have as many as I thought. I only had 6. So instead I printed the quote onto paper and made bookmarks for each place setting. The guests took them home at the end of the night.

These were the quotes I ended up using:

Soup of the evening, beautiful soup!
Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland

It is said that the effect of eating too much lettuce is 'soporific.'
Beatrix Potter, The Tale of the Flopsy Bunnies

That's a piecrust promise. Easily made, easily broken.
Pamela Travers, Mary Poppins

Please, sir, may I have some more?
Oliver Twist, Charles Dickens

It's the company, not the cooking, that makes a meal.
Kirby Larson, Hattie Big Sky

All sorrows are less with bread
Miguel de Cervantes, Don Quixote

Then let's sit comfily down and eat everything.
A.A. Milne, Winnie the Pooh

If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.
J.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit

It's more fun to talk to someone who doesn't use long difficult words but rather short easy words like "What about lunch?"
A.A. Milne, Winnie the Pooh

Truly, thou art damned like an ill roasted egg, all on one saide.
William Shakespeare, As You Like It

Thumbnail by Gwen

planolinda
May 13, 2010 7:54 PM CST
Name: linda
texas
i really enjoyed your picture, quotes and update--tell me more please
linda
ImageGwen
May 17, 2010 2:10 PM CST
Name: Gwen
Langley WA
Linda, What would you like to know?

:) Gwen

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