Wednesday, May 25, 2022

Fall is a wonderful time for celebrating the arts, with theater parties, gallery openings and book parties (October is National Book Month). But if gathering friends and coordinating a massive pilgrimage to the city is too much trouble to coordinate, don’t fret. There are local alternatives you can organize in your neighborhood and fascinating soirees to arrange right in your own home.  First choose an event.

Book Parties for young and old can be held in any season, but with October as National Book Month, Fall is most appropriate.  There are all kinds of book parties to have—serious ones, silly ones, at home or to go, with or without authors. Carpool with friends and meet them at a local bookshop. Perhaps you can book a table in advance at the shop café, or make arrangements at an eatery nearby to top off your book purchases.  From a cup of espresso and biscotti to a hearty meal, you can choose a place that suits the mood, the theme and the weather.  Check your local listings for October book fairs at various venues. Certainly Teaneck General Store will be able to help you plan such an event.

If you really share a passion for words, assign some books to read and invite your friends over to discuss how they feel about what they’ve read. Everyone reads the same book, and everyone gets to give their point of view. To make it exciting, see if there are local authors you can invite to join you, either at home, in a bookshop or a library. Check your local book places to see if they have accommodations you can use.

Going out saves wear and tear on you as the hostess, and basically, you know it’s your job to foot the food bill—but you don’t pay for the books. Sugar is brain food, so indulge your guests with chestnut puree in a pie shell topped with crème fraiche and chocolate fudge with an espresso on the side.

A good place to mine for information about local authors is your local library, where the librarians in the reference section can help you with your research. Check with the community relations person at your local book shop or the big book store at the mall and see who will be presenting what and when. Find out if the book store will help you arrange a party, and enlist some people who love to read to suggest some books that they’ve enjoyed.

Once you locate your author, invite him/her to a book signing and selling party. The author can answer questions from the group and talk about what it was like to write the book and why s/he wrote it. This is particularly fun if a friend has written a book and you can introduce him or her to new “fans” who will be happy to shout, “Auteur, Auteur” and get their fresh, crisp copies of the book autographed. The author is happy, the friends are happy, and to quote a famous TV chef and cookbook author, Emeril Lagasse, “Everything is happy, happy, happy.”

The kind of book you want for your party sets the tone for the event.  Book parties can be brunches, luncheons, teas and dinners—or something as simple as chips and dips. Some groups like to pick the latest book on Judaism, or issues like the environment, feminism or politics. Others like memoirs or history and still others prefer entertainment oriented material—celebrity biographies, pretty coffee table books, and any other subject you can think of. Don’t forget westerns and science fiction—those themes lend themselves to an unusual décor and a challenging menu.

The most fun book party is a themed book party: Spy vs. Spy; murders only, romance, history, children’s books, art books, travel books—choose whatever bites your fancy, is trendy and fascinates, or stimulates the mind.

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