I’ve been in a half-dozen book clubs in my life—they’ve all been a great place to find great new books, nosh on some tasty nibbles and enjoy an evening with friends.
My most recent book club meets about once a month. In December, instead of our regular format we do a holiday book swap. It’s a blast and produces more laughs than a Kirsten Wiig movie. Here are the guidelines. All is fair in love, war and bookclub!
- Everyone brings a book they enjoyed reading although, not one we’ve read for the group. Regifting is okay as long as the book is in great shape. Fancy wrapping paper can entice people to open yours early!
- While enjoying tasty finger foods and holiday-worthy beverages we pile the wrapped books on the table in the middle, then we draw numbers. Write down as many numbers as you have guests, fold them up, stick them in a hat and pass them around.
- The person who drew #1 gets to pick and open a book. Feeling and shaking of unopened packages is definitely permitted.
- Whoever brought the book that’s opened tells us a bit about it.
- The next person then gets a choice: to open another book or to steal #1′s book. If she chooses to steal, #1 opens a second book.
- Number 3 then gets to open or steal, and can steal any of the books that have been opened. If she steals, say, #1′s book, #1 can steal #2′s book or open a new package. We go on like that until everyone has a book, with the caveat that once a book has been stolen 3 times, it can’t be stolen again, except…
- Once everyone has an opened book, there is a No-Holds-Barred Round. The first chooser (original #1) can put her book in the center and steal any book she wants, even the thrice stolen ones (although the thrice stolen rule kicks in again and starts afresh at this point). The stealing goes on until someone wants the book in the center. It’s as much legal fun as you can have, and we end up knowing a lot about new books we might read, even if we didn’t get to take them home. The host takes note of which books were brought to the party once they’ve been opened and notes which have been stolen. Most stolen books are usually good holiday gift ideas for others not in the book club.
- Doesn’t have to be fiction. Some of our most stolen books have been cookbooks! The most important rule is to read a lot so you bring a great book that everyone wants.