Chirped by Cass and Tina
Feeling a little isolated lately? Don’t give up on your book club! Reading and discussing a great book together provides connection and mental stimulation. In a virtual format, it’s also a great excuse to close yourself up in your room with friends and a glass of wine! Lol. Book clubs can work nearly as well virtually as they do in person. In some ways, they can be even better! Give your book club a New Year’s Refresh with these ideas for injecting a little more fun, swag, and kinship, while still staying safe…
Every September our book club selects new titles for the year ahead. Selection night is usually accompanied by a potluck dinner at my house. We gather together, eat, drink, and present our book ideas. Then we choose what books to read for each month. This year, due to the pandemic, we had to meet via Zoom. It was still a fun night, and we are excited about the titles we have lined up for the coming year. If you’re curious about what we chose… here’s the list!
- As Bright As Heaven, by Susan Meissner
- Untamed, by Glennon Doyle
- A Gentlemen in Moscow, by Amor Towles
- Uncle Tom’s Cabin, by Harriet Beecher Stowe
- Mrs. Kennedy and Me: An Intimate Memoir, by Clint Hill
- The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek, by Kim Michele Richardson
- The Door, by Magda Szabo’
- The Henna Artist, by Alka Joshi
- The Vanishing Half, by Brit Bennett
- The Liar, by Ayelet Gundar-Goshen
- The Boys in the Boat, by Daniel James Brown
- Once Upon a River, by Diane Setterfield
- The Last Midwife, by Sandra Dallas
- The Mother in Law, by Sally Hepworth
- The Woman in the Window, by A.J. Finn
- The Weekenders, by Mary Kay Andrews
After we pick our books for the year, I create laminated bookmarks for everyone listing all our meeting dates and the books that go with them. (Unlike some book clubs, we typically meet the last Sunday of the month, so it’s easy to reserve the date in advance.) To make bookmarks for your own club, take a look at last year’s post: Yearly Book Club Bookmarks. This year, since everyone is remote, I decided to put together gift bags with some goodies inside to go along with the usual bookmarks. With everyone social distancing and self-isolating, I figured we could all use a cheery little pick-me-up.
When Tina and I were coming up with ideas for the Book Club Starter Basket, we decided to make little hand signs to help out with virtual video calls. Trying to have a book discussion with nine or more people can be rough. Enthusiasm leads to frequent interruptions and people talking all at once. We put together a list of comments and situations that often arise during Zoom calls. Then we modified a clipart hand to create a colorful backdrop for our remarks.
After printing them on cardstock and cutting them out, we took our “Zoom Hands” to Staples and got them laminated. The hands came out on long plastic sheets – so we had to cut them out again. Let’s just say there was a lot of cutting…lol. After hole punching each one, we then connected sets of hands with paper fasteners, and they went into everyone’s gift bag.
Secret Book Pals
I added another special goody to the bags: information about a Secret Book Pal Project. Each member got a note explaining how it works, along with the name of their Secret Book Pal. Earlier in the year, I had polled the group about some of their favorite things. Armed with that information, I put everyone’s name into a bowl and selected a pal for each member of our club. The note went something like this:
SECRET BOOK PAL PROJECT
Since we are disconnected from friends and family during these times, as well as from book club, here’s an idea to help us support each other. Use it as a chance to inspire, encourage and brighten someone’s day… Welcome to the Secret Book Pal Project!
Below you’ll find information regarding one of our book club members. Send them a card, drop off a gift, mail a little trinket…. secretly, of course. Aim to do something special once a month for this person….but keep your identity a secret.
Next September, in 2021, we will guess and reveal who our Secret Book Pals were, hopefully in person!
Your Secret Book Pal is Cass!
- Address: 1234 Bird Nest Way, Migration, PA 12345
- Birthday: February 11
- Favorite Color: Purple
- Go-To Sweet Treat: Peanut Butter Cups
- Favorite Flower: Irises
- T-shirt Size: Medium
I also included their favorite sweet treat, and a dry erase marker for creating new comments, as needed, on the blank Zoom Hand we created. My house has become the exchange hub for delivering or picking up goodies for some of our members. Others are mailing their surprises, with the recipient’s address doubling as the return address, so as not to give away the sender! We’ll keep you posted on the project’s progress and our reveal party in September. I’ve already gotten feedback from a couple of club members about surprises arriving on a day when they really needed some cheering up. Sometimes just a small kindness can have a big impact.
Enjoy the Refresh!
Is your book club still meeting during the pandemic? All you need is one member with a paid Zoom account or other video chat service to stay in touch. You can chat for hours, drink all the wine you want, and no one has to drive home on dark, icy roads! (-; Inspired to start a new book club? We have tips on how to do it in our post, Book Club in a Basket. Got any great discussion books you’d like to recommend? Post them in the comments section! A good book can be a great escape – and we could all use a little of that these days!
Happy New Year!
- Book Club Starter Basket
- Yearly Book Club Bookmarks
- Book Club in a Basket
- Book Club in a Basket, Revisited…
- March’s Cheep Trills – 10 Ways to Keep Busy at Home
- After the Holidays Cheep Trills
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