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 Book Club Gathering for Beginner's Greek

 

There are two diverse ways to host a Beginner's Greek Gathering.  First, we want to create a party in accordance with the dinners Arthur Beeche had become notorious for.  

Pg. 36 "What is more, it looked as if Peter was in line to receive an invitation to dinner at Beeche's house. Arthur entertained often, and his dinners were legendary for the quality of food and drink and for the glamour of the guests."

The first item to cross off your to do list, invitations.  This can be done via an online website or like Arthur himself, invites done on square heavy stationery paper with the font style old fashioned.  On the outside, you must handwrite your guest's name, a very Arthuresque personal touch.  This is quite stylish.

Page 267 "Something important happened to Pete shortly after Charlottes return.  He went into his office one morning and on his desk he found a large square envelope with "Mr. Peter Russell" written by hand on it.  Peter opened the envelope - not easy, since the paper was so heavy - and withdrew a thick card; "Mr. Arthur Beeche requests the pleasure of your company...." So it had come; his first invitation to one of Beeche's dinners."

We recommend the dinner be on a Thursday evening, just like our book.  The author describes the exterior of Mr. Beeche's home.  WOW!  My suggestion would be to just make the front of your home as appealing as possible.  Try tall potted plants, solar lights illuminating the walkway; even candles in mason jars placed all around would be a great touch.  If your significant other is staying home put them to work taking your guests coats and escorting them in.  Sorry, just had a laughing fit...mine would so hit the road at this point.

Once inside your home have a designated eating area, preferably not the kitchen.  At Arthur's party the tables were set up in two different rooms, neither of which were the dining room. (Page 308)  Have a few small trays placed around with glasses of wine and scotch (or your drinks of choice).  Don't forget  a small ice bucket too. This will enable your guests to help themselves to a drink and begin to mingle.  Be sure to have a lot of fresh flowers around, go for a few unique ones if you can.  Have a bell handy and ring it when you would like your guests to make their way to the table.

Now here is where it can get interesting, have name tags at the table for your actual guest or the name of one of the guests in the book.  Remember Isabella, Seth, Otis and Lisa?  Page 342 describes the after party scene with tablecloths, flowers, two champagne glasses and the ice bucket with the empty bottle in it.  See if you get inspired here to add some champagne to the party...heck I am having a sip right now!

The meal can be printed on menu cards.  In the book they had homard aux aromates, or as I like to call it, lobster with herbs; gigot de presale braise, braised or roasted leg of lamb.  For dessert, reine de saba, a rich chocolate cake with almonds.  We feel the meal must be delicious but it certainly isn't the main course of this party.  The conversation and the friendships that form, are.

Like Arthur you can finish off your evening with coffee, brandy and cigars...the black licorice kind.  

This party is still about discussing Beginner's Greek.  Invest some time on preparing the questions or consult our Questions and Answers section, you are not just the host you are the chairperson!

Let us know how your gathering turns out.  Cheers! 

 

The second option for a book club gathering is not as elegant and sophisticated as dinner at Arthur Beeche's. This gathering takes place aboard an airplane, or so you will lead your guests to believe.

The 'Beginner's Greek' inflight service is now commencing....

To inform your book club about the details of the gathering, be creative with the invites, have them appear as boarding passes.  Instead of using paper, email the boarding pass invites.  After all, we are becoming paperless travellers.  List your house as the 'Gate' the flight is leaving from, provide departure time, and list Los Angeles as the destination.   "Peter figured, realistically, that the occurrence he envisioned would be more likely to take place on a long trip." (Prologue)

Peter and Holly's chance encounter happened in coach, so don't go overboard with the 'first class' food presentation.  Place all food items on little plates in individual portions, wrap and label with the contents.  Roll plastic utensils in napkins and wrap in cellophane.  Be creative with the labeling, personalize for each member, hopefully you have a vegetarian in your group.  Remember no children's meals on this flight.

Set out wicker bowls with mini packages of cocktail peanuts, pretzels, and Pringles.  If you have a cart of some type stage it as your drink center.  Have many cocktail napkins on hand to place under the beverages.  Plastic stir sticks for the paper coffee cups.  Remember to include many mini bottles of vodka, wine, rum, Bailey's and bourbon.  This is ok even for morning departures; you never know the time zone some of your passengers have arrived from.

Don't forget to include a copy of The Magic Mountain by Thomas Mann.  Write Holly's name and a number on a piece of paper and place it somewhere on the floor.  Have fun seeing if someone discovers the number and picks it up.  Oh, wouldn't this story have been different if Peter had been able to keep track of that piece of paper.

Feel free to set out other foreign literature novels that a 'beautiful, intelligent, patient and interesting young woman' might be seen reading on an airplane.  Ask members of your book club for suggestions and to bring any they have on hand.  I am sure you all fall into the above category and will have many books to add.

Announce the beginning of your book club meeting as a flight attendant would announce the beginning of the flight.  Remember to use your grown up voice when making this announcement.  In case of an infight emergency, be sure to point out all the exits, and go over emergency exit protocol, always finish your drink before deplaning.

Meet your arriving guest at the door with a 'Welcome Aboard" and thank your departing guest for flying with 'BG Airlines', 'Bye Bye now', 'Have a nice evening', 'See you again soon', 'Thank you for flying our friendly skies'.

 

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