Conversations

The Sense of an Ending Book Club Gathering

 

Setting

If wanting to host away from your home why not try an Indian restaurant.  Remember when Colin, Alex and Tony met on the anniversary of Adrian's death?  This would create a great atmosphere.  Also, you could have this book club at your local pub just make sure they serve homemade chips wrapped in newspaper.

If hosting at your home, here are a few ways to create the sense of the novel.

-       wear watch heads on the inside of your wrist

-       Milk jug?
-       Photocopy a print of Chislehurst and put it in an existing frame.  Display both these items in front window for guests to see when they arrive
-       Type out the letters Mrs. Ford wrote to Tony when he and Veronica first break up, the lawyers letter (with Mrs. Ford’s note) and of course Tony’s joint letter to Veronica and Adrian ( long white         envelopes with Tony’s address in the window) 
-       Print pounds from the computer (500 to be exact) set out with letters from above
-       Large suitcase with laxative, stool softener and lets say spoons (leave it by the door your guests are expected to arrive at
-       Tea service set up on a tray in area where you will be having your book discussion
-       Tins with the Queen’s head ( I simply used existing boxes, photocopied images of the Queen and brushed image onto box with modge podge (a glue and sealer)
-       Have a sign that reads, “See no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil” pg 78
-       Have a book on a bench, something by Stefan Zweig (the book Veronica was reading on her first meeting with Tony about the diary)

-       Set up a beach blanket with a thermos of hot chocolate (bring you outdoor fountain in…recreate the Severn Bore)

 

Books

There are several books mentioned throughout the novel.  Both Tony and Veronica's bookshelves were mentioned.  Go to your local library and take out as many as you can and peruse your bookshelf, I bet you will find a few there as well.

-      you may want his and her bookshelves if you can swing it
-      books on Eros and Thanatos
-      books about Cambridge and Bristol (where our characters attend school)
-      Richard Hoggart, Steven Ruheiman, Feysenck, Bishop John Robinson, Books of Poems, Stevie Smith, Thom Gunn, Ted Hughes

 

Music

There were several mentions of music also throughout, I was lucky to have many on hand.  I did go to my local library and get the soundtrack of Un Homme et Une Femme and I played it openly, even when discussing Veronica.  Try 1812 Overture.  You could also play,

- Dvorak, Tchaikossky, Elvis, The Beatles, The Stones, The Hollies, The Animals, Donavan

- individual songs could be, The Rolling Stones, 'Time is on my Side' or Frank Sinatra's 'I've Got You, Under my Skin'

Food

I prepared most of the food from Tony's weekend visit to Veronica's house.

- fried eggs
- roast lamb with huge sprigs of rosemary 

- quiche and salad (lunch with Margaret)

- Roasted Chicken (Margaret's family recipe)

- Chargrilled hake and handcut chips served in a silver cup wrapped in newspaper

- Penne with gorgonzola and walnut sauce

- Rocket and Tomato Salad

- finish off your meal with some delicious Fruitcake

Drink

After reading this book, like Tony, I needed to down a few shots of whiskey.  Have a bottle out with glasses for your guests to help themselves.  Believe me, during the discussion part of your party, they will need one.  You can also serve beer, wine (Chilean Sauvignon Blanc perhaps, Tony's drink of choice while waiting for Adrian Jr.)  I however served a more festive drink,

Blood Orange Ginger Cosmo

3/4 tsp freshly grated ginger
1 1/2 oz vodka
1/2 oz Cointreau (Grand Marnier will work too)
1 oz freshly squeezed blood-orange juice

Place freshly grated ginger into Martini glass.  In a cocktail shaker filled with ice, combine vodka, Cointreau and blood orange juice.  Shake and strain into glass.  Garnish with orange wheel.

** If you are not a fan of ginger or it has to strong a flavour for you, add the grated ginger to the shaker then strain it.

**If oranges not in season, I used blood orange juice that I found at the Farmer's Market

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