What is a reading party? In short, guests gather, usually in a home, to read together. Unlike a book club, reading parties encourage participants to read different books, in companionable quiet. Some reading parties are silent, while others invite bookish conversation. Reading parties are perfect for participating in reading challenges or marathons. You and your friends can work towards your goal together. Try these tips for hosting the best reading party ever.
Think of a reading party like a sleepover without sleep. Cozy is the name of the game. Blankets, floor pillows, sleeping bags, all things soft and comfortable. Maybe even some sheets, in case anyone wants to bring back the blanket fort. If you have them, use air mattress to create little reading nooks. Rearrange furniture to create a party room that invites conversation, but gives space for guests to read by themselves. Cover up the TV with a sheet. It’s all about reading tonight.
Overhead lights can be harsh and ugly, but you’ll still need light to read by. Move any lamps you have to the party space. Use white Christmas lights to add a glow to the room. This fairy light effect also looks great in Instagram pics. If you want to light candles, try not to use too many scented candles as scents can be too heavy or distracting. Place unscented tea lights or battery operated candles anywhere you want a little bit more cozy light, like the bathroom or around coffee tables. If it’s cold outside, build a fire for warmth and crackling ambiance.
At any party, snacks are key. Regardless of how long your party is going to be, look for snacks that go well with reading. Non-messy, easy to munch on snacks like popcorn, trail mix, and cheese and crackers are great. If you want to go more literary, you can whip up some snacks based on your favorite characters.
Feed all the hobbits and dwarves and elves at your party with An Unexpected Cookbook by Chris-Rachael Oseland
Create a meal of classic American home cooking with recipes from The Little Women Cookbook by Jenne Bergstrom and Miko Osada
Conjure up delicious cauldron cakes from The Unofficial Harry Potter Cookbook by Dinah Bucholz
For drinks, offer a variety of yummy teas or cocoas, with plenty of mugs. Thrift stores are a great place to find quirky mugs that won’t cost you much. Make a big batch of hot chocolate or hot cider in a slow cooker so guests can refill their mugs. Brew a fresh pot of coffee just before your guests arrive to give your home that delicious coffee shop scent. Keep a pitcher of drinking water and glasses out for easy access.
Serve up some literary cocktails during a break in reading.
Find drink inspiration in Literary Libations by Amira Makansi
Some readers prefer silence, but others like to listen music or ambient sound. I’m in the latter category. I love listening to movie scores and classical music while reading, with the volume soft. Ask your guests to bring their favorite reading music to share, or play your own playlist in the background. I really enjoy the Classical Romance playlist on Spotify for reading. There are plenty of ambient noise channels on youtube and other services with soothing spa music, crackling fires, or even a Hogwarts common room. Rainymood.com is my favorite “ambient” noise for working or reading.
The idea with a reading party is that everyone brings whatever book they’ve been reading. Have some extra books available in case anyone finishes their book and wants to keep reading.
Invite guests to bring a book or two that they’re ready to pass along, so everyone can leave the party with new reading material. Book exchanges are a fun way to find new favorites and explore new genres. Designate one spot for exchange books so guests can browse freely.
Whether your reading party is overnight or simple and cozy Sunday afternoon, your guests will go home sleepy, happy, and buzzing with new stories.
Happy reading, bookworms!