How to Start a Book Club Tea Group

How to Start a Book Club Tea Group
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Editor's Note: Tamara has provided us with another wonderful Tea Time idea! Click on the Name of the books mentioned for more information on the title or series.
Sunday Tea-Time Jigsaw Puzzle What is a book club? A group of people who want to read the same book over a given period of time and then come together to discuss it.

Where does the tea part come in? Some groups like to meet at coffee or tea houses, churches, or even restaurants. Some groups prefer a setting a bit more casual, and choose to meet in someone's home. This can be the same individual's home each meeting time, or it can rotate amongst the group members. The host gets to choose the refreshments, so if your group loves coffee, perhaps you each host a coffee in your home; if your group prefers tea, then afternoon tea is served.

This is how the book club I attend, the Augustus Snodgrass Book Club, usually goes about our book club meetings. One person from the group decides to host the tea. They then get to choose the book and the date (around six weeks from the last one). They send out the invitations to all of us. We all read the book and show up for tea at the hostess's house on the appointed day. We have tea and discuss the book. Our group really loves to read and is GREAT about getting onto a lot of interesting, interpretive questions and discussions. So far we have read The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe and The Great Divorce both by C.S. Lewis, Little Women by Louisa May Alcott, Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen, Silas Marner by George Eliot, The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Watership Down by Richard Adams, To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee, Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom and right now we are reading Cry the Beloved Country by Alan Paton. Our group tends to be fairly literary in our choices (thus our name, The Augustus Snodgrass Book Club), but other book clubs often read best sellers, or new releases. You can even have a book club that chooses to read books within a specific genre, such as mysteries, biographies, science fiction, fantasy or theology. It just depends on the members and what they want to read.

The Tea Table

As for the tea table, that varies according to each member's personality. Sometimes tea times are very proper and other times they are quite informal. It really doesn't matter as long as the atmosphere lends itself to fun, fellowship and conversation. You might even want to add some whimsy to your tea time and bring in some themes from your book:

Silas Marner - linen table cloths and napkins; sprinkle chocolate gold coins around the table; display flowers in a brown jug. Send linen bags of chocolate coins home as favors.

Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe - you must serve Turkish delight, welsh rarebit and English tea. What about displaying or sitting things around in an antique amoire?

The Brothers Karamazov - Russian tea with lemon, served from a Samovar would be just stunning! Russian tea cakes would be a must.

Cry the Beloved Country - Cover the tables in African cloths. Serve African tea (I prefer Kenyan tea, but the novel is set in South Africa.) Set wooden animals around. If you are crafty, find or paint a ceramic tea pot with zebra stripes or giraffe or leopard spots. If you could find inexpensive tea cups, that would be fun too! Serve tea in your garden.

Tea Favors

Tea favors are optional. You might have one or two larger ones to give away as door prizes; one drawing for just coming, and one drawing for everyone who finished the book. Here are some ideas for book and tea favors, but you might consider some that go better with your theme:

~ Tea cup candles - these are easy to make and can be quite inexpensive if you find you tea cups at garage sales or the good will.

~ Tea cup pincushions - these would be fun to give away with a book like Little Women.

~ Tea cup or tea pot flower arrangements - individual tea pots are quite small and make delightful little flower arrangements. We have found them at discount stores for as little as $1 each!

~ Old Book Centerpieces - garage sales and the good will again. Find some nice looking old books and decorate them with a little gold paint, or gilding. Then, cover with ribbons, flowers, lace, and doo-dads. A little creativity goes a long way!

~ Bath teas and truffle soaps - these are fairly easy to make with a few herbs, essential oils and some sealable tea bags. The truffle soaps take a little more skill.

~ Tea cup or Tea pot chocolates or cookies - Brown Bag cookie molds have some cute tea pots that can be used to mold chocolate for gifts, not just for cookies. Wrap them in a cellophane bag and tie a ribbon and some flowers around it.

~ Book markers - these can be made from almost anything and can cost very little!

Finishing Touches

At the end of the tea, the next host announces the next book title and the next tea time. That way we can all rush out and get a copy of the book on our way home! For order's sake, you may want to have one person in charge, so that the members can approach him or her about hosting the next tea. If your group is rather amiable, as is mine, we sometimes just wait until the next book club to decide who wants to host and choose a book.

Periodic movie nights, to watch film versions of the books can be really fun as well! It is always interesting to see how the film version never lives up to the book, but still allows you to gain some great insight into the story.

Book clubs are a great deal of fun and a wonderful way to encourage yourself and the rest of your family to turn off the T.V. and read! Even the slight amount of accountability of knowing that there will be a discussion is enough to spur on even a reluctant reader to finish a book. It also brings a great deal of enjoyment to share not only your own favorite books, but to experience books and authors your friends have enjoyed as well. Reading is an incredible pastime and should be enjoyed by all of us, so talk to your friends and get a book club won't be sorry!

Tamera's Tea Series

Tea History

High and Low Teas

Napkin Etiquette

Tea Etiquette

Tea Ideas and Tips!

Bridal Teas and Recipes

Starting a Tea Club

Tea Recipes


About The Author

Tamera is a stay-at-home-wife who loves to cook, read, write, garden and craft. She has a free email newsletter called Tamera's Tea Time Talk and Culinary Chatter.

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