Celebrating Books & Culture in DC

Last Saturday I had the pleasure of joining a book club in DC for their monthly meeting. My book, HOLLYHOOD, had been selected by Leigh Robinson Warfield for the group to read. Now I’ve belonged to a book club or two. I even started my own here in Brooklyn a few years ago. I’ve attended book launch parties, book salons and book events at museums. Yet, I was a bit unprepared for what my host had in store.

You see, this is no ordinary book club. Connected by blood , community and time, (they have been together for 11 years!) this intimate group of bibliophiles do not simply read books, they celebrate books as well as culture by creating themes and cuisines based on the book. While discussing a book about Rome, they eat like Romans. How cool is THAT?

These ladies don’t just sip coffee, nibble on muffins or feast on potluck. This group dines. Well. Leigh, our host, set a dinner table at her home fit for the Obamas! The beauty of her brilliant presentation was in the details. The dinner menu cards were designed with the book cover in mind. There was Hollyhood water. (This thoroughly impressed me) And if for some reason you had not been wowed yet by her elegant setting, Viola! A jar of baby food beneath your dinner napkin. ( Naja Starr, the actress in HOLLYHOOD, eats baby food to control her weight.) From the flowers and candles to the assorted Georgetown cupcakes and bottles of bubbly, Leigh's book club presentation was far more holly than hood.

The menu represented three characters from the novel. We devoured My Man Ty Shrimp, Off the Chain Leede Chicken and Waffles and Naja Starr Salad. Of course, we discussed HOLLYHOOD, but mostly we talked about life, celebrities, men, cheating men,history, books and the arts. We ate and talked long enough for our food to settle and eat again.

Having a discussion with readers always gives a writer insight on their work. But this experience gave me new insight on what a book club could be. It was a rare and gratifying treat to join these women who are dedicated to celebrating books, authors, culture, life and themselves…. on a monthly basis. Thank you, Leigh, Dianne, Ruth, Sondra, Gloria, Pam and Anita for inviting me into your book world. I enjoyed it immensely.

P.S. Leigh, I hear the White House needs a Social Secretary. You've got my vote!

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