Thursday, December 10, 2009

Book Club Exchange - Natalie of The Sweets Life

I'd like to welcome Natalie of The Sweets Life, Pictures & Recipes from some of our sweet (and savory) eats! to Book Club Exchange. I absolutely love her guest post about book clubs and especially how they can bring people together regardless of age. I also enjoyed all of her fabulous recipe ideas for book club meetings!

Natalie of The Sweets Life

I have always loved reading. I have vivid memories of racing through tests in grade school so that I could pull out my library book and escape to another world. There were many school nights when my parents would find me reading under the covers with a flashlight, promising myself one more chapter, which turned into two, and then three... And summers were the best! My mom would take me to the library where I would select a large stack of books before rushing home to the front porch where I'd lie on the stairs in the hot sun plowing through book after book.

So, as you can see, I grew up an avid reader. I also grew up envious of my mom's book club. I found this group of women so alluring, though my interaction with them was minimal. The few times a year my mom hosted, I had the privilege of hearing the women downstairs laughing and discussing while I eavesdropped from my bedroom. After they ate, my sister and I would sneak down and pick at the delicious leftovers my mom had prepared for the group. They always seemed to enjoy their book club meetings, and as I grew older I began to read some of their same books, which I could then discuss with my mom.

Now, years later, I finally have my own book club to be a part of. When I moved to St. Louis after college and started working, my first manager discovered I liked to read and immediately invited me to join her group. That was now almost a year and a half ago. I have relished this opportunity to be in a book club. It expands my horizons, forcing me to read books that I typically wouldn't pick up on my own accord (examples include Princess, which I loved, and Then We Came to the End, which I didn't!). I enjoy the discussions we have--both book-related and non-book-related--and I'm thankful that the group has included me, despite the age difference (I'm the youngest by quite a few years!).

These monthly meetings remind me of my mom's book club meetings, full of good food, good conversation, and ultimately, good friends. My mom, my grandma, and I, all book club members, continue to recommend books to one another and share our book club reading lists. So not only does my book club connect me to fellow women who love to read, but it strengthens the bond between my mom, grandma, and I, of which I am forever grateful!

Finally, because I am a food blogger, I think it's only appropriate that I point out a few suggestions for food to serve at your next book club meeting. Because while we all love the books, everyone's also there for the food, right? :)

-This soup is actually what I served to my book club last year, who loved it!

-This tuna chickpea salad would be an awesome light dinner!

-If your group sticks to appetizers, consider making these quesadillas or, my favorite, the praline party mix

-Finally, for a dessert, you can't go wrong with peanut butter pie or these ginger cookies


Natalie lives in St. Louis, Missouri with her husband, Ryan. Her favorite things include running, reading, and baking/cooking. When she isn't doing one of those three, she loves to plan social gatherings for her friends and research dream vacations! Check out her blog for yummy, easy recipes!

I am especially grateful to Natalie for sharing some information about her book club experiences along with some terrific recipes. If you are interested in participating in a future Book Club Exchange, please contact me at bookingmama(at)gmail(dot)com.


Sandy Nawrot said...

Boy, her memories of reading as a child sure bring back memories for me too! (I actually participated in reading contests at the local library, for the most books read over the summer!). I think it is great that a food blogger is also such a passionate reader...maybe she should start another blog!

bermudaonion said...

I love her memories of her mom's book club. It's wonderful that Natalie is keeping up the book club tradition in her family.

Serena said...

great guest post for the Book Club Exchange. I like how her manager invited her to join her book club once she realized Natalie liked to read!

rhapsodyinbooks said...

I love the recipes! Thanks for linking to them!

Amused said...

These book club exchanges just keep getting better and better! Another great one!