I finally had the party I’ve been dreaming about for a couple of years. I just can’t even tell you how great it was. All of my favorite things were in one place; a LARGE group of people, fine china, lights, LOSTie stuff and books! The weather could not have been more perfect. I was overwhelmed with excitement as each person arrived and when my husband started playing the dinner music I was grinning so big I was about to bust! It was a fabulous, fabulous night!!
Most of you know that the reason I had this party was to celebrate the completion of a reading goal. (The LOST Book Club). About a year into the challenge, probably on a day when I was weary of the task, I thought to myself…”When I get done with this thing, and I will finish, I’m gonna have myself a big dinner party to celebrate.” I wanted to invite those who followed me, encouraged me, and basically listened to me talk about these books for the three years it took me to get through them. So when I began reading the last book, a chunkster that I knew would take me a few months to read, I started putting things in motion for a party. Now the party really was about the books, and not so much about LOST. But it was hard to separate the two themes, and when I quit trying to, it just got more and more fun!.
Here’s how it all went down:
Invitations to Darlene’s Big Book Bash were sent out via email. I really love formal, printed invitations but it’s hard to beat ‘free’. Besides, there were other things I wanted to sink my money into. So I designed a festive evite, sent it out, and commenced to spending my moo-lah on other things.
As guests arrived they were greeted by my friend Jen. They were issued a name tag with a nick name already filled in, and they registered their nick name for prizes. Then they enjoyed crab dip and conversation before dinner. The nick names were so much fun! They were based on the nick names that Sawyer, a character from LOST, gave to other characters on the show. Sawyer was a sarcastic, red-neck-type fellow, who was very well read, and he had a name for everyone in every situation. He even lost a bet on the island once and had to go days without using any nick names. It was a challenge for him! Seeing my friends walk around with “Hello, My Name is…Pippi Longstocking”, “Mr. I Speak to Dead People” and “Amarillo Slim” on their name tags was just hilarious!
Before dinner I had an opportunity to welcome everyone, mention a few “thank-yous” and call attention to a few special guests. Now there were nearly 70 people at this party and honestly, I could have said something special about everyone. But then we never would have eaten so I left it at these… and a few more.
**Cynthia is a girlfriend of mine from college who drove all the way up from Florida just to be there. (I live in North Carolina). I would have totally understood if she couldn’t make the trip, or just chose not to because it was so far away, but she knew what the party meant to me and really wanted to come. At the party I gave her a special gift, a copy of On the Road by Jack Kerouac. It was one of the books on my list and I thought it was appropriate since she made her own road trip to come. A few other friends from college were there as well and a few couldn’t make it, but I know they are all forever friends and I am so thankful for them.
**Lisa is a friend I’ve had from WAY back in the fifth grade. We went to school together and took dance together. We went to separate high schools and lost touch sometime then. Twenty-five-ish years later we found each other on facebook. We discovered that we only live about an hour apart and we both loved LOST. She followed me on my reading quest and I was so happy to see her at the party. It was the first time we’d seen each other since we were teenagers!
**Alison is a friend that I had never met face to face before my party. We met on facebook because we had a mutual friend who watched LOST and the three of us would discuss the show after episodes would air. Not only did she come to my party from a couple of hours away, she brought this cake:
After the special introductions, everyone sat down for dinner. The music was specially selected to have connections to LOST. Several of the songs came directly from the show but a few of them I came up with myself because they fit the theme. The whole compilation was great for an outdoor, late, summer party. My boys and a few other teens did an awesome job refilling drinks and clearing plates. They made me proud!
My favorite thing about the tables were the centerpieces. Jessica and I scoped out three libraries in the area and checked out multiple copies of the 50 books on the list. Marcy decopaged mason jars with book print and a special quote from each of my top ten books. (Ten tables, ten jars, ten quotes), I thought we would just stack the books in the middle of the table and set the jar on top and that be it. So that’s what we did while setting up. Then I went home to get ready and when I came back, Marcy had done magic!! I was so in love with what she had done with staggering the books and the jars, candles and reading glasses. It was way better than what I would have done. Don’t you love this??
On the Menu:
Marinated Grilled Pork Loin and/or Tuscan Pork Loin stuffed with cream cheese, spinach, bacon, peppers and Italian seasoning. Yum!
Baked potatoes, salad, and rolls.
Tea and water
Dessert: LOST cake, Coconut cake, and Chocolate cheesecake.
Oh, and there was a “book cake” that I ordered, made to look like a stack of three of the books on the list: Catch 22, On the Road and Alice in Wonderland. It didn’t turn out quite right-as the baker mixed up the wrong colors for the covers and titles of the books, AND it kind of melted and slothed over. But it tasted good and was funny to look at.
After dinner it was time for the giveaways. I played a couple of video clips first. One was a bonus feature on the season 3 dvd set of LOST. This one explained the purpose of literature on the show. It’s wonderful and if you haven’t seen it, you really need to. It’s inspiring! (for me) You can watch it here:
The other video clip was a montage of Sawyer using the nick names. I played this one to give the folks who didn’t watch the show some context for the name tags. And I used the nick names they registered with to draw for prizes. So when someone won a prize, it was like this:To Kill a Mockingbird goes to…. Moonbeam! The prizes were copies of my Top Ten favorite books from the list. (You can read about my Top Ten here). After the door prizes were given it was time for dessert and dancing, but not before I gave everyone an opportunity to take a vocabulary quiz. I created the quiz using words from Ulysses, Our Mutual Friend, Survivors of the Chancellor and a couple of Narnia books. It was intentionally difficult….cause that was more fun.:)
The party lingered with lots of great dancing. A lot of which, I missed, because I was roaming around yacking with people. It felt kind of like a wedding, where you miss so much of it, even though you were there. You plan and plan and then it’s over, just like that. Sigh…
There was a parting gift for everyone. Something to encourage them to read. This is one of the things I really wanted the most for the party and everyone was surprised and delighted to have them. I think they turned out great. And a few of the guests told me they are inspired to read some of the books I mentioned. This makes me happy.
At the end of the night, like true friends, so many stuck around and helped me clean. Actually, a lot of friends helped me pull this thing together to begin with and I couldn’t have done it without them. My poor book club has heard me talk about this party and plan this party for well over a year and they were a tremendous help. I had great help setting up, tearing down, cooking and serving. I’m still in the process of thanking everyone.
Someone asked me other day what was next. Well, now that the reading challenge is done and the party is over, I am enjoying being project free. I think I’ll stay that way for a while. When I get into something, it kind of high jacks my life. I don’t have any regrets, but I don’t have any desire to jump into anything else right now. I’m still reading, but I’m reading for me. You have no idea how freeing that is! I’m considering making my 2015 reading challenge and goal free. That sounds marvelous!
I created a slideshow with pictures from the party. You can view them at my next post, LOST Book Bash Part 2. Enjoy!