A few months ago I accidentally bought two copies of a novel I was anxious to read. I should give it to someone, I thought. Wait, I should trade it with someone. Wait, no, I should have a book trading party!
I have been challenged by the solitude of my new writing life. I love it here in San Francisco where we have such a vibrant community of writers (SF Writer’s Grotto, Litquake, 826 Valencia, and so much more.) Still, I do miss seeing my friends from other walks of life.
So, in a fit of haphazard craziness, I sent out an electronic invitation and held a book swap party! It was satisfying. It was entertaining. I visited with a diverse group of friends. We each left with an exciting new book to read, and I donated a box of books to a local shelter. I will definitely host another party, and you should too! Here is how:
- Invitation list, think book-lovers! Who have you spoken with about a great read? They need to be there! If you know a lot of families you might want to welcome kids. My daughter hosted a less formal children’s/ YA book swap in another room.
- In the invitation describe your guidelines—maybe a genre or time period. I requested guests bring a fairly recent favorite book of any genre. Remind everyone it is not a book dump. It is an opportunity to share a favorite book, the one they can’t stop talking about.
- Ask guests to write a short review of their book. Remember to provide pens and (recycled!) sticky notepads on the book table.
- Serve snacks so guests can mingle and discuss books before the actual swap. You can even make it fun with a literary theme. We served Mint Juleps. Can you guess why?
- Determine a swap process. It should reward those who brought desirable books. Our process was the following:
- Whoever has the closest birthday chooses the first book they want.
- Whoever brought that book gets to choose next. And so on.
- If someone gets a second turn before everyone has selected a book, they get to choose who goes next.
I hope to see you at a book swap soon!