Host An Unforgettable Book Club Party

Ideas for Book Selection, Decorations, Attire, Music, Food,
and Much More!

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11/22/63 by Stephen King



A teacher travels back in time to try to stop the assassination of JFK, and in doing so alters the futures of those he meets in ways he had not anticipated.

11/22/63 book cover 11/22/63 by Stephen King begins with Jake Epping, a thirty-five-year-old English teacher in Maine, who makes extra money teaching GED classes. He asks his students to write about an event that changed their lives, and one essay blows him away—a gruesome, harrowing story about the night more than fifty years ago when Harry Dunning’s father came home and killed his mother, his sister, and his brother with a sledgehammer. Not much later his friend Al, who owns the local diner, divulges a secret: his storeroom is a portal to the past, a particular day in 1958. And Al enlists Jake to take over the mission that has become his obsession—to prevent the Kennedy assassination. So begins Jake’s new life as George Amberson, in a different world of Ike and JFK and Elvis, of big American cars and sock hops and cigarette smoke everywhere. From the dank little city of Derry, Maine to the warmhearted small town of Jodie, Texas, where Jake falls dangerously in love, every turn is leading eventually, of course, to a troubled loner named Lee Harvey Oswald.   Adapted from Simon and Schuster

Book Club Ideas

Decorations

Decorations included a fedora with a yellow card, which was worn by the Yellow Card Man – the personification of the obdurate past.  We also included a butterfly (for the butterfly effect) and red roses, which Jackie Kennedy received when she and her husband arrived in Dallas.

 

red roses, fedora with yellow card, butterfly

Objects that would be found in a 1950′s diner rounded out the rest of the decorations, including these fun napkins, platters (I found these at Hobby Lobby), and Coca Cola glasses.

1950s napkins, diner platter

Diner Platters, Coca Cola glasses

Coca Cola Glasses and Diner Platter

Activities

1958 and 1963 trivia cards We had fun trying to guess the answers to trivia questions using these cards.  You could make up your own questions by doing an internet search on the 1950s and 1960s.  We also included trivia from the book such as “How many times did Stephen King use the words ‘obdurate’ and ‘harmonize’ in 11/22/63?”  This question was a joke of course, but there was a unanimous “I know!” from all the guests.

Music

There were so many fun songs mentioned in this book, such as “Splish Splash” and “My Boyfriend’s Back” but the one that had the most significance was Glenn Miller’s “In The Mood.”


Book Club Menu

George received Lone Star, the national beer of Texas, for a good deed he had done.  Even though almost all of us are from Texas, only a handful had ever tried this beer.  It was quite tasty!

Lone Star Beer

George was served tuna sandwiches and tomato soup in 11/22/63.   For appetizers, we made Tuna Salad Sandwiches served with tomatoes.

tuna, bread, tomatoes

Our menu consisted of 50′s diner fare with hamburgers, french fries and milkshakes.  A quick way to make hamburgers for a crowd is by spreading the meat out on a cookie sheet (which can be done before the party and refrigerated) and baking it in the oven.  These Oven Baked Sliders are seasoned with onion soup mix, steak sauce and fajita seasoning.

Slider, french fries, brandy alexander

Liven up a milkshake by adding a little (or a lot) of brandy to make a Brandy Alexander Milkshake.  This recipe is made with ice cream, brandy and creme de cacao.

brandy, creme de cocoa, ice cream

For dessert, we had Pound Cake.  But nobody wanted to eat it.  Hmmm….I wonder why?

Lemon Pound Cake with Lemon Icing

I addition to the pound cake, a Chocolate Milkshake Pie was served.  This pie is made with milk, ice cream and pudding mix.  So easy!

Ice cream, chocolate pudding, whipped cream


Book Club Resources

Ratings at the time this post was published

Goodreads: 4.27 stars (30,530 ratings)
Amazon: 4.4 stars (1703 ratings)
LibraryThing: 4.3 stars (120 ratings)
My Rating:  4 stars.  I love historical fiction and 11/22/63 did not let me down.  I learned several new things about Oswald and the JFK assassination which has prompted me to do more research on the subject.   At our book club, half of the members liked 11/22/63, whereas some had a hard time getting through it.  Some of the complaints were that it moved too slow or they could not get into the relationship of Sadie and George.  I would recommend this book for a book club as there are so many issues to discuss including time travel, the JFK conspiracies and our desire and obligation to help someone if we have the power to do so.

Discussion

Simon and Schuster has put together a book club kit for 11/22/63 that includes an interview with Stephen King about the book, a playlist that Stephen King listened to as he wrote 11/22/63, and recipes.  Click here to see this excellent resource.

Here are a few additional questions that we discussed during our book club meeting.

  1. Were you surprised how easily Jake, the mild-mannered teacher, could hurt people, even if it was for the greater good?  Would you have been able to do the same thing if you knew what would happen if you didn’t act?
  2. If you were able to go back and change the past, would you?  Which event would you most like to change?  What do you think the consequences would be?
  3. Stephen King writes in the afterword that his son thought up a new and better ending.  Did you enjoy the ending of the novel?   Why or why not?  If not, how would you have liked it to end?  To read the original ending, click here.   Do you agree that the published ending is better?
  4. How does this novel compare to other Stephen King novels you have read?  How is it different?

Purchase 11/22/63 at your favorite bookseller

Purchase Amazon Audiobooks at audible.com. Purchase IndieBound Purchase Kindle Books Purchase ebooks

The Author

Author Stephen King Stephen King is the author of more than fifty books, all of them worldwide bestsellers. His recent novel 11/22/63 was named a top ten book of 2011 by The New York Times Book Review and won the Los Angeles Times Prize. He is the recipient of the 2003 National Book Foundation Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters. He lives in Bangor, Maine, with his wife, novelist Tabitha King.

Recommended Reading

Stephen King lists the following book as those who felt were the most useful that he read in preparation for 11/22/63.


Do you have any other ideas or recipes for a book club party for 11/22/63? We would love to have you share them with us! You can leave a comment below and upload pictures as well.


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Share your thoughts. We love your comments!

  1. OH HOW I WANT TO WIN THIS BOOK! I realize that year seems so long ago to many readers, but it really isn’t.

    I can remember sitting in front of our black and white tv when I was, what, 7, and watching the funeral. I can remember thinking that Jackie looked like my mother. (She actually did.)

    I was also watching when Oswald was shot. Yes, I saw it live. At least I think it was live.

    (I’d upload a picture of my mother at that time, but I don’t think she’d want me to.)

    Comment by techeditor on May 10, 2012 at 12:42 pm

  2. Great book club ideas as always – Thanks Buttery Books!

    Comment by SoulSista on May 11, 2012 at 11:08 am

  3. No need to enter my name because I LOVED this book also and want everyone to read it! This is a wonderful post and thank you so much for participating in The Project! Feel free to add The Stephen King Project button to the post :)

    I really think I’m going to try that milkshake or the Chocolate Milkshake Pie that looks DEELISH. I can’t even tell you how much I wish I had been part of this book club meeting!!

    Comment by Natalie ~ the Coffee and a Book Chick on May 11, 2012 at 3:54 pm

  4. I have not read Stephen King in such a long time. I would love to read this one!

    Comment by RobinA2 on May 11, 2012 at 4:06 pm

  5. I have never read a book by this author and would love to win and read this one.

    Comment by Marjorie on May 13, 2012 at 7:56 am

  6. I would love to own this book! I’ve heard great things.

    Comment by Jack on May 14, 2012 at 12:11 pm

  7. I’d love to win – thanks for the chance. And I love your book club ideas on this theme!

    Comment by Debbie Rodgers @Exurbanis on May 14, 2012 at 1:46 pm

  8. How awesome. This is pretty thorough! We rarely get this detailed in our book discussions – I think the last theme we had was wear green for St. Patty’s day lol.
    Thanks for the giveaway!
    juliecookies(at)gmail.com

    Comment by Julie S. on May 15, 2012 at 8:22 am

  9. I haven’t read Stephen King since I was in my early twenties. I’ve been hearing a lot of good things about this book. Count me in for the giveaway!

    Comment by Cassie on May 15, 2012 at 3:29 pm

  10. This looks great!

    Comment by Mike on May 15, 2012 at 8:18 pm

  11. love to do this for my book club! great ideas for this book too! thanks

    Comment by Erin on May 16, 2012 at 10:05 am

  12. Congratulations Jack, you are the winner. Thank you to everybody who participated!

    Comment by Lisa on May 16, 2012 at 12:54 pm

  13. The whole book as a whole is great.

    Comment by Nigel Hallihan on September 4, 2012 at 2:47 pm

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