In this time of quarantine and social distancing, it can be easy to lose track of the day of the week – or the last time you called your best friend. Which is why we’re proposing a virtual hangout with purpose. A #Couchella, if you will – but way more literary. Throw a bookish party from the comfort (and safety) of your own home. Because we all know how wonderful it is to make an extrovert’s day.
Keep Things Small
It’s exciting to invite everyone you know to this virtual bookish party, but unless you’ve become a pro at setting up Zoom breakout rooms to simulate rooms in your actual home – hallway breakout room anyone? – you’ll want to stick to around eight people. It’s enough that it actually feels like a party, but few enough so that no one’s talking over each other and everyone’s showing up in the gallery view version of your favorite video conferencing software. You can have the big rager once it’s safe to gather again.
BYOB: Bring Your Own Book
Have everyone come to the party with a favorite paragraph from a book they love. Take turns going around, giving everyone a chance to read that paragraph out loud. You never know when you’re going to introduce someone to their new favorite book, plus it’ll create a beautiful open mic atmosphere in your virtual party. And here’s a fun modification for your more creative friends: ask them to write a song or a paragraph of their own based on this favorite passage. You’ll be spreading joy before you know it!
Coordinate a Recommendation Roundup
Make a game out of recommending books to each other! Use a randomizing app like Spin the Wheel or Pickster to draw the name of someone at your party. Once you’ve drawn someone’s name, you have to quickly choose a book that you think they’ll love. If they’ve already read it, you have to draw another name – and on and on until you’ve recommended a book that that person hasn’t read. Go in a circle – as much of a circle you can go in on a video call platform – until everyone has had a chance to receive a book recommendation. Pledge to buy this book from a favorite indie bookstore.
Dance to a Bookish Playlist
Put together a playlist of some of your favorite bookish songs and dance around your living rooms together. If putting together a playlist feels more like homework than a good time, check out some of our own Spotify playlists, like this one full of Literary Love Songs. Or this one, which features Literary References in Beatles Songs. Or, better yet, this playlist full of Literary Dance Songs.
Know When to Say Goodbye
Let’s be real, video calls can be both energizing and exhausting. There’s this pressure to be “on” the entire time. There’s no recharge time by the chips and guac, no time to look at your phone in between conversations. So do yourself – and your party guests – a favor and set a firm end time to your bookish party. We think an hour is a good starting point. You can always check in with your guests and see if they want to keep the party going.