LitClub:  Booktini Girls + Joey
San Jose, California

club booktini2THIS GROUP DRINKS in literature like they drink their marti.... Okay, let's not go there. Let's just say this is a "spirited" group. So ladies, do you take your books with an olive or a twist?

Let's get to that name of yours. Who's Joey?
Funny story. Our club started with all women, but one husband kept trying to sneak in.
[Sneak? He thought you wouldn't notice? —Editor]

We finally gave in and let him choose a book. He picked The Quickie by James Patterson — and we loved it! So he's in...but only when his wife doesn't come.

And the other part of the name—"Booktini"?
We love our books—we love reading! We share book conversation over dinner and drinks. It's once a month "Girltime"—something we all deserve.

Girltime . . . Joey, too?
Sure. Joey, too.

Tell us a little more about your club.
We've been around for 5 years. There are 20 of us all told—but we usually get 10 or so at each meeting. We're friends, friends-of-friends, sisters and cousins.

And where do you meet?
Occasionally at homes, but mostly at restraraunts. We're all working moms, so it's a lot easier. If you pick the book, you get to pick the restaurant. We've done Italian, Mexican Tequila bars, pizza joints, even Hawaiian—with great Hawaiian live music.

You give a quiz at each meeting?
We do. The quizzes vary—some are super hard and some are simple. We started it to make sure everyone read the book. But it eventually evolved into something just for fun. Whoever chooses the book makes up the quiz. We each give her a dollar the month before so that she can buy a gift for the winner.

What kind of gifts?
Something like a decorated martini glass with a mixer [Martinis? Ha!...knew it. —Editor] ...or a wine bottle and pretty wine glass...or Starbucks mug with a certificate. This past quiz, the winner got candles, candle holders, and a cute notebook to go with it!

Tell us what you've read this past year.

My Sister's Keeper
Push (or Precious)
Dear John
Kissing Games Of the World (Sandi Khan Shelton)
The Dream
Angelas Ashes
Say You're One of Them
The Time Travelers Wife
The Dirty Girls Social Club (Alisa Valdes-Rodriguez)
Look Again (photo, above)
The Wednesday Letters

Any favorites over the years?

The Kite Runner
Water for Elephants

Any club rules?
The club has only two rules:

  1. We take expense into account, so we never choose hardbacks.
  2. Sometimes schedules get hectic, and it's hard to pick up a book. So it doesn't matter if you read the book or not. We understand—come anyway.

What about special activities?

  • We have movie nights. We read the books—The Woman and My Sister's Keeper—then see the movies as a group (the books were definitely better).
  • For Angela's Ashes, we celebrated "Merry St. Patricks Day" (for our December meeting). We served Irish food, and everything was green, including the sangria. Finally, to enter the raffle—you had to wear green. (More prizes....we love prizes!)
  • We've had wine tasting days, and Bunco* nights.
  • We're planning a spa/wine tasting overnighter in Lodi.

Aside from fun . . . you also work with a charity.
Yes. We volunteer at the San Jose Homeless Shelter during December. In August we provide back-to-school supplies for the shelter's Family Support Division.

* For those unfamiliar with Bunco—it is a dice game going back to Britain in the 1700's. It came to the States (mainly California) shortly before the Civil War and recently has regained popularity.

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