By December 22, 2009 0 Comments Read More →

Joining in the Reindeer Games

My science fiction/fantasy group held its 6th annual Christmas Party and Reindeer Games last week. It was the first year we’d moved the party out of the library and into my house. (We were tired of vacating the premises at 9 p.m.)  The 27 people who attended filled every nook and cranny of the four rooms I could open to them, but the holiday spirit was alive and we all had a great time!

This event gets a little more extravagant every year. The group averages about 17 readers a month, but everybody who is healthy and in town comes to the party, and some of them bring family and friends. A December meeting is a great time to include loved ones: Their good will is key to keeping your readers coming back month after month.

Our party is a potluck. My wife was kind enough to contribute the turkey that she gets from her work each year. But this group likes food and we added a shrimp tray, two kinds of soup, spanakopita, assorted salads, chips, bread, and of course, two tables groaning with cakes, pies, and cookies. Nobody went hungry.

The Reindeer Games are a collection of book-related puzzles that I cook up each year. Teams rotate from puzzle to puzzle (with some rounds off for more chatting and snacking). The winners gets $5 Target gift cards. This year’s games required identifying cover images and identifying the musicians who performed a CD of songs and inserting them into the names of SF/Fantasy film titles (The Doris Day the Earth Stood Still, Paul Revere and the Raiders of the Lost Ark, Edward Elgar Scissorhands, and The Empire Strikes Bach, to name a few). The last game was “wacky wordies,” little puzzles that translate into the names of books. I’ll give you a sample of those at the end of the post.

Many book groups take December off, but for groups with a strong social element, celebrating the holiday together is important. Such groups need a good annual event to anchor their schedule. Mix food, friendship, books, and your own holiday traditions to create an event that commemorates the year.

Here are some of the wacky wordies which will translate to this format. Which science fiction and fantasy book titles are represented below? Hint: The books, in no particular order, were written by Clarke, Jordan, Pratchett, White, Willis, Vance, Ende, Fforde, and Tolkien. If you can figure out all nine, you can take the lead on Santa’s sleigh this year. Happy Holidays everyone!

1:

STOR

2:

GODS

3:

2 0 K9

4:

GNIKEHT

5:

W’I’RLD

6:

HE

ING

RTH

7:

BIBLOSTLE

8:

THE WILLIAM

9:

NEW YORK

BETELGEUSE

POLARIS

RIGEL

VEGA

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About the Author:

Neil Hollands is an Adult Services Librarian at Williamsburg Regional Library in Virginia, where he specializes in readers’ advisory and collection development. He is the author of Read On . . . Fantasy Fiction (2007) and Fellowship in a Ring: a Guide for Science Fiction and Fantasy Book Groups (2009).

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