Jilliann Dreher, Jackie Colvin, Mary Cassidy, Rivers Hughey, Rae Vasquez, Catherine Stone, Alex Layfield, Missy Brashiers, Lindsay Perque, Erin Kilgore & Kieffer Petree

Not your mother’s book club: This group of women makes reading a reason to celebrate

Every book club consists of three major components: a book, people and opinions. The women of the No Shelf Control book club have added a unique twist to the traditional tenets of a book club, though. They believe that a good book is also a great excuse for a party.

No Shelf Control started in August 2020 as a way for six friends to keep in touch and maintain a sense of normalcy through the uncertain times of the COVID-19 pandemic. Since then, the club has grown to 16 members with a waitlist to join.

Kieffer Petree, Erin Kilgore & Rivers Hughey

“Multiple initial members always wanted to do a book club, so when my friend Jackie Colvin texted about a book club to a handful of us, we all jumped on the idea,” says Alex Layfield. “It started with just six of us on a Zoom meeting, then we had outdoor-only get-togethers with social distancing, and now we’re able to have great parties.”

This tight-knit group describes their club as a hybrid book and activity club. Each meeting is a social gathering complete with fun activities and dress-up opportunities related to the book of the month. Each member takes a turn hosting, giving them all an opportunity to exercise their party-planning skills and visit each other’s homes.

“In our current book club format, we emphasize selecting books from different genres and exploring different activities and venues around Baton Rouge and nearby areas like New Orleans and St. Francisville,” says Erin Kilgore. “Our membership has come together somewhat organically over the years, with members adding their friends and contacts, such that we have all met new people through the group, which is an added bonus.”

In November, No Shelf Control enlisted the help of The Tipsy Librarian for the monthly meeting to discuss and celebrate Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus. The party featured themed dishes along with freshly shaken and stirred cocktails.

“November is always a Friendsgiving-style theme, so when Lessons in Chemistry was selected as the book, The Tipsy Librarian’s class seemed like a perfect fit since mixology has a chemistry feel to it,” says Lindsay Perque. “The class has a fun ‘around the table’ vibe without being a typical sit-down dinner.”

The book club and The Tipsy Librarian herself, Maranda Howell, made three cocktails with unique tastes related to the theme for Lessons in Chemistry. Keep scrolling to see more photos from the book club soirée.