How To Throw A J.D. Salinger Dinner Party

Ummm, towards midnight we ate a whole pie and finished a bottle of whiskey and started talking earnestly about things not related to the book.

Here, I’m making my bossy face.  Also: note how weirdly tiny my hands are!
If you have been reading Yes and Yes for any amount of time you probably know that: 
a) I love J.D. Salinger in a manner reserved for former English teachers and over-achieving English majors
b) I love themed partiesA few months ago, a friend and I discovered that we were both voracious fans of Nine Storiesand joked about creating a two-person fan club/book club.  And because I’m exactly the kind of nerd who actually follows up on these things, I turned this into a four-person book club/themed dinner.

Green Salad
Curried Tilapia and Plantains with Lemon (inspired by A Perfect Day For Banana Fish)
Tiny Dill Pickles (inspired by Down By The Dingy

Manhattans (inspired by everything J.S. Salinger ever wrote)
Dutch Apple Pie (inspired by Teddy

Like a good host/former teacher I spent an hour reading analysis of the book and writing (several pages) of discussion questions.  And when my lovely friends showed up, we did my favorite things in the world: eat and drink and talk and laugh and think.  Gosh, it was wonderful! We had so much fun, we’re thinking of making it a regular thing!
Do you belong to a book club?  What’s the best theme party or dinner you’ve ever been to?
All photos by Meredith Westin



This. Is. Amazing. I am seriously swooning right now! If I could throw a theme party I would want either a Wes Anderson theme night (pretentious) or a John Hughes theme night (less pretentious), either way I am loving the inspired menu and the cocktails!


Love the Wes Anderson theme! Since my boyfriend loves his movies his next birthday party will have at least something from the movies.. I'm still thinkg what it can be..

Sophie | Spark

Ahh I'm so jealous! Can I come over for your next dinner party?! (I'll even fly over from Sydney!).

I'd probably be incredibly uncool and have an Enid Blyton party… could have such fun making up dishes and costumes from The Magic Faraway Tree!


A Book *and* Pie club?! My, but that sounds amazing. What are some of the tastiest pies you've tried so far? Might need to start a chapter of said club over where I am.


Book and Pie club is the most fantastic thing I have ever heard! I want to start a chapter as well!!


Ooooooh my goodness, I immediately had to send the link to this post to *several* JD Salinger enthusiasts–makes me happy to realize that our friends (or, we?) appreciate similar things: good literature, good food, good conversation and tying it all together with goofiness.

Alicia Johnston

A night of friends and Manhattans sounds lovely no matter what the theme, but 9 Stories is particularly awesome! The short story-inspired dishes sound delicious. I haven't belonged to a book club since elementary school (Junior Great Books anyone?) but I would love to throw a Midnight Verses-inspired dinner party. The dishes in the book are all seasoned with emotions–the chutneys of guilt, the curries of overwhelming love–and it could easily make a tasty menu and spark discussion.


This is the coolest thing ever…this makes me want to host a themed dinner party! Love love love it. Thanks for sharing! xx

Allie @


It's not book-related, but some friends and I have been wanting to throw a PowerPoint Party – everyone create ridiculous PowerPoint presentations (Examples: Exercise Outfits from the 1980s; The Evolution of the Cat Video; How to Twerk) and then have them projected on a wall.

Jess @ Sparrow + Sea

Compared to a J.D. Salinger party, this is going to sound hilariously juvenile, but a few years back, some girlfriends and I had a Babysitters Club party. Which was Oh So Much Fun! You had to dress up like one of the characters (we had a disproportionately large number of Staceys and Claudias, and nobody came as Mallory or Jessi!) and we ate American candy (living in Australia, this is a novelty!) and it was hilariously good fun.
I went as Claudia, complete with yellow ballet flats, yellow pineapple earrings and a bracelet made from a fork (based on a description I found in one of the books). Man that chick wore some crazy-ass clothes!!



I currently host a book club called Literary Allsorts. We get together to discuss what we've been reading, whatever it may be from Salinger to C++ for dummies to Eat, Pray, Love. The only rule is 'no judging'. The idea is for people to hear about what others have been reading, feel inspired, and step outside of their literary comfort zone.

We need some new blood soon, though! My friend group is pretty heavy on the science fiction, which is great (I love sci-fi) but it can get a little monotonous 🙂


Oh, this sounds like a wonderful idea! And the possibilities are endless, since there are so. many. books. in the world you could base these parties on! I'll definitely have to do something like this with my friends sometime. (Unfortunately the upcoming yearly picnic already has a theme, crazy hats!)


I belong to a FairyTale/FolkTale Book Club, we look at Fairy and Folk Stories from all over the World and theme the meal around the story 🙂 For instance when we did *The Arabian Nights*, we had dates and hummus and scented rice and grape leaves, when we did *The Bremen Town Musicians* we had Chicken Paprikash and Spaetzle with Pretzels and German Apple Cake and German Beer, and when we did *Dracula*, we had Garlic Bread and Red Sangria, Bloody Marys, and Beef Stew with a Tomato-Broth 🙂 I LOVE taking a deepr look at favorite/familiar stories from childhood 🙂

Melinda DiOrio

I am incredibly jealous of this literary party! I love my friends, but I can't think of any one of them that would enjoy this as much as me. I'm going to have to start my own book club and branch out a little!

Lisa Latebloom

your tiny hands are rivaled only by my own (ring size 4!) I prefer to call them "delicate" not tiny. I found my worn copy of 9 Stories, going to re-read it this weekend!


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