Sunday, February 3, 2013

The Big Bookclub Getaway

We arrived at our hotel, The Hyatt Place, Friday afternoon.  This hotel is 5 minutes from The Mohegan Sun Casino and significantly less money!  They run a shuttle every 30 minutes to and from the casino and we took advantage of it.  The driver, Al, was super nice and the seats in the shuttle were even heated, which was pure bliss on this cold night in February!!  Our room was very nice, very clean, and my husband loved the 42" flat screen TV.  It's all about the TV, right?  I loved the separate sitting area and the bed was super comfortable.  Also, all the granite counter tops were beautiful.

When we got to the casino, we registered since it was our first time there.  It also happened to be Ladies Night so they put $25 to gamble with on my card.  Woo Hoo!  Love ladies night!  Bill was wishing he was a lady!!  From there we went to the convention center and I registered for the book club getaway and got a great bag of goodies! 

I caught the end of Dr. Gary Small, a UCLA neuroscientist, discuss his book The Alzheimer's Prevention Program.  He was very engaging and personable and I wished I had heard him from the beginning.  The next speaker was Amy Newmark, publisher of the Chicken Soup for the Soul books.  They are a local company right in Connecticut and you could tell she loves her job and is passionate about the company.  They receive thousands of submissions and read them all before selecting which stories to publish.  Each Chicken Soup for the Soul book contains 101 true stories.  She was quite an inspiration!

Next they had a discussion on how to enliven your book club and offered a lot of great tips and answered questions from the audience.  It was great to hear how other book clubs run their meetings and the struggles that some clubs face.  The audience then participated in a discussion of Still Alice by Lisa Genova.  I haven't read that book, but enjoyed listening to the discussion. 

I also enjoyed the after-hours party at Bobby Flay's Bar Amercain where Jeff Kamin of Books & Bars led a discussion of the book The Other Woman by Hank Phillipe Ryan.  The crowd was very lively and the atmosphere was fun. 

I only went to the events on Friday night.  Bill and I were planning on leaving early Saturday and we wanted to spend a little time together Saturday exploring the casino before we left.  I enjoyed the casino and couldn't believe how big the place is. There are also loads of restaurants and shops.  I don't gamble, but I played the slot machines and ended up winning $150.  Go figure!  Then I just HAD to spend my winnings on some stuff for the kids!  We had such a great time and will definitely go back! 

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