Being a Broke Bibliophile

Are you a new girl/boy in Delhi ? Do you love books? Does your spend on books get you broke halfway through the month? Do you like meeting new people? Do you want to do something different this weekend?

Well, I’m all of the above ,and I have found the perfect indulgence for my fellow kind. Broke Bibliophile , a book club that meets occasionally in Jugaad Hostels at  R K Puram , Delhi. Broke Biblophiles- Delhi chapter is just 2 sessions old so this is the perfect time to get in touch with these wonderful people and make some new friends.

They hosted an event  on Sunday in memory of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s birth anniversary. The man who has given this world master pieces like The Hound of the Baskervilles’s and  A Study in Scarlets.

DEAR session .Get your imagination running and  make a wild guess on what this abbreviation stand for! Drop Everything And Read AKA DEAR session , a session where you sit on comfy couches ,bean bags or where ever you want, however you want and read quietly. You read among others who are as engrossed as you. The joy of undisturbed reading in the quiet company of others is a delightful pleasure that i have come to love for many a reasons. I could somehow concentrate more, I did not feel the urge to pull out my phone and observing people while they are consumed by a book was beyond beautiful. Each of them had a different kind of anticipation on their face, they held books differently, they flipped pages differently, tilted their heads differently when in reality, we were all doing the same thing . Blissfully reading.

I found my happy spot on a red bean bag. I plopped on it, leaned onto a wall and read my copy of The Lowland by Jhumpa Lahiri. I took occasional breaks in between, rested my eyes, looked at people reading, gobbled a few cookies , and managed to complete that lovely book.

A destination and perhaps a book and music for some company
Jugaad hostels. True jugaad. Wonderful idea eh?

In the company of books and wonderful people

We started off as 9 people, but by 5.30 a lot more people had trickled in. Our cozy room was now bustling with people. There was a lot in store for the evening and the session was to conclude with a  BOOK SWAP! I was going to get a free book in exchange for another book! What more could I ask for!? Since I had finished The Lowland by then, I decided to swap that book .To make things interesting, we were asked to wrap our books with newspapers and paste a sticky note on it giving a teaser about the book and why the other person should read it.

The session started off with introductions. There were undergraduates, post graduates, M.Phil students, interns like me, a 38 year old lively lady, a journalist, and other working professionals who had come there to unwind with like minds. I make it sound like those who read form a clan, but maybe we are. When 2 book lovers meet, everything ceases to exist. Its just books books and books. So here was a clan of 10 to 15 people delighted to go on and on about books. An unstructured discussion that went on from  books that have had a profound effect on one, to how people read multiple books at the same time, to the difference between comics and graphic novels, to the core of why we read at all, to the genuine fear of not being able to finish reading all the books one wants to and much much more. Topics kept springing and branching out, some left unanswered, some that came to a definite conclusion. I was more of a listener, an observer than a contributor and all I can say is I learned. I absorbed a palette of opinions, I jotted down names of some fantastic books that HAVE to be read ( I will be sharing my list in the end ) about Maria Popova and her blog Brain Pickings  about Susan Sontag and her views on Storytelling and what it means to be a moral human being and her advice to writers ( A must read!) and so much more. Amidst cookies, samosas, lime juice , lays chips and my fellow book lovers , I believe I came closer to being more of a Bibliophile during that session. Simply being a voracious reader is not enough. Knowing to articulate what you have read and spreading the essence of the book, being able to have a stand on all those discussions floating around in the room, knowing about renowned people in the literary world, having read more than just what suits your comfort zone is what a true Bibliophile is.

As I was pondering on this realisation,  we started off with the Book Swap session. To make it a fun session, we had it in the form of a book auction whereby the sticky notes are read out, and those who want the book have to fight for it. You get the book only if your destined to !

I was destined to getting The Book thief. The sticky note to this book was so intriguing that I couldn’t wait to get my hands on the book. 3 of us wanted the book so rock paper and scissors was the decision maker . I smashed their scissors with my rock , took my book and merrily left. However, after reaching the metro, an inkling that I may have read this book seeded in my head. I opened the last few pages and much to my dismay, I had read it. However being the splendid book it is, I am going to read it again. My copy of The Lowland went to this boy whose name I don’t remember. All I hope is he likes the book as much as I did and that it creates a long lasting impression on him.

My sticky note and book swap gift!

I have done all sorts of things in Delhi over the past few months. From exploring street food to fine dining , shopping,  monument visiting and all sort of touristy stuff around Delhi. But, somehow this tops my list of “Things to do in Delhi”. If you like a quiet reading spot , a place to meet new people then a Broke Bibliophile event is the next place you should be at.

Books that DEMAND being read :

  • Being Immortal
  • Gods Of Debris
  • Spool of Blue thread
  • Gypsy Goddess
  • The Little Life
  • The Railway Children
  • Bricklane
  • Maus- A grahpic novel
  • Trebelinka
  • The pianist
  • Namesake
  • A short history of everything
  • Notes from a small island
  • A walk in the woods

Have you read any of these books? Do you have any suggestions apart from these that are must reads? Punch in a comment or so about why its terrific and inspire  people to read! After all ,we have just a lifetime to go and so many books to read! Lets map it out and get reading.


16 thoughts on “Being a Broke Bibliophile

  1. Hey, thanks for referring to me as a ‘boy’; at 24, one certainly feels like anything but one :/ I started reading the book earlier today; will definitely let you know how I felt about it once I’m done 🙂

    Thanks a lot for putting up the list of all the book recommendations from the meet here, too. I was hoping to ask you for them when I noticed you noting them down, and realized towards the end that I should have done the same too.

    Really cool to revisit an evening most pleasantly spent from a fresh perspective. Glad I found this post. You write in such a breezy manner, and I’d hope you continue to!

    Oh, and I’m Vineet 🙂


    1. Hahah. Hie vineet:) I’m terrible with names. I remember no one but Pragya and Tamannah. I wanted to refer to you as the boy who is upset about being 24. But nobody else would have got it.😂😂.I hope me referring to you as boy helped with feeling bad about your age. I’m pretty glad you found this post too. You’re the only one posing for the picture😊. oh! And thanks for the compliment . How did you find this btw? 😂 Just curious:).


      1. Well, nothing is going to help me with feeling bad about my age, but that’s something I’ve been suffering for the last, what, 8 years now, so I’m used to it by now (*_*)

        Haha, the posing (if you’d like to call it that) was definitely not done consciously. I didn’t even notice you were taking photos there!

        A friend of mine shared this with me, since he noticed me on the header photo. If your curiosity persists, lemme ask him how he found this.

        I so want to get my hands on The Book Thief and read it. If you’re done rereading it before you leave Delhi, could I request you to pass it on to me? 😀


      2. Everyone at that meet would have got it! Its ok Vinith, 26 on Harry Potter Day! 😉

        Well – enjoyed having a great time with you guys – especially given internship means short trips but lasting friendships…a little bittersweet.

        Would love to come to Delhi again – if only to listen to Utkarsh pulling up weirder transcripts for us to read or Pragya’s over-enthusiasm that lights up the place!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. 8 YEARS SE YOU ARE 24😂😂?Ohhh which friend? Has to be someone mutual ! And as I said I have already read The book thief so you can have it 🙂 But how will I give it to you? Do you work in Gurgaon?


    1. Haha, arre no dude; I mean I’ve been dreading ageing since the past 8 years. Still 16 mentally :/
      Achyut. From Kolkata. That’s the friend.
      Oh really, you’ll give it to me? Great! Well, I work in Delhi, but I’ll be coming to Gurgaon during the weekend to meet cousins, so is that cool? Or even otherwise, while you’re here, if you’re checking out Delhi and need company, let me know 🙂 I’d recommend visiting Daryaganj on a Sunday morning for dirt cheap books!


      1. Hahaha. 16 year old stuck in a 24 year olds body much? Ohh! Achyut Todi? He’s a junior from school :). And yeah! I’ll give it to you when you come around to Gurgaon or when I come to Daryaganj this sunday probably :).


  3. As the words unfurl from you,they express the joy you found in this place. You can thank the person who suggested this place to you. When we got you to read,we wanted you to have an undemanding companion for life. Am glad you are happy in the company of books and book lovers. Relieved also that you opted for the written word instead of the mobile. Hope you enjoy many more hours of reading.


    1. Thanks maa:)..I do have an undemanding companion thanks to you guys:*. And I actually found this on timeout. A portal which cites events happening in the city:). Next time we go to Mumbai we wil go for something like this okay?


  4. And the 38 year old lively lady takes a bow :P.

    Sheer lovliness of the words want me to hug you. Mind you, the hug is only mental though. :P. I am glad you had a lovely time. We had invested a lot of emotions in the meet and its organization. So happy to see people having fun & writing a blog post! We are phamoussssssssss! 🙂


    1. Haha yes Pragya! ! You guys were anyways phamous because that’s how I got there! And mental hug shall suffice :*. Thanks for the compliment however:). I did have a lot of fun!


  5. Sure . I have a long list of books you could read . Currently reading Diana Wynne Jones’ Chrestomanci series . You could try that or Tamora Pierce’s Song of the Lioness ! If you like history then Jean Plaidy and Simon Sebag Montefiore , Robert K Massie . List is never ending .


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