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.
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.
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
- Maus- A grahpic novel
- The pianist
- 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.