Saturday, September 24, 2011

Book Club, anyone?

I'm just back from an hour talking about something I find it difficult to stop talking about, with four others who appear to be somewhat similarly inclined. Not a crowd by any standards, but a group that represents a beginning. The idea to start a book club has been brewing for a while now; every time I find myself in conversation with someone about a book I've read, or a friend asks me to recommend reading for a child with a voracious appetite for the printed word, I can feel a certain excitement about words and the ways in which they turn into stories, offering windows into lives of others, worlds that I would never have access to without the channel created by imagination. Oftentimes these conversations have ended with the suggestion that we should start a book club. After many months of prevarication and a bit of a push from a young friend, it finally happened, and that's how I found myself in the brightly painted library of Little People Tree with four others, talking books.

We were/are all a little bit clueless about what exactly a book club was supposed to do. So we spent the hour bouncing around ideas, talking about what we liked or did not like about the books we'd read, trying to decide where we wanted to go and how. Why do people love Chetan Bhagat or hate him? What makes works in translation work? Is Orhan Pamuk obscure or fascinating?

And how do we like our books? Dog eared and well handled, or pristine and crisp? Does writing in the margins give a book character or become an unwelcome and unruly intrusion into a reader's relationship with the text? How do we deal with book borrowers who forget the fact and appropriate our tomes? What do we think about books turned into movies (and now, vice versa, too!)?

The conversation did not peter out, it was brought to a close. We've decided to meet two weeks from now, hopefully in a larger group. In the meantime, here's the book we will be discovering (or rediscovering): The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows.

If you'd like to read along, please do join us. October 14, 6 p.m. at Little People Tree, Secunderabad.

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