Is it already six months since I began my iBrowse book club in the Catholic Club (CC)? The months seem to have flown by and there are a lot more readers coming in to enjoy a discussion and listen in to the guest author of the month!
It all began really by default. Schonali Rebello began a book club called ‘On the Same Page’ and I joined along with other friends. Since the club did not have a fixed venue to meet in and was having the meetings in coffee shops, I decided to pitch in and ask the CC if they would mind letting us use their brand new Library. Like any official request, it took a few months for the CC managing committee to pass a resolution agreeing to let me hold the book club at their library. They also threw in coffee and biscuits and that they would purchase five copies of the book we are going to discuss, for us readers. The book facility was given to the CC members.
However for some reason Schonali and her friends decided to keep the coffee shop venues and I could not back out of the CC request so – iBrowse was born! To make it different from all the usual book clubs, I decided to call authors to come and speak to our members. So our very first author was Jackie Colaco with Bridget White who came in next and third came Vijay Nair. Subsequent to that I have had Jahnavi Barua and her ‘Rebirth’, Janaki Murali and ‘The Colour of Dawn’ and Gita Aravamudan and ‘Dissapearing Daughters’. The coming meeting in September has Vikram Sampath and ‘My name is Gauhar Jaan!–the life and times of a musician’.
The concept is simple- the author comes in and talks to the gathering introducing her or his book. Then we have the floor thrown open to members to ask questions and interact with the author. All sorts of questions come up and everyone is open to asking anything from writing of the book to the raison d’etre of the book in the first place! You will be surprised the kind of searching questions people ask.
We have about 50 people attending the meetings where as the Facebook page has about 100 members. There are IT professionals, homemakers, students, lawyers and doctors as members.
Then the book which has been chosen for the month is discussed once the author leaves. It is a practice for the author to sell copies of their book at a discount to the members. This month we discussed Ken Follet’s "The Pillars of the Earth’. What a magnificent book, though we took a leeway of two months to read it as it is 1080 pages!
We decide the book for the month by vote. Everyone brings the name of a book to the meeting and shares it. Then with a show of hands the book choice is made. Of late we choose the book in advance on Facebook. We also share what else we may be reading besides that particular book on the Facebook page.
What is interesting is everyone makes notes on the book and shares what in the book caught their particular attention. It may be a sentence which is unusual – like in Jahnavi’s book the sentence "The car was ripe with the scent of vomit," caught my attention. Authors have interesting turns of phrases and that’s what we enjoy as readers and share at the meeting. By the way, not all the books are larger than 400 pages on the outer limit!
Now we are all excitedly looking forward to Vikram Sampath and his talk on ‘My name is Gauhar Jaan!–the life and times of a musician’ on the 9th September.
The meetings are for free, whether you are a member or not. So, do connect with me by email and you are welcome to attend if you are a book lover!
Email by clicking on "Write to author" link on top-right. ⊕