by Farheen Zehra
Reading is a solitary activity, whether you’re doing it on a crowded beach, in an airplane, on a train, in a queue or curled up on your sofa at home. It’s only once you’ve pored over the book that you get the itch to share your excitement, disappointment or frustrations about the story. And for book aficionados, there is a certain high in having an intelligent conversation about a piece of literature.
Enter the DWL Readers’ Club. This is no ordinary book club – consider it a sort of reading movement. We’re coming across too many people who want to be great writers and barely any who want to be better readers. We’ve noticed that more and more people (including us) are falling back on the “I don’t have time to read” excuse. We’re fed up of hearing hours of detailed analysis of TV shows but scattered conversation on books. Don’t believe us? Next time you go to a regular social gathering, ask someone what they are reading these days, then ask them what they’re watching these days.
Our manifesto is simple – read more, read widely, read better, and learn from it. We want to become more critical readers and we want to use this to become better writers. If you’re an aspiring writer, then this will be especially useful for you because many of us practice the craft too. Many new writers search high and low for creative writing courses, not realizing that books are one of the best sources of both inspiration and technique. If you’re in Karachi, come over to the Readers’ Club meet and dissect plots, characters, writing styles, voice, pace, themes and more.
The Readers’ Club officially started as an offline DWL activity on 6th June 2013. A few of us met at The Second Floor (T2F) and talked about Nabokov, sci-fi novels and movie adaptations over tea and brownies. After throwing a few names around the table we finally decided to read ‘American Gods’, an award-winning novel by Neil Gaiman. Most of us had not read Gaiman before, so we welcomed this chance to push ourselves out of our reading comfort zones.
Besides making reading ‘fashionable’ again, we are using this platform to raise funds for Desi Writers Lounge. We will charge a small fee of Rs.200 per session which will go towards DWL’s various online and offline activities.
Our next meet is on 21st June, at the Roadside Café behind Boat Basin, at 7:00 pm. Come over and join us over a cup of tea for an hour or two of literary catharsis.