DWL’s Islamabad Readers’ Club Completes 3 Years and 36 Titles

Our Islamabad Readers’ Club turned three in March 2017.

During the past three years, the club’s members have read 35 books and a short story, and we are cruising through book #37 in April.

It seems like yesterday when we first sat down at the now-defunct Gloria Jean’s cafe in Kohsar market for an ice-breaker session in 2014. Our DWL colleague and poet-friend Waqas A. Qazi organised it and pushed us to read Brave New World by Aldous Huxley as the club’s first book.

It was just the dystopian start we needed because the discussion next month was incredibly good! The first discussion session set the tone for our future conversations. We’re lucky that through the consistent support of the book club’s members our sessions have remained thought-provoking, intellectually rich, and simply delightful, ever since.

We owe Waqas Qazi special thanks for leading the book club through its formative months. We also thank DWLers Muhammad “Mo” Bokhari and Muhammad Imran who helped us regroup and meet regularly, especially at times when we thought we were simply too busy to read and discuss books.

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All the titles the DWL Islamabad Readers’ Club has read since March 2014

The Islamabad Readers’ Club has changed at least seven locations since it started. But we have now settled upon the Classic Rock Coffee cafe in Super market, where we have met each month for the past six months. Every month, new people join in and regular members return for an insightful discussion on the selected book.

Here are some of the memorable incidents that took place during our meetings:

  • During the first year, Christopher Marlowe’s Dr Faustus drew in more participants than books by Marquez and Murakami
  • So many people showed up for the discussion of Asimov’s Caves of Steel that we literally barricaded the entrance of the cafe we were meeting at, and the administration had to force us out eventually
  • When we were discussing Carl Sagan’s Contact, one of the participants, an elderly scientist, told us he had attended a lecture by Mr. Sagan in the US during his youth and that Mr. Sagan had snubbed him when he had asked a question at the end of the lecture
  • One of the participants brought along an original French language copy of The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery for our discussion on the book
  • We read George Orwell’s Animal Farm and Mustansar Hussain Tarar’s Pyaar ka Pehla Sheher in the same month, and that was probably the most well-attended session and most passionate discussion in the club’s history because ORWELL and TARAR.

Looking back at the books we read, we’re glad to see a mix of genres and a representation of writers from around the world. We’ve read classics, contemporary fiction, at least one Urdu novel, multiple translated works, women authors, Pakistani fiction, and short stories.

Here are all the titles the Islamabad Readers’ Club has read, in order from earliest to most recent:

1. Brave New World by Aldous Huxley 

2. The Stranger by Albert Camus 

3. Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez 

4. Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman by Haruki Murakami 

5. Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri 

6. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak 

7. I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream by Harlan Ellison 

8. Dr. Faustus by Christopher Marlow

9. Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk by David Sedaris 

10. The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan 

11. Everyman by Philip Roth 

12. Far from the Madding Crowd by Thomas Hardy 

13. Survival Tips for Lunatics by Shandana Minhas 

14. The Caves of Steel by Isaac Asimov 

15. The Spinner’s Tale by Omar Shahid Hamid 

16. Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K. Dick 

17. The Crash of ’79 by Paul E. Erdman 

18. Of Love and Other Demons by Gabriel Garcia Marquez 

19. Burnt Shadows by Kamila Shamsie 

20. Animal Farm by George Orwell 

21. Pyaar ka Pehla Sheher by Mustansar Hussain Tarar 

22. The Road by Cormac McCarthy 

23. The Autumn of the Patriarch by Gabriel Garcia Marquez 

24. The Golden Notebook by Doris Lessing 

25. Dune by Frank Herbert 

26. A Game of Thrones by George RR Martin 

27. The Noise of Time by Julian Barnes 

28. Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut 

29. Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck 

30. Contact by Carl Sagan 

31. The Vegetarian by Han Kang 

32. The Man in the High Castle by Philip K. Dick 

33. The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery 

34. The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro 

35. LaRose by Louise Erdrich 

36. Blindness by Jose Saramago

We are currently reading Neuromancer by William Gibson and our next meeting is on April 26. Feel free to read the book and join our discussion. The Islamabad Readers’ Club is open to all and the meetings are free to attend.

 

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