In an age where online reading is gaining ground, getting back to good ol’ fashioned reading is back in vogue. Reiterating the popularity of the printed book are quite a few book clubs that exist in Bengaluru.
Some old and others a few months young, these gatherings of bibliophiles look set to stay.
Ladders Book Club is founded by Revathy Krishna Kumar, a popular Angel Card Reader and author herself, to create a community of book lovers across the city that could get together and celebrate new talents in the literary field. Through LBC, she hopes to nurture brilliant emerging writers, provide them the much needed platform to showcase their works and also hold fun interactive sessions between her fellow bibliophiles.
The Book Club
Padmini Nagappa started a book club at her charming vintage home, off Lavelle Road, more than 20 years ago, and her fashion designer daughter, Anu Nagappa is among the members who meet each month over delicious tea and short eats. It is a small intimate group of about 10 to 15 regulars, mostly women who have known each other for ages.
Marianne de Nazareth, journalist and educator, started an informal club at the Catholic Club about five years ago. It’s a free platform and is open to even those who are not members of the Club. It promotes Indian authors and authors of Indian origin. Members also have the opportunity of buying books. “Often, a big discount is given by the publisher and people love having their copy signed by the author. It’s a happy mix of the elderly and the young, many of the latter are my students at college. We like to be open-minded and liberal and while we may have heated discussions, we are not the highly intellectual or serious literary type,” says de Nazareth.
There are some who are part of more than one book club. Laughter therapist, counsellor, social activist and poet, Dr Suchitra Kaul Misra is member of two book clubs Book Masala and Only Book. Book Masala is founded by authorMilan Vohra and members include lifestyle writer, Asha Chowdary and Rahul Biddappa, an editor with Reuters. “We too get fired up to be creative,” says Dr Misra. Apart from penning poems, the small group is innovative in dressing up as characters from the books that they read.
Bengaluru also has chapter of Broke Bibliophiles, a Facebook community of book lovers. Broke Bibliophiles Bangalore was started by Radhika Chauhan and Abhiram R in February 2017. They have connected with Bangaloreans (mostly young IT geeks), who are part of the bigger group. The size of the Bangalore chapter Facebook page is around 550 members. “A drop in the ocean that is the bigger group, but we’re getting there! We’ve been conducted one meet-up per month and we have started getting some interest and attention gradually”, says Rajesh, a member. Membership is growing and they meet and barter books at Atta Galatta, the bookstore cum cafe in Koramangala.
Malleshwaram Book Club
One of the oldest localities of the city has a book club that seems to be getting better each day, writes Sumithra Balu. The Malleshwaram Book Club was started by Radhika Prasad two years ago and meets once a month in a cosy basement of ‘Guruskool’, the music school of Veena player Geeta Navale
It started with four members and has around 30 members now. Shree DN, an editor with Citizen Matters, a member of the club, has helped the club grow by involving writers such as Yashaswini Sharma, Roopa Pai and Amandeep Sandhu.
Members discuss the chosen book and authors are also invited to participate in the meetings. Chats at the club have the feel of friendly group discussions, filled with laughter, understanding and empathy.
The club chooses to keep its membership exclusive to women as members feel that topics could be discussed and issues aired with greater ease.
Text by Sangeeta Cavale RK