Growing up, I was more attached to my comic books than people in the real world. As an adult, things only got better. I lived in libraries for the beautiful smell and endless stories. I drifted along with my characters, always rooting for one. I found genres I liked, loved and hated. I found friends in the authors that spoke to me and inspirations in the authors that stood out. I lived, thus, in two worlds. As Munro puts it: “A story is more like a house. Everybody knows what a house does, how it encloses space and makes connections between one enclosed space and another and presents what is outside in a new way. This is the nearest I can come to explaining what a story does for me, and what I want my stories to do for other people.” I couldn’t agree more.
Recently, I found a space that reminded me of a house. Only that it housed more than one story. More than one possibility. A place where endlessly talking about books would not be snubbed. On the contrary, it would be encouraged. Where fellow humans would huddle to discuss how much they liked or disliked a book. I felt instantly at home. Book clubs are wonderful places to discover new authors, meet new people and discuss books and the worlds they create.
I believe in serendipity and many of my favourite authors and books were discovered when I was lost in a second hand book store hunting for a book to feel a connection to. But as a reader and writer, I favour some genres and authors. A club would break this monotony for me. Plus, I would get to see what others felt about the book. As much as the book, any book, and I have an intimate relationship, it is a sensational experience to listen to what others thought of the book. To open my mind to new ideas, thoughts and people. There will always be a side to the story I did not see.
Book-ends, the book club in Hyderabad, was a lot more than just good books and bad books or good movies and bad movies. It was about engaging on issues that these books and movies bring up. I am thoroughly looking forward to the next intimate meeting of a bunch of book lovers.