June 26, 2022

A quick introduction to book clubs in Bengaluru

The latest annual reading trends report from Amazon, in 2017, revealed that Bangalore is the most read city in India.

Bangalore’s rich literary culture can be seen in the number of bookstores, libraries and even niche literary festivals the city has made room for. However, lately, with online content consuming a lot of people’s time, many find it difficult to get hold of a book. To maintain the love of books and reading, many book clubs started popping up in the city.

Freelance photographer Rashmi Swamy joined the Bring Your Own Book club four years ago for the same reason. She is now one of five administrators of the club. “Book clubs open up new perspectives for you. You also end up reading beyond your comfort zone just by listening to other people talk about a particular work or genre. In addition, these meetings allow you to meet so many people. It’s a tremendous intellectual stimulus,” she shares.

Book clubs help make a solitary activity like reading a shared experience. “We end up sharing more than the books. We have vulnerable moments when someone talks about how a particular book changes their life. I’m amazed how we can sit there for hours talking about this and that,” she says.

Rohini Malur, who organizes the book club at Atta Galatta echoes these sentiments. “Book clubs allow an inside activity to become a shared experience, which is such a wonderful thing,” she says. A book club is a place where a variety of opinions and feelings coexist. “There is no room for conflict or confusion. This is the moderator’s job. Everyone should be able to express their opinion, as long as they are respectful,” she explains.

A book club isn’t about being right or wrong, it’s about learning, sharing and growing, says Perry Menzies, owner of Urban Solace. The Urban Solace Book Lovers‘ Club started in 2010 and is now one of the oldest book clubs in town. Perry Menzies, owner of Urban Solace, says a lot of hard work goes into organizing these meetups. The monthly event is hosted by Christina Daniels.

“The curator must really know the book in question. In addition to having read the book, they must know the writer, his other works, the political, social and economic context in which the book is set, contemporary authors and books and authors with a similar writing style. “, he explains.

Atta Galatta Book Club

When: Once a month, the second or third Sunday.

Or: Atta Galatta, Koramangala

Selected books: Instead of choosing a book, a theme is selected, allowing participants to bring any book they want, as long as it matches the theme. “It allows everyone to come away with new knowledge, because it allows them to hear about a book that they might never have read otherwise,” explains Rohini Malur, a host of the club. The theme for the coming month is ‘Magical People’.

Who attends: The theme draws people in, Malur says. Many voracious readers, but looking for social enterprise, or people with common interests make up a large part of the audience. Students and working professionals make up the bulk of the group. They also have readers as young as 10 and as old as 70.

How to join: Events are updated on the website and social media pages. “Just show up,” Malur says.

Bring your own book

When: Once a month, usually the third Saturday.

Or: Changes every month, usually at a member.

Selected books: Bring any book of your choice, as the name suggests. All participants will have five to ten minutes to share, after which a discussion will ensue. “Sometimes people come and listen. But, if you’re new, bring a book. Even if you don’t have a physical copy, share,” says Rashmi Swami, one of the administrators. This format attracts more people because it gives them the freedom to read any book they want.

Who attends: Mainly people between 25 and 40 years old. Some people also bring their children. They also have a few people between 40 and 60 years old who attend the sessions.

How to join: Meetings are updated on their Facebook and other social media pages. Regular members receive updates on their Whatsapp group. The sessions are free. However, you have to register on a Google form, updated on their group. “As the sessions usually take place at someone’s home, we don’t just want to give out our addresses. Once registered, you will be notified,” she explains.

Urban Solace Book Lovers Club

When: Once a month on the second Sunday of the month, between 11:30 a.m. and 1 p.m.

Or: Urban Comfort, Ulsoor.

Selected books: Their format has evolved over the years. They started with classics and then moved on to showcasing writers and their newest work. After four years, the club moved to showcase writers and their body of work. They also often include panel discussions, photo exhibits, graphic art displays of book covers or famous quotes from the writer and even the showing of the film based on the book under discussion.
Who attends: The audience changes depending on the book covered. They are mainly lovers of English literature and writing, or fans of a specific writer.

Graduate and postgraduate students, working professionals and even retirees attend these meetings.

How to join: The club is open to everyone. It’s a free event. Information about the book in question is listed on their social media pages.

under the lamp

When: Every fifteen days.

Or: Usually around MG Road. “We have a few places that we walk through,” says Vaishnavi M, a participant.

Selected books: At the beginning of a month, someone suggests a book they have already read. They give a synopsis and a brief overview of the author, after which the members collectively decide what interests them. The person submitting the selected book becomes the moderator. They also organize a reading challenge. “It’s a 50-day challenge where you register at least 20 pages per day as read. It also ensures that we keep members who cannot make it to every meeting informed,” she says.

Who attends: We are only two years old, but we have 40 members. It is open to all; people aged 17 to 70 joined us. We have about 10 people at each meeting, the average age of participants being 25 years old.

How to join: Contact @underthelamp on Instagram or contact 80507 69824.

Other Clubs

There is no shortage of niche book clubs in the city, from women-only book groups to silent book clubs. If you’re more specific about who you want to turn pages with, visit www.meetup.com, where most of them update their encounters.