Reading is cool again

A book club is on a mission to revive the passion of reading

  • Readers’ corner: The club meets every two weeks on Saturdays at the Sharjah Art FoundationImage Credit: Zarina Fernandes/ XPRESS
  • Joy of reading: Be it digital or print, club members believe in the power of the written wordImage Credit: Zarina Fernandes/ XPRESS
  • Engrossed: There’s nothing like a good read that you can lose yourself inImage Credit: Zarina Fernandes/ XPRESS
  • Joy of reading: Be it digital or print, club members believe in the power of the written wordImage Credit: Zarina Fernandes/ XPRESS
02 XPRESS

Dubai Napoleon Bonaparte once said: “Show me a family of readers, and I will show you the people who move the world.” He may have lost the war, but according to the UAE-based The Page Turners Club, the disgraced emperor may have been onto something.

But what is this club that is so enamoured of Napoleon’s philosophy?

It all started out with a photo of a football stadium in Turkey turned into a reading zone for all.

A Facebook user shared the photo and expressed her wish that this could be done where she lives. A random discussion among friends followed, turning that wish into an open reading day. This was last year.

Then last summer Ahmad Abugosh, a 24-year-old American online marketing analyst, started sending out Facebook invites to his friends to keep reading sessions alive. They responded positively and Abugosh has been since organising these reading days along with his friend Ahmad Al Farkh, a 25-year-old Canadian entrepreneur.

And so twice a month on Saturdays seven to 12 people gather to read for an hour and a half, followed by half an hour of discussion, of the book or books chosen by the readers. The club is currently hosting its reading sessions at the Sharjah Art Foundation from 4 to 6pm.

“We started this initiative because it’s intellectually enriching. As an activity it broadens my horizons, however, doing it in the context of a group is even better because I will not limit myself solely to my own understanding of the written word,” said Al Farkh.

Those who decide to show up do not necessarily have to read the same book. They can bring any book of their choice, but Al Farkh feels it would be much better if they could all read the same book.

“I’d rather have people read the same book, that way I can hear different takes on the same reading material. I find how people can read the same book, but come up with entirely unique conclusions interesting,” said Al Farkh

However, he maintains that be it a different book or the same, “I get to see things from a different perspective. I find the experience enlightening.”

Abugosh is of the opinion that people nowadays read because they have to – “for school, or work, but never for pleasure or learning”.

“They just don’t take joy in it anymore,” said Abugosh, adding that he reads for his own personal enjoyment as well as growth.

“I like to see people growing into who they’re meant to become, that can only be done by reading, I believe if people the world over were more aware, world problems will be solved in a civilised manner,” said Abugosh.

The club’s mission statement says: “By reading a book, we take our minds to new lengths. But when our minds come together in discourse, they surmount the impossible.”

No wonder Napoleon’s statement found a deep resonance among its members.

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  • Kumar

    Jan 31, 2013 11:57

    Good news.... If this habit is started from childhood onwards, it willsurely help to create a good society. Open new libraries everywhere -- in small public parks, etc, and I'm sure this will help readersto move on the right path without getting their minds diverted tounwanted things. But make sure, only good books are kept in these libraries.

  • Maddy

    Jan 31, 2013 10:42

    Reading can really broaden our knowledge.... the interesting fact is that whenyou imagine what you read, you visualize it in your head what is writtenin the book! It's like making a movie in our head and it is really fun.

Latest Comment

Good news.... If this habit is started from childhood onwards, it willsurely help to create a good society. Open new libraries everywhere -- in small public parks, etc, and I'm sure this will help readersto move on the right path without getting their minds diverted tounwanted things. But make sure, only good books are kept in these libraries.

Kumar

31 January 2013 16:23jump to comments