A friend of mine started an Urdu book club a year ago in Calgary and it has been a huge success. We have read so many Urdu books together and have had fun discussing them! We have also enriched our Urdu book club through inviting authors and special literary talks. If you have wanted to start an Urdu book club, here are lots of tips and resources for you!
Advantages of starting an Urdu Book Club
- Cultivating an interest in literature and Urdu
- Reading more books and increasing your knowledge and vocabulary
- Developing a great social circle who share your interest
- Setting a great example for your children to appreciate and enjoy Urdu
The biggest hurdle in starting an Urdu book club for most is getting the books! If you’re in Pakistan, your job is simple and there are many book stores selling the books.
If you live outside Pakistan you can try the following resources:
- Order books together through Liberty Books and Oxford University Press, both will deliver internationally and you can split the shipping costs.
- Check your local library. Calgary Public Library has a great collection of Urdu books. There are also programs where you can borrow books from other public libraries in another city.
- Rekhta has a lovely collection of Urdu ebooks on their website that you can read online.
- Patari has many Urdu books available for free as audio books.
- I do know that there are many websites that have PDFs available of Urdu books. However, I do not encourage any website that does not benefit the author and publisher and most importantly does not respect intellectual property rights.
Decide how often you will meet and designate say the second Wednesday every month for a meeting. Members can take turns hosting the meeting at their house or you can meet at a central location that suits every one. Make sure the meeting spot is free of distractions and is not very loud to allow easy conversation.
Most meetings run one and half hour and you can choose the following flow so that the time is used best:
- Meet and greet (10 mins)
- Introduction of book and quick summary (10 mins)
- Going around and asking everyone what stood out for them about the book (30 mins)
- Discuss favorite characters (20 mins)
- Asking if anyone has suggestions for alternate endings (10 mins)
- Suggestions for next books and finalize one (10 mins)
Try and mix it up with different genre of books including classics, humor, new writers, historical, short stories etc. Some of books we have done in our Urdu book club are: Aangan, Uljhay Suljhay Anwar, Peer-e-Kamil, Safar-e-Raigan, Basti, etc.
Enriching your Urdu book club
You can enrich your Urdu book club by inviting authors or their living relatives to join your talks. If you ask around, you will be surprised to know some of the gems who live close by! You can also use Skype to have them join your meeting.
Hope these tips help you in starting your own Urdu book club. Let me know if you start one and I would love to highlight it!