Edited to add: This post was adjudged as one among the two best posts by #TSBC. Hurray :)
“Books are the quietest and most constant of friends; they are the most accessible and wisest of counsellors, and the most patient of teachers.” – Charles William Eliot.
I have been an avid reader ever since I can remember. As a child, I would devour books daily, especially in the summer vacations when I would finish a book in no time and then wait for the next day to arrive so that I could go and exchange the book in the library; they unfortunately let me read only one book per day.
As a teenager and a young adult, my choice in books changed but not my reading habits. I still continued to read them like there’s no tomorrow. And, now, as a working professional, I find less time to read, however, I make sure I catch up on my reading over the weekend. Also, my tastes have now diversified into non-fiction including such categories as politics, management, religion, etc.
The Internet revolution has been a boon for us book-lovers. There are websites catering to book reviews, book discussions, author chats, etc. On social networking sites like Twitter and Facebook, several handles and pages are dedicated to promote the cause of reading and encourage discussions among the readers.
One such handle on Twitter is @TSBookClub – The Sunday Book Club (#TSBC). A book club sounds like a relic from the romantic past – it makes one nostalgic when one visualizes it – people getting together under one roof and discussing about books. One can almost imagine such book clubs when the British ruled over India.
I chanced upon it quite by accident one Sunday when I was browsing through Twitter. #TSBC is a unique book club in that it encourages discussions between readers on a specific topic each Sunday between 3.00-4.00 p.m. It has been founded by Sudha Ganapathi (@sudhagee), Raghav Modi (@raghavmodi) and Rahul Gupta (@meetneo) who all stay in separate cities but manage the account nonetheless.
For me personally, the best part about #TSBC is the fact that one can have discussions on a particular topic with like-minded individuals. Reading, per se, is an individual activity – one picks up a book, one reads and sometimes one discusses whether the book was good or bad with his/her friends. On #TSBC, the discussions are more in a focused manner; they are held via a series of questions posed by the handle where readers are encouraged to post their views/opinions/suggestions, etc.
Secondly, since it is an online discussion, one need not worry about how to answer and what to answer. Often, in a face-to-face meeting, one may get a little conscious and not express exactly what they are thinking. The online façade provides an easy solution to that.
I have been participating in the discussion for the last two Sundays – the first Sunday was a discussion on women authors (considering it was International Women’s Day on 8th March) and the next Sunday there was a discussion on political books and politics as a genre. There was also a giveaway hosted by #TSBC on that day for the best answers – the giveaway was the book titled, Indira Gandhi – The Final Chapter by Suraj Eskay Sriram.
Apart from getting to know what other people think, one can also get a ready reckoner of which books others find interesting in a particular genre; one can always pick up these books to read later! Also, the questions are framed in such a manner that it makes one think deeply and thoroughly before answering – it makes you fall in love with reading all over again.
Through the week, #TSBC interacts with its followers in different ways – by asking us to come up with a word and its meaning or to quote our favourite word which brings a smile to our face. Thus, the interaction is not limited only to each Sunday but also through the week.
I look forward to more such discussions and interactions with #TSBC and its followers; may I get enlightened and may I get a list of many more books to read. In the process, if I end up making some friends, that would be an absolute bonus!
I encourage those who are fond of reading to try out the #TSBC one Sunday; it is much more sensible than wasting the afternoon by sleeping or idling away. Didn’t Groucho Marx say, “I find television very educating. Every time somebody turns on the set, I go into the other room and read a book.”