Determined to rev up their reading list, a group of friends have formed a book club called Bookends

Best friends Preeti Raghunath and Vineetha Rao felt they weren’t reading much. Preeti is a part-time teacher and Vineetha is in the midst of a thesis on media policy in South Asia. Instead of lamenting and giving in to the excuse of lack of time, they decided to start a book club called Bookends. “It’s a small but focused group, the members being our close friends,” says Preeti.

Bookends had its first session in March and the members try and meet every two weeks. On rare occasions when a member was travelling or the book chosen was cumbersome to be finished in two weeks, they took the liberty of meeting once in three weeks. “Come what may, we have never postponed beyond that time limit,” says Preeti, who coordinates between the members and finalises the time and place of meet.

The group meets over brunch on Saturday or Sunday at a coffee shop or restaurant in Secunderabad. “This part of the city doesn’t have a space for culture, like Lamakaan in Banjara Hills and a few initiatives in Jubilee Hills,” rues Vinita.

Members of Bookends choose a book by drawing lots, read them over the next two weeks and share their reviews. “We analyse storylines and character sketches. As I read, I make mental notes on what to discuss,” says Preeti. Without intellectual airs, the members dissect a book and have no qualms admitting their like/dislike for a book. “We picked up a book by Orhan Pamuk and found it laborious. We couldn’t connect with it,” they state.

Most members of the club are aspiring writers and use this forum to fine tune their literary skills. “I hope to write a book soon and will be sharing my manuscript with the members. This is a good forum to get feedback,” says Vineeta.

Vineeta’s academic pursuits take up all her time and Bookends is her way of reading non-academic material. “Before we formed Bookends, I’d feel guilty if I read anything unrelated to my research,” she says.

So far, the group has analysed only fiction and have had eight sessions. To break the monotony, the sessions include movie reviews and discussions on current affairs. “We play by our own rules since we’re a small group. We want to take it one step at a time. Often, clubs start with ambitious plans and are unable to sustain the interest. We don’t want to go that way,” says Preeti.

On their blog (http://bookendsblog.tumblr.com/), there are a few reviews and point of view posts by members Vijay Anand and Karuna Jainpalli, pertaining to Roald Dahl’s ‘Charlie and the Chocolate Factory’, George R. Martin’s ‘Game of Thrones’ and a note that the club is not looking at “quasi-intellectual dismantling of books”.

Bookends can be reached at bookends.members@gmail.com