27 Aug

KHIBookSwap Turns 2

2 years ago on 16th August 2014, an idea became reality thanks to Ifrah Waqar. With her I formed KHIBookSwap. I just can’t believe that we completed 2 years. This year I met so many awesome people, read some heartwarming poetry by our members submitted for Word Inc. and send KBSSnailMail  to our members in Karachi and Islamabad. Recently we celebrated its 2nd anniversary with all the regular members.

Almost everyone was there on time. Then the never ending conversation started. Ifrah planned some activities for the celebration. She made some book related questions, wrote them on a paper and then every member has to pick one and answer that question which was so much fun!

Another activity was about the book recommendations. She  brought some Twitter Postcards and asked everyone to recommend books to other members.

KhiBookSwap turns 2

Twitter postcards by Ifrah

Maham surprised us some gifts for all the members.

KhiBookSwap turns 2

Gifts by Maham

And in the end we cut the cake…..

KhiBookSwap turns 2

My gifts from the meetup. Book light by Noorulhuda, Harry Potter Wand by Maham and Twitter Postcard by Ifrah.

KhiBookSwap turns 2

My gifts from the meetup

How can our meetup be completed without selfies ?

KhiBookSwap turns 2

Selfie by Fiza

KhiBookSwap turns 2

Selfie by Maham

Once again a BIG THANK YOU to all the people who were present at the 2nd celebration meetup and I hope to see some new members in the next year’s celebration meetup.

Do you want to join our book club ? Click here

Want to know what happened at our 1st year celebration ? Click here

Written by Farman Shams Co-founder of #KHIBookSwap

29 Jun

19th #KHIBookSwap Meeting

For April, our ‘Book of the Month’ was ‘And Then There were None‘ by Agatha Cristie . At the 19th #KHIBookSwap meeting we discussed ‘And Then There were None’ book and our memebers shared their review as for Fiza Mari she didn’t read the book so she shared the review of Reflections of a Man by Amari Soul.

Review by Noor Unnahar

“A mystery so unpredictable and tangled; one could never guess who was the murderer. And Then There Were None is one of the finest mysteries I have ever read. There were many characters in the story and it seemed like I would lose the hold over their specific characteristics but the story is brilliantly weaved together and it never became a problem. 5/5 I would recommend it to every crime thriller/mystery genre enthusiastic.”

Review by Me

Beautiful twists and turns. Subtle clues. Well developed characterizations, especially for having so many characters and so little time to dive into backgrounds. Just enough insight to the minds of the characters, just enough of a view from the top to keep you guessing, but not enough to make it perfectly predictable. I love how Agatha Christie kept this novel quick and easy to read. She’s the British expert of mystery, suspense, and crime solving.”

Review of Reflections of a Man by Fiza Mari

“In the book the author encourages both the men and the women. For the women he says that a woman should always know her worth and she continuously reevaluate her standards and she should never settle herself for anything less which she doesn’t deserve. And it’s okay to be single when the right man will come she would know the difference. For the men, the author doesn’t only encourages the men but he also gives a very clear insight about what a woman really wants from her man. And how men should take care of women, respect them, spend time with them and most importantly love and treat them the way they deserve.”

This is our group photo from that day.

19th #Khibookswap meeting

 

Written by Farman Shams Co-founder of #KHIBookSwap

21 May

Word Inc. Vol. 1

Word Inc. is a place where people who love books, and people who love to write, come together. They tell tales, recite poetry and speak their hearts out. Long, short, spontaneous, designed. Doesn’t matter. Everything is included.

Recently we selected ‘Share Your Writings’ as our topic of the month and our members shared their prose and poetry. We have received so many submissions that we decided to put them all in a magazine with other news about our book club. So I hope you’ll love reading it. This will be our annual issue.

If you want to contribute, kindly share your prose or poetry at khibookswap@gmail.com

Written by Farman Shams Co-founder of #KHIBookSwap

05 May

18th #KHIBookSwap Meeting

For March, our ‘Book of the Month’ was Dark Places by Gillian Flynn. At the 18th #KHIBookSwap meeting we discussed Dark Places and our members shared its review.

 

Review by Hiba

Flynn wrote a perfect thought afloat in her well thought out character, Libby’s mind: “It was surprising that you could spend hours in the middle of the night pretending things were okay, and know in thirty seconds of daylight that simply wasn’t so.” Dark Places, though a good read cannot beat Gone Girl a great novel which even the movie did justice to, shooting every scene as depicted in the book and with Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike being the perfect cast choice. Now a motion picture, featuring Charlize Theron (well she is pretty tall and Libby is supposed to be 4 feet something – a good choice of actress still), Dark Places is set to awe the audience.

Also, unlike Gone Girl, Dark Places was pretty predictable, though with a sudden, unexpected twist at the end. The story might end up being a little drag by the its mid but would soon gain pace after that, thus becoming a page turner. Also, the past flash backs would keep you impatient about whatever is happening in the present life, that is, the next chapter. A lot of readers would tell you that Ben is innocent, but is he? Either innocent or not, he is definitely keeping a secret that is refraining him from being free, he is protecting someone or something for sure but at what cost? Definitely his freedom. Who or what is that?

Her full review can be found on her blog.

 

Review by Me

As I love psychological thrillers I enjoyed this book. It was a real page turner that will grab you till the end. Gillian Flynn knows how to create unpleasant characters and disturbing situations. It was dark and at some times disturbing, but that is what made it so intriguing to me. Ben and Libby are sympathetic figures, despite both being deeply flawed. Still, she makes you understand their motivations, making them seem all too realistic. The parallel structure of the book builds the suspense. Dark Places is a book capable of leaving a nasty aftertaste and vague uncomfortable feeling for days after finishing it. I strongly suspect it is its intended effect.

 

Review by Soha

‘Dark Places’ was the first book I read that was written by Gillian Flynn. I liked how the protagonist, Libby gives a vivid description of herself and creates a perfect image of the situation in the mind of the reader. The book seemed predictable at first where all fingers pointed towards one culprit but the author unfolded the mysteries very well throughout the book that the ending was not expected. However I did think that at one point, matters unfolded one after the other, giving no time to take in the sudden changes in the plot. I’d say the book was slightly above average, not more.

 

Review by Maham

Dark Places was a fairly good read. I loved how the book began and the way Gillian Flynn has described the characters.. But despite that.. The plot of the book was pretty ordinary.. As the story preceded.. It turned into every other thriller I’ve read. There were no plot twists and no unpredictability.

Written by Farman Shams Co-founder of #KHIBookSwap

15 Apr

KbsSnailMail – Book Swap and Snail Mail

What is KbsSnailMail ?

I love snail mail but this trend is dying, so we add a little twist in it and merged Book swap with Snail Mail and called it ‘KbsSnailMail‘. Back in February I dispatched the very first KbsSnailMail.

 

KbsSnaiMail

To become a part of this project you have to register yourself here then I will send you a book with a letter containing its review and few questions. After a month you have to return that book with its review in a letter and anything you want to ask from me and a book you want to swap with its review in a letter. I’ll make pairs and share addresses when we have enough members. You can find lot more about a person via snail mail and they are so much fun. We will add some themes in project to make it more interesting.

Rules:

1. Registration is must. You have to register yourself here.

2. When you get KbsSnailMail, post a picture of it on twitter and instagram with #KbsSnailMail tag.

3. Return the book after one month with its short review in the letter, answer his/her questions and write a short review of the book you want to swap.

Written by Farman Shams Co-founder of #KHIBookSwap

 

20 Mar

17th #KHIBookSwap Meeting

We have selected ‘Go Set a Watchman’ as our book of the month for our 17th #KHIBookSwap meeting. As usual we gathered at Del Frio where we met our members and discussed our book of the month.

Review by Maham

Go Set A Watchman isn’t nearly as good as it’s prequel. The story lacks the depth which drew the readers so close to the first book. But keeping the prequel aside, this book is a very good read itself. It makes a few, but significant points and urges it’s readers to understand the need to evolve with society. The fact that both the stories take place 20 years apart should be enough to understand the change in principals in both the books.

Her favorite part from the book is . . .

Review by Gulzaib

Go set a watchman by Harper Lee wasn’t that intriguing to me. It wasn’t a page turner but some parts of it were actually very relatable which I’d like to share.

“Dear goodness, the things I learned. I did not want my world disturbed, but I wanted to crush the man who’s trying to preserve it for me. I wanted to stamp out all the people like him. I guess it’s like an airplane: they’re the drag and we’re the thrust, together we make the thing fly. Too much of us and we’re nose-heavy, too much of them and we’re tail-heavy—it’s a matter of balance. I can’t beat him, and I can’t join him. “

Review by me

An excellent prequel to ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’. It examines what happens to childhood ideals as people age and are affected by their surroundings and the people who inhabit them on a daily basis. When you leave home and return, hoping to find the values you remember growing up with; sometimes people change and we’re not sure whether they changed or we have.

The story takes place shortly after the Supreme Court’s Brown vs The Board of Education, saying that equal but separate educations for blacks and whites violated the constitution. We encounter a different version of Atticus Finch, a different version of the Mockingbird trial. Scout must come to terms with her father’s racism and her own perceptions their relationship. We are given additional looks at Scout’s past as she grew up in Maycomb Not having a mother who could explain what becoming a woman causes her some difficulties. The story keeps you interested and wanting a better resolution. Harper Lee wrote this book first and may not have did not really finish it. It is still a good read. My favorite paragraph from the book is as follows:

“As you grew up, when you were grown, totally unknown to yourself, you confused your father with God. You never saw him as a man with a man’s heart, and a man’s failings—I’ll grant you it may have been hard to see, he makes so few mistakes, but he makes ’em like all of us.”

There was a special #KbsSnailMail for Maham and our book of the month.

17th #KHIBookSwap Meeting

17th #KHIBookSwap Meeting

Written by Farman Shams Co-founder of #KHIBookSwap

22 Feb

16th #KHIBookSwap Meeting

As February is the month of Karachi Literature Festival (KLF) we decided to do our 16th #KHIBookSwap meeting at KLF. Our topic was ‘Share Your Writings’, where our members shared their prose or poetry with us. If they did not write then they can share their favorite quotes from any book they like.

We all gathered in the garden area at Beach Luxury Hotel, where I met lots of new members including the one member who was there from Islamabad.

Maham was the first person to share her writing.

Broken pieces

“All this time, I waited. Waited for you to pick up the pieces of me and put them together. To find the beauty that lay underneath my scarred skin. To trace the sharp edges left by tears and broken dreams, knowing that you could get cut.
But you never did. And oh, how it tore me apart.
But I see it now. How could I have been so selfish, so self-involved? Demanding my pain to be felt and eclipsing yours?
You’re just as broken as I am. Your scars run just as deep. They tell stories that no one ever bothered to hear. Leaving all things unsaid, unlived, etched onto your face.
And today I realized. How perfectly our broken pieces fit together. Our scars, combined, are beautiful. Our stories, our dreams, our words, lead each other to magical places.
And now I know, that being broken, is okay. It’s okay if we’re confused or lost. Because I know that we’ll find each other sooner or later. And that wanting to be loved, is okay. Because I know that you’ll love me as fiercely, as you taught me to love myself. “

Then Gulzaib shared her poetry

I was sorry after I struck him with my harsh words

His silence echoed in my heart

He kept on throwing his sweet pebbles on me

Unaware they were making a hole in me

Didn’t know my heart was absorbing those sweet, sweet pebbles

And making a path for him

 

The touch of his fingertips seemed even more accurate

His touch made my skin to soothe

After that fierce devouring affection it once touched

It was agony to touch a person marked by something so good

Wish I would’ve opened my door before

 

Now all I see is my reflection in his blood

It bleeds me from him

I drown at the bottom of the ocean in cold darkness again and again

Oh, stop a little please, I beg you to stop

Come back to me from distant shore

I promise it’ll be a course a centuries

Zeeshan shared few lines from his story ‘The Research’

“Jeremiah Dalton didn’t disappear, he slowly faded away. You disappear when people know you, or remember you. Jeremiah was never a popular man; in fact he was loathed by a lot of people.”  

I shared my favorite quotes from different books

“Memories warm you up from the inside. But they also tear you apart.”
― Haruki Murakami, Kafka on the Shore

“Love is an act of faith in another person, not an act of surrender.”
― Paulo Coelho, Manuscript Found in Accra

“There is only one sin. And that is theft… when you tell a lie; you steal someone’s right to the truth.”
― Khaled Hosseini, The Kite Runner

“Love exists within each of us from the moment we are born and waits to be discovered from then on.”
― Elif Shafak, The Forty Rules of Love

“Reject the basic assumptions of civilization, especially the importance of material possessions.”
― Chuck Palahniuk, Fight Club

16th #KhiBookSwap Meeting

16th #KHIBookSwap Meeting

It was a great meetup, met six new members at KLF. Very soon we will be launching our yearly magazine with all the writings shared by our members and other news of our book club.

Written by Farman Shams Co-founder of #KHIBookSwap

18 Jan

15th #KHIBookSwap Meeting

For 15th #KHIBookSwap meeting our topic was ‘Your Favorite book of 2015‘. Our members shared review of their favorite book of 2015.

Ifrah’s Review of Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm

The American classic by Kate Douglas Wiggin stole my heart in the year 2015. ‘Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm’ is a beautiful story that every girl needs to read while growing up! A coming-of-age story that will leave you feeling grateful for life, family, friends, health and every blessing you have been taking for granted.

Jamal’s Review of The Humans

I read Matt Haig’s The Humans for this month’s meetup. It is a story of an alien who lands on Earth to kill a professor. The Alien relates his observation of humans to his superiors and the whole narrative is a brutally truthful yet an extremely hilarious analysis of humans. A must read !

Gulzaib’s Review of Masnavi

The Masnavi by Rumi really touched my heart in 2015. It’s a collection of tales some are his personal experiences while other tales just include the complicated part of any particular story and the moral being translated as simple as possible. It soothes you in such a way you’ll want to read it again and again I myself saved some quotes from it. It’s not as serious as the title portrays it to be. It’s a self help in itself.

Noor’s Review of Eleanor and Park

I chose Eleanor and Park for this “Favorite Book of 2015″ discussion in the book club. It’s a YA, romance based story that revolves around two (teenagers) characters from 1980’s. The story is beautifully written and the story is very relatable.”Eleanor was right. She never looked nice. She looked like art, and art wasn’t supposed to look nice; it was supposed to make you feel something.” This quote from this book inspired me to a great extent. It’s about embracing both, the good and the bad, sides of the person you’re in love with. I’d rate it 4.5/5

Areeba’s Review of Gone Girl

Gone Girl is a psychological thriller. It starts when Nick Dunne’s wife Amy Elliott Dunne goes missing on their fifth anniversary. The book has twists that will turn your mind and your guesses upside down. It’s one of my MOST favorite books of all the time. I’d highly recommend everyone to read it, especially if you’re into psychopathic characters.

Maham’s Review of The Picture Of Dorian Gray

I picked The Picture Of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde. I searched for this books for months and it was totally worth the wait. As an artist, this books speaks to me. Art is much more than just a few brush strokes. This book explains perfectly the power it can have. It tells us how beauty is overrated. But despite that society always has and always will worship it.

Fizza’s Review of Chicken Soup for the Soul

I bought the book “Chicken soup for the soul”. It is collection of short stories on love, life, dreams, people. The best thing about it is that you can read it every now and then and learn from it. The reason why I selected it, is solely because I realized as humans we are always whining and complaining about things, we must learn to be grateful and happy about the life we have, as only a thankful person can live a positive life.

Natasha’s Review of Bossypants by Tina Fey

It’s a book that talks about her story and some tips by her. I liked h it says when someone talks instead of disagreeing try going with the flow and adding to it cause in life all we do is disagree and argue. So how about agreeing a little and seeing how it goes.

My Review of The Forty Rules of Love

It was my 2nd novel by Elif Shafak. As I love Rumi’s poetry it was a must read for me. There is a story of Ella Rubenstein, who is forty years old and unhappily married when she takes a job as a reader for a literary agent. Her first assignment is to read and report on Sweet Blasphemy, a novel written by a man named Aziz Zahara. That novel changed her life. Whether you’re a Sufi or mystical seeker, or someone rather unfamiliar with Sufism, I’d 85% recommend reading this book because I think in either case, it is thought provoking and a rather light and enjoyable read nonetheless.

Jamal surprised us with A BLIND BOOK DATE. He brought so many books for all of us but wrapped in a paper bag and wrote a few things about the book. I got Ibn-e-Safi‘s ‘Jasoosi Dunya‘ & ‘The Coral Island’ by R. M. Ballantyne.

15th #KHIBookSwap Meetup

Books we got at 15 #KhiBookSwap Meetup

 

Overall, It was a great meetup. After 2 meetups I’ve met all my regular members and one new member Gulzaib joined us for the first time. A Group Photo is must after this successful meetup.

115th Khibookswap Meeting

 

Recently Areeba shared her experience about our meetup at her blog.

Written by Farman Shams Co-founder of #KHIBookSwap

29 Dec

14th #KHIBookSwap Meeting

For 14th #KHIBookSwap meeting our topic was ‘Urdu Literature’. As usual we gathered at Del Frio on 12th Dec. I was late cos University road was flooded with water as two water pipelines burst near Aziz Bhatti Park. Most of our members couldn’t reach the venue due to the same problem. Best thing was I met two new members Urooj and Alizeh for the first time.

14th #KHIBookSwap Meeting

 

Urooj’s Review of Quratulain Haider ke Das Behtreen Afsanay

Quratulain Haider is a famous name in Urdu literature. I was actually in search of her very famous novel “Aag ka Darya”, but when I was unable to find it at the book store, I picked up this book which is a collection of 10 short stories written by her. Each story has a different taste. I feel that she has a very unique style of writing; sometimes she amazes the readers with very salees Urdu and sometimes she is so casual that you will feel she is sitting right beside you, having a conversation over a cup of coffee!

My most favorite story from this collection is “Roshni ki Raftar”(speed of light) which is about time travel. The main character is a female scientist who accidentally discovers time travel machine, and seizing the opportunity, she travels to the times of Pharaohs. The diction here is very interesting; the reader feels the as if he is trapped in time along with the main character. Her command on history, culture and fiction writing is evident from this story. I really enjoyed the light sarcasm and funny bits of the story along with historical/­political snippets.

 

My Review of Manto ke Mutanazeh Afsanay 

Sa’adat  Hasan Manto who needs no introduction, he was a famous Urdu writer of short stories in South Asian history. His stories portrayed dark side of the human psyche and aftermath of Partition of the Indo-Pakistan and that makes him controversial. His famous stories are Khol Do, Thanda Gosht and Toba Tek Singh.

My favorite story was “Khol Do” which is one of the most famous and controversial stories of Manto.  It is one of the masterpiece depicting the effects of violence during the partition of India on the people of the land.  But unlike many others, Manto does not see the perpetrators as Hindu or Muslim, Hindustanis or Pakistanis, he just sees and depicts them as human beings with all their wilderness and barbarity.

Written by Farman Shams Co-founder of #KHIBookSwap

20 Nov

13th #KHIBookSwap Meeting and #KBSatKIBF

For October our genre of the month was ‘Banned Books‘ and for the first we decided to discuss it at our Facebook Group with our members so all members can participate our book discussions. So this is what they said. . .

Fizza shared her review about Kite Runner from Khaled Hosseni

I have read the Kite Runner from Khaled Hosseni. It’s such a strong and eye opening book. You could actually feel the chaos, the situations. Amazing read.

Atiya shared her review about A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess

It is a phenomenal book that explores the idea that if you are inherently evil society cannot make you good. There is a part in the book where Alex and his droogs (Nadsat for bro) attack a author and kick his wife, Anthony Burgess himself was attacked by such thugs in England and his wife was never able to conceive again…he channeled that pain and wrote about it

Ifrah shared her review about Kite Runner from Khaled Hosseni

I chose Khaild Hosseini’s “The Kite Runner”. I absolutely loved his “A Thousand Splendid Suns” and was disappointed by his “And The Mountains Echoed”. Against all fans and accolades, I found The Kite Runner to be highly predictable! The narrative was only intriguing for the first 25% of the book. The language was of course to-point as always. The central plot dealt with fighting inner demons but along the story you start to sense a pressure to feel sorry for the protagonist – which I am sorry after some, I did not. This was on my ‪TBR, so I guess picked it up for the genre but I wish I had picked up another title. Extremely predictable in all its totality!!!

Gulzaib shared her review about  Fifty Shades of Grey Trilogy

I have read Fifty Shades of Grey’s trilogy. Apart from the kinky stuff you see the story was unique and intriguing. The best part was when Christian shares his past secret of that manipulation of his aunt with Anastasia. I really liked it. This trilogy is my first erotic literature fiction. I give it a 4.0 rating.

The Perks Of Being A Wallflower review by me

I chose Stephen Chbosky debut novel ‘The Perks Of Being A Wallflower’. It is a wonderfully written book in which Charlie is confused on so many levels about so many things and throughout this entire book you almost feel like your learning along with him. It was strongly powerful in a manner that diary or letter style books rarely achieve. Charlie’s letters will make you think about yourself and will make you think differently about certain things. Characters, including the teen narrator, drink, smoke, and use drugs. Even so, it has become a classic of sorts because of its tender coming-of-age story that’s easy to compare to The Catcher in the Rye. 

As the 11th Karachi International Book Fair was happening in November instead of December this year in Karachi, we decided to do some book shopping together. We met one of our new member Sawera for the first time and grabbed Jamal from his Kaymu book stall to get some discounts and started book hunting. I’ve been visiting this book fair for past 7 years and the biggest stalls like Liberty, Paramount and Oxford have the same stalls. Like they’ve reserved them. Every year Hall 1 is less crowded as compare to Hall 3 and 2. Hall 3 is always the most crowded Hall due to Liberty Books. Well, Sawera bought Call of the Wild by Jack London, One Shot by Lee child and The Innocent Man by John Grisham. Ifrah bought Mrs. Funny Bones by Twinkle Khanna and The Grownup by Gillian Flynn. Maham bought Kidnapped by Robert Louis Stevenson and Jamal got Next by Michael Crichton.

13th #KHIBookSwap Meeting

13th #KHIBookSwap Meeting

 

Written by Farman Shams Co-founder of #KHIBookSwap