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.



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.


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 Apr

8th #KhiBookSwap Meeting

On the afternoon of 8th April my Boss surprised me with the ticket to Malaysia. I was so excited for this trip but when I checked the date for my flight it was on 11th April, on the same date I have my book club meeting so I asked my Boss to cancel the ticket and buy the ticket for next day if possible cos I don’t want to miss my book club meeting and my Boss gave me this weird look. But after a day my Boss finally find a ticket for next day.  It was a sigh of relief for me cos in the past I already missed 4th KHIBookSwap meeting due to my Jhal Magsi trip.

So our ‘genre of the month’ was ‘Poetry’. I was so excited yet again cos this time we will be trying something new. Me and Ifrah came up with the idea of doing a twisted version of Secret Santa where we asked every member to wrap the book which they want to swap or giveaway. It was one pleasant evening in Karachi as I thought cos Friday was too hot. I reached the venue bit early and Ifrah was already there. First Fizza arrived with her friend Fiza, after her Natasha and Jamal joined us. Then Maham came and she bring these…..

8th #KhiBookSwap Meeting

KHIBookSwap handmade Badges

Handmade KHIBookSwap badges for the members. I met Maham at the Stargazing trip with KaAs. She loves astronomy, books and art and the owner of tween the knots. So I asked her to make some badges for the members and she really did a great job. So after a little introduction, everyone placed their Secret Santa book on the table.

8th #KhiBookSwap Meeting

Books wrapped up for Secret Santa

Then Ifrah wrote everyone’s name on the paper, fold it and asked everyone to pick one and I got the name of Fizza. So I got this book from her.

8th #KhiBookSwap Meeting

Fizza was my Secret Santa

I haven’t read any Kamila Shamsie book so I really looking forward to this book. After that we began our reading session.

Ifrah’s Favorite Poetry:

She selected a Ghazal from ‘In the Bazaar of Love – The selected poetry of Amir Khusrau

8th #KhiBookSwap Meeting

In the Bazaar of Love – The selected poetry of Amir Khusrau

Her review about the book:

Mystic renditions of love, loyalty and passion translated by Paul Losensky and Sunil Sharma; sure to evoke your senses and darkest desires.

Natasha’s Favorite Poetry:

Natasha shared her favorite poetry from different poets. First one is from unknown Pakistani author

a broken promise breaks a little more

than what it sets apart the break of light

after the mourning in the night the shores,

endlessness grows a little short of sight

Jeeva Haroon’s ‘Master’ pain of lost love

Like a slingshot let loose

You left saying nothing

Somewhere between waking in the day

I remain in a free fall

Then she read Munir Niazi’s famous ‘Hamesha Dair Kar Deta Hoon Main’

Hamesha Dair Kar Deta Hoon Main

Hamesha Dair Kar Deta Hoon Main

Jamal’s Favorite Poetry:

Jamal shared this beautiful poem by Faiz Ahmed Faiz titled ‘Sheeshon Ka Maseeha Koi Nahi’

And after reading that, he shared a poem that he wrote recently.

Tell me what I am supposed to do
With all the leftover feelings of being misunderstood
‘Cause you don’t know

Shall I tell you how it’s supposed to feel
When all these pains become real
‘Cause you don’t know

And I don’t think you see the places in my heart
Where I find the meaning of us
Places where reason can’t be separated from desire

And we don’t know how we woke one day
And some how we thought we knew
That we had to back away

So leave me at the book tree and take away those memories
Cry for the departed ones but pity the lost souls
‘Cause this gets written down in our destinies

Shall I tell you how it’s supposed to feel
When all these pains become real
‘Cause you don’t know

Fiza’s Favorite Poetry:

Fizza said, ‘Since Fiza Mari didn’t know about the ‘Genre of the Month’ is Poetry but she has written one which she likes to share that with us.’

Hallucinations of love

A life of imaginations

A dream of ambitions

A journey to stars

Lights lightening up the sky with spark

The brightness of moon as seen from earth

The shine in the eyes of a kid and its worth

A fantasy of dreams

Where love is a pivotal theme

You fall in love

It ends up reminding you of the lost love

For the part of your heart which has been gone

For the love in your eyes collecting the pieces of hope knowing it will always go on

For reality which is no less than an imagination

For the lost love which will always be in your hallucination

You lose a thousand times

Falling for the lost love you can never climb

But you smile mesmerizing the memories

The shine in your eyes watching the moon takes you back in the stories

You can find that poem on her blog too. That was the best moment for me that we inspired her to share that poem.

Fizza’s Favorite Poetry:

Fizza Malick shared her favorite inspiring poem by Veronica Shoffstall.

After a while you learn the subtle difference
between holding a hand and chaining a soul
and you learn that love doesn’t mean leaning
and company doesn’t always mean security.

And you begin to learn that kisses aren’t contracts
and presents aren’t promises
and you begin to accept
your defeats
with your head up
and your eyes ahead
with the grace of woman,
not the grief of a child

And you learn to build
all your roads on today
because tomorrow’s ground
is too uncertain for plans
and futures have a way
of falling down in mid-flight.

After a while you learn
that even sunshine burns
if you get too much
so you plant your own garden
and decorate your own soul
instead of waiting for someone
to bring you flowers.

And you learn
that you really can endure
you really are strong
you really do have worth
and you learn
and you learn
with every goodbye, you learn

My Favorite Poetry:

Then It was my turn to share my favorite poetry and I selected a poem from ‘The Love Poems of Rumi

The Agony and Ecstasy of Divine Discontent:

The moods of Rumi

In the orchard and rose garden

I long to see your face

In the taste of sweetness

I long to kiss your lips

In the shadow of passion

I long for your love

Oh! Supreme lover!

Let me leave aside my worries

The flowers are blooming

With the exultation of your Spirit

By Allah!

I long to escape the prison of my ego

And lose myself

In the mountains and the desert

My review about the book:

Rumi’s poems are deeply spiritual and penetrate perfectly into the human condition of love and the tides of overwhelming emotions that run with it. Rumi’s sense of divine Love as the essence of one’s own being shines resplendently through almost every poem in this collection. This book has a short but sweet collection of beautiful poetry by Rumi

Zeeshan’s Favorite Poetry:

After that I read Zeeshan’s favorite poems from ‘Poems of Kabir

O SERVANT, where dost thou seek Me? Lo! I am beside thee. I am neither in temple nor in mosque: I am neither in Kaaba nor in Kailash: Neither am I in rites and ceremonies, nor in Yoga and renunciation. If thou art a true seeker, thou shalt at once see Me: thou shalt meet Me in a moment of time. Kabîr says, “O Sadhu! God is the breath of all breath.”


I am neither pious nor ungodly, I live neither by law nor by sense, I am neither a speaker nor hearer, I am neither a servant nor master, I am neither bond nor free, I am neither detached nor attached. I am far from none: I am near to none. I shall go neither to hell nor to heaven. I do all works; yet I am apart from all works. Few comprehend my meaning: he who can comprehend it, he sits unmoved. Kabir seeks neither to establish nor to destroy.

His review about the book:

One of the most beautiful books I have ever come across, which includes the physical aspects. The whole design, textures and layout of the book and its pages are too beautiful. Kabir is one of my most favorite historical characters, and I look up to him. A simple man, who weaved, sang, and spread the message of love, peace and harmony.

And after that I became a Santa Claus thanks to Zeeshan once again. He sent  books for our book club members.

8th #KhiBookSwap

Books gifted by Zeeshan once again

And we ended our meetup with a selfie thanks to wide angle lens of Noor . . .

8th #KhiBookSwap Meeting

8th #KhiBookSwap Meeting

Written by Farman Shams Co-founder of #KHIBookSwap


18 Mar

7th #KhiBookSwap Meeting

It was a nice sunny day in Karachi. I was so exited about our monthly book club meeting cos I have 8 books to giveaway today and we will be doing a little reading session where everyone has to read some lines from their favorite ‘non-fiction’ book as it was our ‘genre of the month’. We didn’t want to do ‘book of the month’ cos with ‘book of the month’ everyone will be reading the same book and then they will be reviewing it with their own perspective. But with ‘genre of the month’ we have different books by different authors which gives us more choice to explore new author’s work.

7th KHIBookSwap

While I was on my way to the venue, Ifrah told me that Del Frio has not enough space for us to do a meetup so we changed the venue to Gloria Jean’s Coffee and updated everyone on our facebook group. When I reached at the Gloria Jean’s Coffee, I met Fizza and Ifrah after few mins. Jamal and Yusra have joined us too.  We order some food and then officially started our meetup. Ifrah started first with reading few lines from her favorite non-fiction book ‘How To Be Parisian: Wherever You Are by Sophie Mas, Audrey Diwan, Caroline de Maigret and Anne Berest.‘ This book explains those confusing subjects of clothes, makeup, men, culture and lifestyle as only a true Parisienne can.

7th #KhiBookSwap Meeting

Ifrah reading from ‘How to Be Parisian Wherever You Are’

Her review about the book:

Not just your average-coffee-table book but also a self-help journey with four women who explore the many facets of female life and tell you exactly how-to, when-to and where-to! If you are looking for a light-read but still want to learn a few cool hacks this book will be right up your alley.

P.S – The recipes are to die for!

Then it was Jamal’s turn. He has ‘The Fifth Miracle The Search for the Origin and Meaning of Life by Paul Davies.‘ The book was about the search for the Origin of Life.

7th #KhiBookSwap Meeting

Jamal reading from ‘The Fifth Miracle”

His review about the book:

Well the book 5th Miracle is about the origins of life on earth. Written by Paul Davies, the book explores how life grew up on earth and attempts to explain why Universe has a pro life bias and its natural progression is towards complex life forms.

It’s very well written with the layman in mind

After Jamal, Fizza shared her non-fiction book which was ‘Charagh Talay by Mushtaq Ahmed Yousufi.‘ It’s an Urdu humorous book.

7th #KhiBookswap Meeting

Fizza reading few lines from ‘Charagh Talay’

Her review about the book:

Yousufi has written many humorous books, in Charagh Talay he discusses situations that many of us face in our daily lives and people reactions to them but he turns them all in a classic humor. He reasons his stance not only by humor but facts too. So all in all it’s a good light read and a reflection of your culture.

Yusra shared her favorite non-fiction book ‘Indian Summer: The Secret History of the End of an Empire by Alex Von Tunzelmann.‘ The book covers the end of the British Empire and the partition of the Indian subcontinent that resulted in thousands of deaths.

Her review about the book:

This is a must read book for all the history fans out there who want the real deal. It is a deliciously succulent and neutral narrative of the indo-pak history with vivid characterization of the key players. It gives you all the behind-the-scene details that our history books sadly miss on. A treat to read!

After that it was my turn to share my book for the ‘genre of the month’. I have ‘A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson.‘ The book covers all about life, the universe and everything in between. I have this book as an ebook so I read it from my mobile.

My review about the book:

It’s quite fascinating and informative and accessible book on the history of the natural sciences. This is a history of pretty much everything there is — the planet, the solar system, the universe, astronomy, zoology. Topics are very well arranged and deeply researched.

In between our discussion Natasha joined us, who is a doctor and a blogger. She loves to read almost all genres. There was a little surprise which I saved for the last. At our last meetup at KLF, Zeeshan joined us for the first time all the way from Hyderabad and then he shared his views about the meetup in his blog post. He loved concept of the book club and sent few books for our members.

7th #KhiBookSwap Meeting

Books gifted by Zeeshan

He also shared his favorite non-fiction book with us virtually. The book was ‘The Race of My Life: An Autobiography by Milkha Singh.’ It is the autobiography of Indian athlete Milkha Singh.

His review about the book:

The story of Milkha Singh. What a man. I had been reading about him, and then saw the film when it came out, and he inspired me so much. How Partition changed his life forever, and the struggle that followed and everything else. It’s well-written too. Loved it.

In the end we had this group photo. Just to freeze that moment in time.

&th #KhiBookSwap Meeting

From left: Ifrah,Fizza,Natasha,Yusra,Jamal & me

It was one memorable meetup for me as our group is expanding, Alhamdulillah! After the meetup I shared some suggestions with Ifrah and in our next we will be doing something new, InshaAllah!

Bonus: While editing these pictures, I found some useful tips in ‘How To Be Parisian: Wherever You Are‘ reviewed by Ifrah.

-Throw coffee grounds down the drain, never in the bin. They help decrease the plumbing and remove bad smells.

-Aspirin in the water makes your roses live a little longer.

-New shoes can be slippery. Catwalk pros put up the soles with a knife – but rubbing them with half a raw potato works just as well.

-To give your hair that extra shine, use half a cup of white wine vinegar – simply pour it over your hair and rinse.

Written by Farman Shams Co-founder of #KHIBookSwap