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

 

16 Dec

What is #KHIBookSwap ?

    For past few years I’ve been trying to do a bookworms meetup where I can invite all the tweeps I know on twitter. I have done three small meetups at Karachi International Book Fair (KIBF) at Karachi Expo Center where I’ve met few bookworms in person via twitter. While I was discussing with some tweeps that how and where we can do this last year Ifrah Waqar came up with the idea that we should do a Book Swap so we formed #KhiBookSwap together in 2014. We have so many books in our shelves which we read once and then keep them in our shelves. So me and Ifrah want those books to be swapped cos every other person love different genres and authors. At our monthly meetups we discuss books according to the ‘genre of the month’ and in the end we swap books if anyone wants too cos some people are quite possessive with their books. In August 2015 we have celebrated our first anniversary.

Yours Truly,
Farman Shams.

#KhiBookSwap

It is with Farman that my dream of a book club took substantial form and together we initiated a chain of monthly meets and activities under the name of #KHIBookSwap. This book club is not a business to me – the idea is to spread the love of reading and in doing so, create a positive chain-effect for our future generations. I’d like to one day, visit my book club meeting with my children. If you are interested in joining our book community, you can register using the form available online and we will take care of the rest. And as I always says to my fellow bookworms, “Happy Reading to You”!

Love,
Ifrah Waqar.

07 Aug

10th #KHIBookSwap Meeting

For the 10th KhiBookSwap meetup we had ‘Paulo Coelho’ as our author of the month. So our members shared his book reviews.

Areeba’s Review of The Witch of Portobello

“The Witch of Portobello is a typical Paulo Coelho fancy worded, preach-ish book with a touch of mystery. Based on female goddesses, nature, gypsies and women who are restless and looking for their life’s purpose. Perfect for people who are interested in spiritual reads, else it’s slightly (or more than that) boring that you might wanna sleep halfway through it.”

Noor’s Review of The Alchemist

“The Alchemist, a journey of a young boy who travels to Egypt in search of a treasure. This journey turns out to be life changing with Paulo Coelho’s enchanting words and simple style, this book is one of my ultimate favorite books.”

Jadirah’s Review of The Zahir

“The Zahir is full of life and relationship lessons, but I found it to be a slow read. The only thing commendable was Paulo Coelho’s choice of words and well; he is known for his quotable quotes. The story itself had no climax, felt unnecessarily dragged and came to a boring end.”

Ifrah’s Review of Life: Selected Quotations

“The ideal book for your night-stand! A collection of Coelho’s most loved and influential quotations, perfect for when you are searching for some sustenance for the soul.”

Jamal’s Review about Paulo Coelho

“Paulo Coelho, though I have read little is someone whom I might never read. The poetic prose and the airiness or the content makes it ideal to find meaning in places where none exists. Is it good for Facebook quotations …yes. Can you quote it to impress your date and act all superior, yes. But if you are a political history and thriller fan like me than try as you might, you can’t read Paulo Coelho.”

Maham’s Review of The Pilgrimage

“The book which I read for this month was The Pilgrimage. It tells the story about Paulo’s self-discovering journey through Spain, on the road to Santiago. And how he uncovers the secret of a happy life through finding joy in the simplest of things.”

My Review of Manuscript Found in Accra

“Those who are familiar with Coelho’s work know that we must read between the lines to get the message. This book, however, answers the questions that we all make to ourselves at least once in our lives. It’s amazing to think how many manuscripts such as these were lost to us generations ago–that many scholars’ thoughts and advice are lost to the ravages of time.

10th #KHIBookSwap Meeting

We love Paulo Coelho – PC: Faiza Yousaf

Group photo at the end of our meeting.

10th #KHIBookSwap Meeting

10th #KHIBookSwap Meeting

Written by Farman Shams Co-founder of #KHIBookSwap

21 Jul

#KBSKitabReview A Hashtag Series

Few months back I swapped 2 books at the KhiBookSwap meetup and finally I finished them. So I had an idea instead of sharing their reviews on goodreads or on this blog, we should start a hashtag series called ‘#KBSKitabReview‘ that might help some book buyers. Every month we will be featuring one best photo with this hashtag at our instagram account.

Here are the rules to be a part of this hashtag series:

1. Upload an image of a book with a short review, genre and its rating on your instagram.

2. Tag that photo with #kbskitabreview

And here is my first contribution to the #KBSKitabReview

#KBSKitabReview

#KBSKitabReview

Written by Farman Shams Co-founder of #KHIBookSwap

27 May

9th #KHIBookSwap Meeting

I was so excited for this meetup cos 3 new members will be joining us and they all reached the venue between 5.17pm – 5.40pm as Ifrah Waqar didn’t join us due to work so I’ve to host this meetup.

9th #KhiBookSwap

We started with the little introduction of the new members. Then we started our reading session and for this meetup our ‘Genre of the Month’ was ‘Thriller’. So here are the reviews by our members of their favorite thriller book.

Fizza read ‘The Lost Symbol’ by Dan Brown and this is what she thinks about the book:

“The Lost Symbol is Dan Brown’s another famous work. I am still reading it but this book deals with Professor Robert as usual and how he must save his mentor, Peter Solomon. Not only him but the great Masonic knowledge which needs to be revealed if he wants to save Peter. The Masonic knowledge is powerful yet can be the most dangerous thing if handed to the antagonist, Malak’h. This thriller tells how Professor Langdon puts himself in danger in order to rescue his mentor and the great knowledge.”

And I fortunately I read ‘Inferno’ by Dan Brown which is the 4th book in Robert Langdon series and here it is my review:

“This book has the same storyline as all the previous Langdon series books. Professor Langdon – expert on symbology and iconography finds himself embroiled in the middle of a high-stakes mystery, teams up with an attractive, smart and capable foreign woman who helps fill in the gaps and challenges him, and the two cement alliances, skirt villains, and undergo a hair raising adventure to save the world’s. It is not good as The Lost Symbol and sometimes it seemed like it was a tour book of Italy. Story began well but quickly became long & drawn out. I would rate it 2/5.

Fiza Mari’s review of ‘Needful Things’ by Stephen King:

“The book which I read this month is “Needful Things” written by Stephen King. It’s a story of a small town where a new shop opens named Needful things. Gaunt is the character who owns this shop. When the shop gets opened, there are objects that each person in the town desire the most and want to buy those objects at any cost. What Gaunt does, whoever comes to his shop to buy, he further requests them to play a small deed that is, a small prank on someone else. What happens later, all these pranks get out of control and everyone start killing each other. Sheriff Alan is the only character who knows that it’s Gaunt who is behind all these violent acts. I found this book very thrilling and I loved reading it.”

Yusra Hanif’s review of ‘Silkworm’ by ‘Robert Galbraith’ aka J. K. Rowling:

“This novel is second in series of a private detective’s story who sets out to solve yet another mystery. A writer goes missing after having written a controversial novel and his wife contacts our hero to solve the case. What unfolds is an intricately woven web of conspiracies and revenge which takes unexpected turns and twists. My verdict: 2.5/5 as the idea is decent but plot execution lacks finesse. It’s a non-thrilling thriller which leaves much to be desired. only read it if you are craving for a murder mystery and can compromise on the quality of fiction. or a friend is willing to lend you a copy.”

Maham Zafar’s review of ‘Darkly Dreaming Dexter’ by Jeff Lindsay:

“I decided to read the book “Darkly Dreaming Dexter” by Jeff Lindsay for the genre “thriller”. The book is actually a psychological thriller on which the famous TV series “Dexter” has been based. It tells the story of a young man named Dexter who lives a secret life. Everyone knows him as a blood spatter analyst. But he is also a killer. He refers as his need to kill as his Dark Companion. And he only kills other killers, in a very smart and clean way which he refers to as Harry’s (his adoptive father) Code. I personally loved the show which is why I love the book even more. It is very difficult to like a killer, but in Dexter’s case, you can’t help but admire him and the way he lives. At some point, you feel sorry for him, given his past. But in the end, it’s a treat to watch justice being served.”

Areeba’s review of ‘Tell Me Your Dreams’ by Sidney Sheldon:

“Sidney Sheldon meets psychology, a perfect combo. Tell Me Your Dreams is a story about a girl searching for answers about the terrible things happening to her. She is in trouble yet she is the trouble. Sidney Sheldon’s another page-turning thriller that made me love him, once again.”

Noor Unnahar’s review of ‘If Tomorrow Comes’ by Sidney Sheldon:

“If Tomorrow Comes by Sidney Sheldon : this thriller is one of the best books I’ve read so far. The story is based on a woman, who gets betrayed from her loved one, her family is destroyed by some gangsters and she ends up losing her career and getting into jail. Where a lot of accidents change her life. She becomes a con artist. Not your average one but the MIND-BLOWING mastermind who had nothing to lose.”

Jadirah’s review of ‘Mockingjay’ by Suzanne Collins:

“If wouldn’t have been for my brother, I wouldn’t have ever myself picked up the Hunger Games series. However, once I started reading, I flipped through all three pretty quickly. While, I thoroughly enjoyed the first part, I found Catching Fire to be a bit slow paced initially. By the time I picked up Mockingjay, the thrill again was real. I liked it because it was gripping and unpredictable. There was one thing or the other to keep the reader busy thinking about and then a sudden change of events. It didn’t have the happiest of the happy ending but I still pleased that it was ended realistically. I would rate the series a 5/5 because I couldn’t find any glitches in the plot.”

The Fun Part:

Selfie is must! Courtesy Noor Unnahar…..

9th #KhiBookSwap MeetingFor the last 2 meetups I’m acting like a Santa Claus  thanks to Zeeshan as my bag was full of books but this time it was filled with gifts for the members, why ? Well last month I went to Malaysia for vacation and I bought some gifts for the members but unfortunately thanks to Emirates they lost my bag which has the gifts. So I bought them again and here they are…..

9th #KhiBookSwap Meeting

Gifts for #KHIBookSwap members

And then they (Maham, Natasha and Fizza) gave me my birthday presents 🙂 which was on 1st May and I swapped Sidney Sheldon book with Areeba for Karachi, You’re Killing Me!

9th #KhiBookSwap Meeting

Books I got from the 9th KHIBookSwap Meetup

And Maham surprised us with these cute bookmarks based on Harry Potter characters.

9th #KhiBookSwap Meeting

Free Bookmarks by Maham

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