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

 

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

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.

21 Oct

12th #KHIBookSwap Meeting and Interviews

For 12th KHIBookSwap our genre of the month was ‘Book to Movie Adaptation‘ & ‘Black Comedy‘. As usual we gathered at Del Frio on 10th Oct. I was bit late cos I was coming from the Insta Meetup. Areeba & Noor already reached the venue while Fatema joined us for the first time and she contacted me via twitter to spot us and luckily she found us.

Noor’s Review of The Notebook by Nicholas Sparks

The Notebook by Nicholas Sparks is one of my all-time favorite books. Though I haven’t read much book-to-movie adaptation, this book was the first one to pop in my mind when I thought about this genre. It’s a love story from two different lifestyles. The guy wasn’t rich as the girl, but their love was true, regardless of their social statuses. They endure every problem society has put in front of them without tearing apart. It’s heartbreaking, funny and sweet. A 5/5 book for me. Recommend to all romance readers.

Areeba’s Review of Diyar-e-Dil by Farhat Ishtiaq

Diyar-e-dil, now a drama on Hum TV, is written by Farhat Ishtiaq. It’s a story of a family shattered into pieces because of ego and unfair decisions. Characters with haunting past, this story covers love, hate, intensity, past, nostalgia and broken relationships. Also, my favorite part is where the protagonist Fara struggles with herself to get back to her blood relations and overcome her own doubts and misunderstandings about her family’s past. I’d rate it 5 out of 5 because I know there are points when I can relate to this book and the dialogs between characters are beautiful. Kudos to Farhat Ishtiaq, I love her work.

My Review of Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk

I selected this book cos it’s a Black Comedy & Book to Movie adaptation too. I think it is the best movie adaptation so far although they’ve changed the ending of the movie but overall it was awesome. At my book club I am the only person who has read and watched this movie. It was Chuck Palahniuk debut novel. Fight Club is the story of an unnamed narrator, who is a traveling automobile company employee and suffers from insomnia. On advice from his doctor attends support groups and pretends to be a victim. He gains some emotional release here and feels part of a people and becomes addicted to attending these support groups as an imposter. He’s not the only one who’s a trickster and important character pops up at the meetings Marla and they both find they have an emptiness to fill and befriend each other. After that he meets Tyler Durden and he introduced him to the concept of fighting. What starts as a few rounds in a bar parking lot soon transforms into the nationwide movement known as Fight Club. As the fight club’s membership grows Tyler begins to use it to spread his anti-consumerist ideas and recruits fight club’s members to participate in increasingly elaborate pranks on corporate America. This was originally the narrator’s idea, but Tyler takes control from him. Tyler eventually gathers the most devoted fight club members (referred to as “space monkeys”) and forms “Project Mayhem,” a cult-like organization that trains itself as an army to bring down modern civilization. Overall it was thought provoking book and If you like dark humor and cynicism then it’s a must read for you.

Fatema’s Review of Contact by Carl Sagan

The story is about how a Scientist started receiving a message form Aliens and how Scientists, Politicians and Religious people reacted to the message. The novel may not be an irresistible page turner because the story unfolds slowly and there are long explanations sometimes. Scientific aspects may also be difficult to understand, but this is a great read for those who enjoy rational thinking because the novel is quite thought provoking. It beautifully addresses the differences between Science and Religion. If you are a hard and fast believer, read the book at your own risk because Sagan was a non believer and has addressed the issue from that point of view. The Novel basically gives the message that Humans will unite and forget their differences if they realized how insignificant humans are and how vast and majestic the Universe is. The story is intelligently written and I personally liked the strong female protagonist.

In the movie, they have changed some major relationships of Ellie with other characters and have somewhat altered the message Sagan was trying to give.

As there was only 2 members present with one new member. I got a chance to talk with them cos usually I didn’t get a chance to talk to anyone as they are all busy in their never ending conversations.

We’ve been interviewed for the first time!

Anum Shehreyar interviewed us all to make an archive of Pakistani Readers. It was a great experience and she came very well prepared. Our interviews can be found here while KHIBookSwap back story can be found here.

And in the end most important thing ‘A Selfie’ by Noor

12th #KHIBookSwap Meeting

12th #KHIBookSwap Meeting

Written by Farman Shams Co-founder of #KHIBookSwap