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

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

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

26 Sep

1st year celebration of #KHIBookSwap

16th Aug. 2014 is the day when I formed #KHIBookSwap with Ifrah. The basic idea of this book club is to explore new genres and to connect all the book readers I know on twitter.

Alhamdulillah on 16th Aug. 2015 #KHIBookSwap completed its 1st year and we planned a little celebration. I have a idea of doing a book theme photo booth session at the celebration, so I discussed with Maham who is quite good at this. With some help from tumblr, pinterest and Maham I ordered some props for our celebration. After that I realized that we are first book club in Pakistan do to such a thing. We ordered Twix Cake from Sinful Bites. Which was so delicious and everyone likes it.

#KhiBookSwap

Almost all the members were present at the event and lost in their never ending conversations. I was excited as usual. Fizza brings homemade Chocolate Fudge Brownies which was a pleasant surprise for all of us.

First we cut the cake and later on we started our photo booth session and as expected everyone loves it. Here are the some photos from that day.

1st #KhiBookSwap celebration

Jamal and Ifrah holding props

1st #KhiBookSwap Celebration

Maham – who made all the props

1st #KhiBookSwap Celebration

Me with Ifrah Waqar – Cofounders of #KHIBookSwap

1st #KhibookSwap Celebration

My #KhiBookSwap Family

And above all selfie is must. . . . or should I say selfies.

1st #KhiBookSwap Celebration

Selfie by Noor

1st #KhiBookSwap Celebration

Selfie by Faiza

Thanks to my book club I’ve found diverse readers like Zeeshan and Jamal, creative people like Areeba, Noor and Maham and there are people who are with us from day one like Fizza and Noorulhuda. I really hope that in coming months I will find more good readers.

Noor Unnahar blogged about our 1st year celebration on her blog.

Thank you Ifrah, Fizza, Fiza, Noorulhuda, Jamal, Zeeshan, Natasha, Yusra, Jadirah, Maham, Areeba, Noor Unnahar and Faiza for making our book club meetings successful.

Written by Farman Shams Co-founder of #KHIBookSwap