Readers bond over Woolf, Atwood at women-only book club in Mumbai
With the idea to spread and discuss the literature, Aqui came up with the idea of a women only book club last year.Updated:
Aqui Thami, an artist who also runs the Underground Bookhouse at What About Art in Bandra, started reading books written by women three years back. She realised that not a lot of people read these texts, although they offer a different perspective on various issues.
With the idea to spread and discuss the literature, she came up with the idea of a women only book club last year. She started conducting regular reading sessions every 10 days since June. On September 20, the group will organise an event to talk about the takeaways from the reading experience. Participants will use art, poetry and other forms of expression to explain their experience with a book that they read.
“There are very few places in the city where only women can come together. The reading club will provide that space as there are a lot of things that only they have experienced and can relate to,” said Thami.
Currently comprising 19 members from all age groups, these women feel that the stories bind them and help them speak out about their problems, which they couldn’t otherwise discuss.
“We have all experienced sexism is some form or the other, thus the feeling of sisterhood binds us together. Also, since you are sharing your experiences with absolute strangers, there is no judgement involved,” said Shikha Bafna, a student.
The other thing that the members said was that they could still relate to the books, like such as The Handmaid's Tale (1985) by Margaret Atwood or A Room of One's Own (1929) by Virginia Woolf, that were written decades back.
Dr Vani Kulhalli, a psychiatrist, said that bibliotherapy in itself was used in western countries as form of a treatment for depression. “National Health Survey in UK suggests a list of books that a person can read for therapy. Such reading clubs are in nascent stages in India but they can be really useful, and help people cope with stress,” she said.