Assalam alaykum everyone!
Hope you are having a wonderful start to the week ahead!
It’s here! 🎉
A post with all the details on our little book club. It’s been a long time coming and I’m glad to finally be able to share everything.
May, 2011 – When it all began
I can remember it like it was yesterday.
I was with my sister at a cafe here in Jeddah, named Vertigo (I think it shut down now? Not sure but wow it’s been a while!).
We were chatting as usual and enjoying our food, when during our conversation, we brainstormed the idea of starting a local book club. Both of us were readers, and loved books (still are and still do!). The idea of creating a community where book nerds can meet, connect, and share their thoughts on all things books thrilled us.
Sometime following the excitement of our idea, I remember sharing a Facebook status on my profile asking our circle of friends if they’d be interested in something like this. The response was positive and welcoming. My sister and I were truly ecstatic. Something of this like was not experienced by us in Jeddah and we felt invigorated at the thought of starting something new.
Our very first meeting was at Teayana. Attending the meet were my sisters and I, with Sumaiyya and Fozia Naseem. I like to think of that get together as our “founding members” meeting. Everything was so new and we were curious to see where all this would lead to.
If my memory serves me right, we hadn’t thought of a name for our club at that point. It was Sumaiyya who suggested”The Literary Girls” as a possible name… and the rest is history.
There’s something sweet and humbling knowing how far we’ve come. We conducted meetings on various genres to fuel our reading choices and discussions; Classics, Mystery, and Self-Help. We even organized a day where we visited Virgin bookstore and did some serious buying! It was so much fun!
We did not have a schedule set and so, met sporadically.
This didn’t play out so favorably in the long run as we started having meetings few and far in between. You know, life happened.
The biggest slump hit when we didn’t have a meeting for nearly a year and more.
There were definitely times where I didn’t know what direction to take our club in and even considered changing the name to something more generic *gasp* because I just didn’t know how to keep the group going online or in person even, to be honest.
SubhanAllah, I truly believe that there was wisdom behind the fact that I never got around to doing that somehow. For which, I am dearly grateful to Allah Subhanahu wa taala 💙.
August, 2015 – Starting over
A very very long time passed until I finally decided that I was overthinking everything (this seems to be a special skill of mine). I would brainstorm all these ideas to jump start our activities but nothing came to fruition as I was always over complicating things.
Last year in August, I sat down and wrote a simple post stating exactly the above. Mentioned that we’d “just ‘do it’ and figure it out as we go along”.
We had a small, intimate gathering at Nestle Toll House the following September. I believe it was around 4-5 of us. It felt so good to experience that familiar feeling again. Connecting with others, engaging in constructive conversations, and overall just having a really good time.
Back and at it again!
7 meets and 6 themes later… we now have nearly a group of 8-9 book clubbers in attendance every month! Alhamdullilah!
The numbers just keep growing! More importantly though, we meet and talk about books, reading, life, and everything in between.
What I find most rewarding is the element of community, the love for books, and an openness to try new things!
We’ve had themes on Mental Illness, Humor, Mystery, Cultural Literature, and even Horror. Having designated themes set for a meeting instead of particular titles enables everyone to participate with a book of their choice under that umbrella making the act of reading as accessible as ever for all ages and reading levels.
All About The Book Club!
Just what you were looking for? Allll the details below!
What is The Literary Girls?
The Literary Girls is a females only book club in Jeddah city of Saudi Arabia. We warmly welcome book readers and lovers of all ages, interests, and abilities!
When do you meet?
We meet once a month, the first Saturday of every month. If for some reason most members are unable to make it that particular weekend, we postpone the meeting to the following Saturday. Timings and location are decided democratically via a poll on the Facebook event page after everyone’s suggestions are taken.
How do you decide on a theme?
Our members are incredibly passionate and super amazing. Many of us already have a list of different themes we are looking to explore collectively when it comes to books. For every future meeting, the theme is decided during the meeting that comes prior to it by all members in attendance of that meeting.
Where can I join?
We’d love to have you! To join us and start participating, you can get in touch via any of the links below:
Goodreads: The Literary Girls
Facebook group: The Literary Girls
Anything else I should know?
Not really! Whether you’re an advanced book reader or a newbie, everyone is welcome.
Why Join A Book Club
There is a nifty compilation I did back in 2011 when we first had the idea of a book club. It is a Facebook note. You can access it here.
Each of those reasons relate to why I am in one. Being in this book club has helped me grow personally and socially. It has added richness to my oral and written language skills. I am encouraged to think about topics I don’t normally think about, read books I don’t normally do (which is a definite favorite!). I have read so many more books and stories than I ever thought I would. Above all… I’ve made some of the most wonderful friendships along the way.
So, that is it guys! Don’t hesitate to get in touch with me if you’d like to join us! Again, I cannot stress this enough – we are open to all ages and reading levels!
Until next time.
Have an amazing day!