LAHORE - FAIZAN ALI WARRAICH - Lahore Readers’ Club monthly meeting held the other day at Books and Beans recommended its members to read Urdu author Raza Ali Abidi’s Rail Kahani (Railway story).

The meeting was organised under aegis of Desi Writers Lounge. Radio Jockey (RJ) Sara Alvi moderated the session attended by around two dozen members who are all committed booklovers and ardent readers of books. Book Rail Kahani has been chosen because of author’s interesting style of narrating the tales about people‘s cultures lives along the line from Balochistan provincial capital Quetta to India’s West Bengal capital city Kolkata. Raza the author travelled from Quetta to Kolkata by train. The book reflects his strong observation of cultural life of different communities.

Sara Alvi told The Nation that Readers Club’s last meeting was held in November last year in which novel “Genesis” by Bernard Beckett was recommended to members. The purpose of the monthly gathering is to ponder on books of different genres suggested by the members. The best book is decided after voting among the members. The members are supposed to share their reviews, analysis and criticism about the book in the next monthly gathering. “No movie can justify the story of a book, so first read the book before watching the film that has been adapted from the book’s story”, Sara said.

One participant, Mobahsira Piracha who is fond of reading sub continent’s writers and novelists said that we should read writers who wrote some of the finest novels of our era like Muhammad Hanif’s “A case of exploding mangoes”, Khaled Hosseini novel “The kite runner” and Kamila Shamsie novel “God in Every Stone”. “These novels shatter the blurs of the past era and come up with the interesting stories. They are entertaining and at the same time thought provoking,” she said.

The Lahore Readers’ club members exchanged their views and ideas about the new books. It was suggested one must read authors like Sylvia Path, American short story writer and a poet who lived shortly but wrote some of the best classic novels in American history. Bushra Riaz, a participant, suggested that we should also read African writers who wrote on colonialism which is actually a ‘shared history’ between people of sub continent and Africa who were ruled for centuries by European powers.

In a one hour sitting, dozens of books were part of the discussion including Indian author Khuswant Singh book “Train to Pakistan” , Manju Kapur “Custody” based on the joint family values, French novelist Charles Louis “The Shadow of the Wind”, Paulo Coelho’s “Al Chemist” and Indian writer Anita Desai books.

Another book which was discussed broadly was “Curfewed Night” by Indian author Basharat Peer, which exposes the tragic story of a group of Kashmiri brides who were raped by Indian soldiers while driving back from marriage hall. One member suggested that Bapsi Sidhwa novels are a must read for everyone. The next gathering of the LRC will on April 10. The gathering of ardent readers of books termed “encouraging” by the moderator Sara Alvi.