Exchanging literature, experiences and opportunities
People who love books, coming together to exchange books with similar minded people, makes for a very interesting concept. Akbar Khan’s idea of book barter has caught the fancy of book lovers in Panjim
Different people like different things. Some clothes, other perfumes, expensive cars or acquiring the latest electronic gizmo. Then there are those who spend their time with the written word. They like to buy books, read them, discuss the ideas presented in the book and perhaps even try to follow them in everyday life. Books are a source of great joy and comfort for millions around the world. There are, however, some practical issues that surround books. The more one acquires them, the more space they require in one’s house. Given the cost of space in today’s world, every square feet can mean a few thousands. Where does that leave the lover of books?
Enter Akbar Khan, who has come up with a simple idea. He says, “Instead of giving them away to libraries or other organisations, why don’t we barter books amongst book lovers.” He goes on to say that he was not in favour of e-book readers that rob people of the pleasure of holding a book and reading it. He felt that it would be nice if he could incorporate the idea of books, exchange and meeting people and discussing books. And the idea of a book barter came to him. He says, “A person should come with a book and exchange it with someone else after explaining the idea behind the book. The next time he or she comes over, it would be nice if they could bring a new person along. This will ensure new people keep coming into the group along with all kinds of ideas and philosophies.” The first barter meet was held in April this year at Bookworm and the second one in June. To ensure everyone met everyone, Akbar adopted the speed dating format whereby everyone was given five minutes to present details of their book to the person sitting in front of them. When the coordinator blew the whistle to signal time, the participants would move to the next chair. Arti Fernandes says that at the last meeting, there were 12 people who had three books each across various genres. She says, “I love books and while I enjoy reading them, I am not in the business of accumulating them. The books I love I will never give away but those I am not that fond of, I don’t mind giving. What is also interesting is that at such platforms, you are exposed to new ideas and Akbar encouraged me to take a book on lateral thinking, which I would have not picked up at a book shop. It’s been an interesting read. These platforms are also good for meeting new people.” For Runa Menezes, who likes fiction and motivational books, the idea of meeting new people, listening to new ideas was an ideal recipe for an excellent evening. She picked up a book set in the First World War and is looking forward to reading it through. Sometimes such evenings can bring about unexpected joy. Meenakshi Mambharey has been searching for a book on traditional Saraswat cooking for eight years and she was stunned when a guy came with the book, saying that his wife had tried a few recipes from it and did not want to do anything else. She says, “I just grabbed the book in sheer excitement because it had run out of print in shops around Goa. It made my day. I love reading books and I will be attending more evenings to come across more of such treasures.” TM Victoria is a toastmaster like Akbar and came after he informed her. Open to all genres, she says it was always interesting to meet new people. Akbar is keen on exploring different formats to keep things interesting. The speed dating format to present books was a hit and now perhaps it is time to try something else. It’s certainly a good time to rummage through your collection of old books and drop in for the next meeting to learn what is happening.
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