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Book swap parties are the latest social trend

By November 10, 2017November 13th, 2017No Comments

Source : Times of India

Are you someone who has an almost groaning-under-the weight bookshelf at your home? And do you make a note of not picking up another book again, only to prove yourself wrong? You’re not alone. There’s a book lover everywhere and yes, several folks don’t have the heart to do away with their collection. In such a scenario, book swap parties seem to be the way out. You can now hand the books over to a reading enthusiast, and make a few friends along the way. Set in a speed-dating format, if the other person does not accept your book, you move on to the next person until you get your ‘match’. A huge trend in New York and other major cities abroad, the concept is catching on in Mumbai, too…


What it’s about
There’s no dress code or theme to this sip-and-swap party. Instead, you simply arrive armed with a book you have no plans of hoarding. Next is the pitch: Grab a chair and sit down. You have two minutes to pitch your book and so does the person seated opposite you. If you don’t like the book or the other person doesn’t like yours, change the chair. Keep moving until you have found the book you are looking for. Says Priyesh Thakkar, organiser of the party, “Strangers meet and exchange books over coffee; I can’t think of anything more pleasant than that!” The idea took root a year ago in his mind, on a flight from Mumbai to Goa. “It’s generally tough to meet someone who shares your thought process on a flight. But I found myself seated next to someone who loved books. We talked about everything under the sun – politics to finance and culture! There are few things in life that help us grow -books, travelling and talking to people, but this doesn’t come easily and often, at a cost. So, I thought that books could be an effective and inexpensive catalyst. We started with our first party in January this year and the number of participants has increased since,” he says. Adds Sukriti Kumar, communications professional, “It is a novel way to get people to chill out at a cafe on Sunday mornings, which are more relaxed. We started with around 10 people and have connected with close to 300 people in eight parties so far.”

`In an age where people would rather comment than communicate, this is apt’
For Mumbaikars, this party is a novel way to forge friendships. Company secretary Anjali Vora went to a book swap party recently and says, “I got to know of this through Facebook. I took along a book by an Indian author. In no time, I was exchanging books with a guy from an IT background. He gave me the simple tale of a boy, who discovers magic. We’ve become good friends and even meet up sometimes,” she states.

The concept does away with the heartbreak that you might go through when giving away older books. Urjita Jaisinghani, SYBA student of Jai Hind College, says, “Often, you hate parting with your collection. However, with this, it is reassuring to know your book will go into good hands. I parted with a book by Jane Austen and the person I gave it to, loved it. I got ‘My Sister’s Keeper’ in return.”
The book swap party also chalks up an agenda of fun with coffee, board games as well as a talk on an individual’s journey, which makes for a learning experience. Filmmaker Adhiraj Bose, who attended a book party in Khar, showed his film there, too. “I had carried a book with me on a whim and soon got talking to several people. We chatted about my work and now, some of us continue to stay in touch.”
Hardcore bibliophile Amit Minz, who moved to Mumbai from Gurgaon, says, “I’ve always been a book lover and to my regret I did not find such a platform for book readers in Gurgaon. When I came to the city and heard about this party, I thought why not give it a shot. I was pleasantly surprised when I did so. I landed up discussing authors with many people. I think such a party is lacking in today’s age of social media, where we don’t really sit down and talk; people would rather comment than communicate. I wish we could also do this in art, cinema and other beats. In fact, I would advise any stranger or introvert in the city to take this up as it’s apt for them.”

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