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Posted On: 24 July 2019 04:30 pm
Updated On: 12 November 2020 02:04 pm

Qommunity Voices: Doha Bookworms gives reading a new meaning in Qatar

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Do you love reading? Are you looking for like-minded people in Doha who share your love and passion for books?

Then, Doha Bookworms is a great book club to be part of. It’s based in Doha and open to anyone above the age of 16. The four young ladies who hold the fort at Doha Bookworms love reading and all agree that their love for reading not only brought them together, but also helped them establish Doha Bookworms for people who share their passion. In that sense, this book club’s a great way to meet new people and make friends while talking about books.

People who love reading are passionate about it and you’ll rarely see them without a book in hand. The same is true about all those who are part of this fantastic initiative and no matter how busy they are, they will be found at the end of the month at the Doha Bookworms meet ups to talk books!

Here, we are talking to the bookworms behind Doha Bookworms and how this club has been beneficial to them and the community in general!

Have the four of you always been avid readers?

    Doha Bookworms: Yes! All four of us have been avid readers ever since we were little. Although, we all have such different lives, come from different cultures and belong to different nationalities, reading connects us as one.

    How and when did you know you wanted to do something like Doha Bookworms?

      Doha Bookworms: In our individual capacity, we knew that something was missing from the reading scene in Doha. Sumaica and Eman talked about not having a book club in Doha that they could join. Since all the book clubs we could find were not open for the public, we decided to form one themselves. Then, Uzma and Jean came on board because we all thought it would be easier to manage the book club with four people. Doha Bookworms was officially launched on 1 May 2018 and we had our first meet up at the end of March 2018.

      We started Doha Bookworms on Instagram because we were all active on it and used it for Bookstagram. We also became friends through this platform. So, we just made an account. Jean asked her brother to design our logo and we started posting. Then a month later, we held our first meeting at the Qatar National Library (QNL).

      What do you feel makes Doha Bookworms unique ?

        Doha Bookworms: We don’t think our work is unique. Reading is something that anyone can do. But, we focus on being honest and upfront about everything. Our aim is to have fun, to make reading enjoyable. Our book club is a judgement free space.

        Why would someone want to be part of Doha Bookworms?

        Doha Bookworms: Friendship and books. We believe in these two things wholeheartedly. So, if you want to indulge in some meaningful conversation, talk about your favourite book or get a push to start reading again, you should join us.

        How has Doha Bookworms benefitted the community in Qatar?

        Doha Bookworms: Doha's book community was lacking a space where individuals could come and talk about books. We have given the community that opportunity. We have had members tell us that we've reignited their love for books. We all have hectic lives. And, we are on our phones/laptops 24/7. So, it's nice to disconnect from the world for an hour and just talk about your favourite character in the monthly book, how feminism was perceived in the 1980s, and much more.

        As expats, it's also tough to make friends when you're new to a country. So, Doha Bookworms also gives the community that safe environment to explore and form new friendships. We've had a lot of people message us before they've even arrived here in Doha to ask about our meet ups. And, then join us.

        Qommunity Voices Doha Bookworms gives reading a new meaning in Qatar

        Where do you hold your meetings?

        Doha Bookworms: Coffeeshops, cafes, QNL. Our meetings are completely free. We operate on a ‘pay for your own coffee/snacks’ basis. Since we don’t ask any fees for joining the book club, we try to meet anywhere that is free and not very crowded. We usually meet at the end of the month.

        What do you look for when you’re looking for something for everyone to read in Doha Bookworms?

          Doha Bookworms: Our rule of thumb is that the book should be accessible. So, it must be available in stores in Doha, at QNL and on PDF. Accessibility is the reason we don’t read the latest books. Other than that, we try to have a mix of genres and authors. Because as readers, often we don’t venture out of genres we love. This book club is an opportunity to read something different, something out of your comfort zone. We also try to include controversial books or books that talk about relevant issues. We draw inspiration from incredible authors and characters in the books. We also look at each other for inspiration because we have very different lives and reading tastes.

          Every month, each of us picks a different book, and then we let members of the club vote to decide which book they want to read that month. We usually all meet up on the last weekend of every month.

          What are your favourite book that you have read through the book club?

          Sumaica: 'All The Light We Cannot See' by Anthony Doerr
          'The Handmaid’s Tale' by Margaret Atwood
          Eman: 'The Handmaid’s Tale' by Margaret Atwood
          Jean: 'The Kite Runner' by Khaled Hosseini

          What is your biggest achievement in terms of Doha Bookworms so far?

            Doha Bookworms: Ah! There have been many that we have loved. The biggest would be conducting a meet up at the Doha International Book Fair along with R’waaq (a book subscription in Doha). We also celebrated our one year anniversary in March 2019. And, being able to have the book club operational for a year was a huge deal for all of us.

            Qommunity Voices Doha Bookworms gives reading a new meaning in Qatar

            Why do you love what you do?

              Doha Bookworms: Books have the means to connect you. This book club has given us amazing friends. And that is everything. We have people tell us that they feel like they belong because they come to the meet up. It gives us a chance to do more of what we love, i.e., reading, meeting new people, sharing and discussing that with people. We have talked about politics, racism, feminism and so much more in these meetings.

              What do you think of the reading scene in Qatar?

                Doha Bookworms: The reading scene in Doha has completely transformed in the last five years. From the opening of QNL to multiple events happening around books, it’s great to see so many things for bookworms in Qatar. Doing our small part for the literary scene here in Doha has been a dream come true. Ever since we formed the book club, we have attended a lot of events like OneShot Latte’s book swaps, the book launch of Kummam Al Maadeed’s 'The Lost Rose', Rwaq’s anniversary celebrations, etc.

                Do you have any message for readers in Qatar?

                  Doha Bookworms: Enjoy reading. We all have busy, hectic lives and often we forget that reading is supposed to be fun. If you are not enjoying what you are doing, put it down. And grab another book. Life is too short to read something you don’t like. Other than that, go out of your comfort zone and try reading a different genre. You never know when you might be surprised.

                  How can people join Doha Bookworms?

                  Doha Bookworms: Follow us on Instagram at @dohabookworms where we post about our book choices for the month. We also post updates regarding the meet ups, where and when they will be held. All you need to do is just show up at the meet up. Your coffee is on you, but good conversation and book recommendations are on us.

                  Our next meet up is this Saturday 27 July 2019 at Caffe Vergnano, Fereej bin Mahmoud, from 4 pm to 6 pm, so feel free to join in!

                  For more information on Doha Bookworms, check out their social media pages:

                  Facebook: DOHABookworms2018
                  Instagram: @dohabookworms

                  Are you a book lover? Have you heard of Doha Bookworms? Will you join their upcoming meet up? Do let us know your thoughts in our Comments section. Like and share the article - it keeps us going!