Bring Your Own Book Club attempts to find compatible people who have a passion for reading
For book lovers, the need to discuss their reads with someone is always common practice.
For book lovers, the need to discuss their reads with someone is always common practise. While many bibliophiles enjoy the company of fictional characters more than those in the flesh, finding a like-minded person to chew over their favourite reads is almost like finding a kindred spirit. This is what Greater Noida-resident Nidhi Srivastava (32) thought when she decided to create her own book club with a twist. Founded in 2015, Bring Your Own Book Club (BYOB) attempts to find compatible people who share Srivastava’s passion for reading.
An innovative take
Srivastava had found the concept of the traditional readers’ club, which assigns one book to the members and centres the discussion on it, slightly daunting. Conceptualising the idea for months and coming up with multiple formats on how her book club can be different, she decided to take the ‘Bring Your Own Booze’ concept, and swap it with books. “This gives us immense freedom to invite many people and have a number of discussions on varied themes instead of one in-depth conversation.
The best part is that there is no compulsion for people to read a particular book,” points out the 32-year-old, who is a professional dog trainer. With personal favourites including murder mysteries by Agatha Christie, a number of audiobook memories, and The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky—the book that was featured in BYOB’s first meet—Srivastava created a community of book lovers who meet once a month at an agreed-upon location and discuss their favourite books.
The club that started at Srivastava’s home became a huge hit in Delhi, and soon she opened other chapters all over the country. The expansion began thanks to Jayanti Jha, who contacted Srivastava right before moving to Mumbai. Extremely interested in the concept, Jha requested the BYOB founder to approve her to open a chapter in Mumbai. Through word of mouth, subsequent BYOB chapters were created at different cities around the country. Currently, the four active chapters are Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru, and Jamnagar. Nandini Swaminathan from Gurugram who briefly ran the Bengaluru chapter before moving to the NCR says, “The club is a welcoming and inclusive space. It’s a great way to connect with fellow readers.”
Back on track
The pandemic could not stop BYOB’s bibliophiles. Once the COVID-related lockdown commenced, the club started conducting sessions over Zoom with all the chapters.
Speaking of the first offline meeting they had after the lockdown, Srivastava says, “It was strange but exhilarating at the same time. I was meeting a few new members who I hadn’t met in person.” After concluding a session on October 17, Srivastava says they will have another in November, although the dates are undecided.