“That’s the thing about books. They let you travel without moving your feet.” – Jhumpa Lahiri
A group of any number or size establishes a space for individuals with different, contrasting personalities and perspectives to come together for bonding, sharing experiences and developing a sense of belonging. The group becomes a comfortable space for expressing ideas and feelings and respecting each for its uniqueness of knowledge.
With a similar objective, we became members of the newly found Book Club at United Academy, the first of its kind. The club was established with the purpose of encouraging students to engage in reading habits, to explore and delve into literature and its facets, to motivate students to read for pleasure and to diversify the acquisition of knowledge. Since the nature of the club was majorly student-centred, the club with its extensive reading activities became a ground for holding natural discussions that led each of the participating members to inquire, argue and be critical.
Subi Blon shares that she got to know herself, and became familiar with her opinions, perspectives through her membership at the club. She was not a book person, to begin with, but by exploring a new opportunity, she tells that she gradually developed a liking towards books and reading. She shares her experience of the first meeting of Book Club, where everyone had to introduce themselves and talk about why they love reading. She remembers being extremely nervous, fidgeting and turning red while just being able to say “Hello everyone… Subi Blon”. Realizing that she feared public speaking, she mustered the courage to overcome it, and thanks book club for helping her identify her weakness. From then on, every chance she got she pushed herself to speak in front of the masses.
The fact that book club was more than just reading, Subi encourages everyone to explore and experience the same way she did by joining the club. She got to meet new people despite studying in the same school, and she was glad to have met and communicated with all the new faces.
However, the club did have some loopholes, while aiming to work towards its objectives. Rakshya Kharel shares that although the first few meetings were fun the enthusiasm faded. She stated that this could possibly be because of the untimely meetings, monotonous interaction as only a few of them were too involved and others did not speak much. However, she is hopeful that this could be avoided for the next set of members. She suggests organising games and other fun activities along the way so that everybody feels included and are encouraged to speak up. She also sees the benefit of asking questions which would enable the members to dwell deeper into the various themes that any particular novel tackles.
With the hope of keeping in touch with our creative side, the book club will continue to work on improving the drawbacks and aim to fulfil its objectives, upon which it is founded. The club will continue to foster interaction and collaboration, and encourage students to be inquisitive. We hope that in the coming days, the book club will be one of the many best part of your time spent here at United Academy. We welcome you all in our club, while also bidding farewell.
Arati Khadka ( 12 E, Science)
Rakshya Kharel (12 D, Science)
Subi Blon (12 C, Science)