Unveiling how Doha Book Club transforms and empowers communities through literature.
By: Fazmina Samat
The Doha Book Club, a haven for literary enthusiasts in Qatar, has evolved into a vibrant community fostering a love for books and transforming lives along the way. Founded by Afshan Sayed with Adeeba Jaffri, Mufassira Taskeen and Jayeetha Prakash as Co-administrators, this club transcends boundaries, engaging members through the power of literature.
Afshan Sayed : Founder and community builder
Afshan Sayed, the driving force behind the Doha Book Club, describes her journey as a quest to connect with like-minded individuals. “I wanted to create a space where we slow down and dedicate time to reading,” Afshan shares. Her passion for books stems from childhood, and the club emerged as a platform to share this love with other. “Post motherhood, my circle of friends changed, and I felt the need to find like-minded women who were as eager to discuss all things books as I was.”
The club’s growth has impacted Afshan’s reading habits, urging her to explore genres beyond her comfort zone. “Knowing that the book club meet-up is around the corner holds me accountable to finish reading the chosen book!” Afshan admits.
Speaking of the club’s influence on members, she notes, “The book club is like a community, and each time we discuss a book, the women share relatable stories or events from their lives” Afshan highlights the profound impact the club had on one member dealing with clinical depression becoming her solace and source of joy.
When asked about community engagement, Afshan emphasizes inclusivity in book choices, linking them to current world affairs. “This is not a social event but rather, a meet-up of book lovers specifically,” she says. Looking ahead, Afshan hopes for increased access to books in Qatar, advocating for lower prices to foster widespread reading habits.
Adeeba Jaffri : Writer and Teacher
Adeeba Jaffri, a writer and teacher, joined the club at Afshan’s invitation. Reflecting on her experience, Adeeba acknowledges the club’s impact on her reading preferences. “Being part of a book club forces me as a reader to read and discuss books that I wouldn’t have ordinarily chosen,” Adeeba admits.
Highlighting the club’s welcoming atmosphere, Adeeba remarks, “We don’t ask one another where we are from or what our background is. We love to read and discuss books.” She emphasizes the club’s role in encouraging diverse opinions through book selections.
Mufassira Taskeen : Content Strategist
Mufassira Taskeen, known as Taskeen on social media, expresses her joy in sharing book suggestions and exploring varied genres. “The book club helps us readers to share our ideas and how the chosen book compelled us to think a certain way” she shares.
Recalling a memorable moment centred around ‘Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone’ Mufassira fondly reminisces, “We all shared fond memories about our first introduction to the series.”
Mufassira sees the book club as a space promoting a sense of belonging among literary enthusiasts. “We are bound by our general love for books and reading” she adds.
Jayeetha Prakash : Content Creator and Bibliophile
Jayeetha Prakash, a content creator and mother, joined the club eager to connect with fellow book lovers. “Receiving personal messages from our audience regarding how encouraged they felt to start reading a book or that it helped rekindle their love for books is exhilarating” she shares.
Describing the book club’s meet-ups as wholesome, Jayeetha emphasizes the vibrant discussions that arise among members. “The conversation just flows during our meet-ups,” she remarks.
Looking ahead, Jayeetha envisions various community initiatives, including a book-swapping event and a kid's book club, aiming to engage young minds.
The Doha Book Club, founded by these passionate ladies, stands as a testament to the transformative power of literature and its ability to build communities, broaden horizons, and ignite a passion for reading in Doha and beyond.
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