As Mark Twain puts it, “Good friends, good books, and a sleepy conscience: this is the ideal life”, and which book lovers like me would readily agree to. Some of us have grown up with books as our best friends but are now finding it difficult to keep up with our reading habits. As we’ve grown older, the world has gotten faster and books have gone digital. But, the heart wants to reconnect with good books, with good friends and an ideal life. And, The Sunday Book Club helps you do just that!
The Sunday Book Club – better known by the #TSBC that trends almost every Sunday on Twitter – is the brainchild of three individuals from varying backgrounds – Raghav Modi, Rahul Gupta and Sudha Ganapathi who share a common interest for books. As mentioned in the club’s Twitter handle, it is a book talk that happens on Sunday between 3-4 PM on a pre-decided topic. It was this trend that caught my eyes on a Sunday and got me to explore further into the club and its existence.
Raghav Modi, an avid book lover and social media enthusiast, was drawn towards the chats that took place on Twitter, primarily on travel. He then started a film chat #MTOS (Movie Talk on Sunday) with a Twitter friend named Rachel, which was aimed more towards the UK and US folks due to its timing. But, with #MTOS gaining popularity and his interests always lying around a book chat, Raghav decided to get on with #TSBC.
“He then contacted Rahul Gupta and me to be a part of this venture as co-founders and after a flurry of emails #TSBC was all set to roll, with the first #TSBC event held on September 30, 2012,” recollects Sudha Ganapathi.
Interestingly, the three founders started #TSBC without having met each other. Raghav and Rahul met only last month, and Sudha has not had an opportunity to meet with either of them yet. Staying in different parts of India but connecting for the shared interest for books and founding #TSBC could only be possible due to social media. The Sunday Book Club exemplifies the power of social media to bring like-minded people together, despite the three founders living in different cities.
“We have been organising #TSBC week after week successfully. This would not have been possible if not for social media”, shares Rahul.
Social media has empowered people to connect with like-minded ones but just sharing a common interest for books cannot bring about an engaged community. To organise the event every Sunday, and that too successfully requires a massive amount of patience and to get it trending every Sunday requires a whole lot of engaging activities throughout the weekdays.
Raghav shares that the primary reason for doing #TSBC is to spread the love for reading and books and just have a place where people can talk and discuss books in all forms. And, @TSBookClub is a great place to do all that every Sunday.
The team ensures this happens by engaging in various ways with the community throughout the week, on Twitter as well as the TSBC Facebook page.
“We post questions and facts about the topic throughout the week to keep everyone informed, interested and excited about the event. We try to keep things interesting with unique topics, a bit of humour, some facts, and most importantly keeping the topics as open as possible so more and more people can take part and don’t feel left out,” enlightens Raghav.
The latest addition to The Sunday Book Club is the #TSBCWedReads where the team asks everyone to send a picture of what they are reading and what they think of the book.
“It’s a great way to interact with people during the middle of the week and remind them that we are still around,” quips Raghav!
That apart, the team also encourages people to post their book reviews and other activities with the #TSBC hashtag throughout the week, so that they can retweet them and spread the love a little more.
But, Twitter as a medium of chatter, does have its issues with varied individuals resorting to piling up their opinions on you. Hosting a Twitter chat since long now and facing the resulting backlash, Raghav believes patience can help tackle this to some extent, but when that also does not work, the team just switches off!
“We get everything from filthy tweets by people trying to give TSBC some other meaning to people who demand that we take up numerous social causes and bring about a change in the world. At times we ignore, at others we explain, and sometimes when we are about to lose our sanity, we completely switch off.”
This Sunday, the topic of discussion is ‘Shakespeare’ and #TSBC has been creating conversations and sharing tidbits about the Bard of Avon with its community.