What Sort of Things Happen in a Book Club?
Do you love books but feel you’re the only one who does? When in Manila, there is no reason to feel that way!
Since 2007, the Flips Flipping Pages has been offering support services for book addicts unwilling to stop their exalted habit of reading. The book club that now boasts over 1,000 members from all over the Philippines will not help you quit but will enable you, encourage you to get more, buy more, read more, learn more!
I’ve been a member and admin of the group for five years and I can say that since becoming a Flipper, reading has never been the same. Many a time, I’ve talked up a storm with fellow book lovers from early morning to early morning. I’ve expanded my reading choices until I have over 700 to be read. I learned how to barter for books, instead of just buying because some of these book owners prefer more books over cash. I learned how to blog and, of course, I’d blog about books. You should read my very outraged article on the book tax brouhaha.
Every month the Flips Flipping Pages meet, to exchange ideas, mini-reviews, book recos, games, questions and debates from intellectual to inane, asaran, kwento, songs, poems, advice, dedications, slum book exchanges, at kung ano ano pa. Where do we meet? Usually at cafes and restaurants and sometimes at bookstores’ event areas. The bookstores just love having all these bookworms going crazy over their books.
With the FFP, life is less lonely and reading is so much more social. I meet interesting, intelligent people all the time now. They come from all walks of life, from students to beauty-queen geeks to hipster professionals. Actually, most just seem ordinary folks who turn out to be extraordinary because their love of reading had honed their minds and hearts and made them realize they are capable of offering so much more. On the forum boards, though, we are all equal. We love to hear each other’s thoughts about books and reading and any issues related to it.
And if you think book clubs is all about reading you can think again! Over the years, we’ve done so many other things. Being in a book club opens up so many possibilities!
Flippers have a lot in common. Many have their mothers to blame for getting them hooked on books. (Thanks, Moms). Many have found themselves sitting on the floor of Book Sale branches scrounging for the best buy. Many went through a Nancy Drew phase. Many consider books as valued possessions worth saving in a fire.
We’ve savored the gastronomic offering of eateries, from hole-in-the-wall places in Binondo to tourist draws in Pampanga. We’ve gone through trials by water and underground caves in a grueling 7-hour spelunking adventure in Sagada. We’ve reached out to underprivileged kids and brought them to Museo Pambata in an amazing fun-filled day of learning.
We dressed up in our best prom dress and painted the night red in one bloody Stephen King-themed activity. We solved the “Mystery of Who Killed Czar” when we found ourselves in our own Sherlock Holmes whodunit (it was the microbiologist who did it, by the way. He used deadly fungus to infect a book :P.).
Some of these Flippers, they love to dress up in costumes and hold thematic parties. You want Harry Potter or Game of Thrones, you got it! In this picture is last year’s SteamPoe Halloween Party. That’s Gege Sugue (left-most in the top picture), FFP founder and the person responsible for all this kaguluhan in the bookish community.
We paid tribute to the works of our National Hero Jose Rizal with a lively discussion and by dressing up as characters from Noli Me Tangere. We’ve danced to the tune of Carnival at Libreria, an independent bookstore at Cubao X. We’ve participated in two Filipino Reading Conferences and got to know so many local and international authors. Some of them are friends now (which actually opens up a whole new dilemma because how do we honestly review a book if the author is a friend… but that’s a blog for another time.)
What’s for sure is that much of the book club’s efforts help support local books. We make it a point to read books by local authors and encourage other members to also read them. I believe that we readers are making ourselves heard now by local publishers.
A few more bookish scenes, from a discussion of Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon to a tribute to Jose Rizal’s works.
The FFP meets every month in various locations in Metro Manila to discuss a book or a reading theme. The selection this 2013 is diverse and challenges us to read beyond our comfort zone. This month, for example, the book to be discussed in an audio version of Bill Bryson’s Neither Here Nor There. In June, it’s Talking to Girls About Duran Duran by Rob Sheffield and Salingkit by Cyan Abad-Jugo. July is a nosebleed month for me because the book is Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky (I think the moderator secretely hates me :P). August and September are The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera and The Sirens of Titan by Kurt Vonnegut.
I really look forward to October and November though as the selected books are more to my liking: Night Shift by Stephen King (we’ll hold it in a reputed haunted house) and Season of Mist by Neil Gaiman. December is movie month with The Godfather by Mario Puzo.
The FFP also holds online read-along. We just finished the discussion on the fantastic 1Q84 by Haruki Murakami and are now doing a Sci-Fi Read-Along of books by Jules Verne, Isaac Asimov, Ray Bradbury and Neal Stephensong.
With so many culturally enriching activities and wonderful people, the FFP has helped me become a better reader and a better person. That’s why I love this bookclub so much.
When in Manila, do check us out. We’d love it if you could join us. Don’t worry. No joining fee! Just bring your self. See our links below.
Check out these flippin links:
Facebook Page: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Flips-Flipping-Pages
Facebook Group: http://www.facebook.com/groups/21398849645/
Photos by Gege Sugue, Rhett de Jesus, Blooey Singson, Dianne Singson.
What Sort of Things Happen in a Book Club?