News: Jakarta Book Club is Here to Stay

Jakarta, Indonesia. Written by Shirley Christie.
Kinokuniya Plaza Senayan has become the witness of the birth of Jakarta Book Club, the latest book club that is ready to mediate book lovers across the city. Although Jakarta is listed as one of the most populated cities in the world, the existence of a book club is still like an oasis found in a desert. Driven by motivation to read more books like in my younger days, I decided to start the idea of a book club with a group of friends. Having the support from my previous Eka Tjipta Foundation's narrative writing class reassured me to go further and expand the idea. Yesterday was the soft launch of Jakarta Book Club (JBC). We may not have candles lit on the ceremonial cake just yet, but somehow I feel that that was the beginning of a long friendship. Like R.D. Cumming said, "A good book has no ending", that is how a friendship should be. The members may come from different backgrounds, but we have one thing in common. The passion to know more.          

The gathering was started at 7.30 pm, although one-third of all attendees came later than that. Mostly came to the event after being invited through Facebook, Twitter, or email. However, ten people missed it despite of their RSVP. In that short gathering, Jakarta Book Club have listed 18 new members. The group will start reading "Tinkers", a book by Paul Harding, that has won Pulitzer prize this year. Many reviewers said that this book has unique approach. Harding's family background could have become the inspiration of this book. Although slim, this novel said to pack so much details into its tightly wound prose. I will start read it tomorrow, as soon as I get it from Kinokuniya. Some members have signed up to buy the book collectively, although this is not a requirement in order to join the club. The first book session will be held on September 5th, 2010. Jakarta Book Club will read English book and Bahasa book alternately, as a way to accommodate more preferences. During the gathering, nominations for Indonesian book was announced, and three books were chosen for the next candidates ("Kartini Nggak Sampai Eropa" by Sammaria, "Menjadi Tjamboek Berdoeri: Memoar Kwee Thiam Tjing" by Kwee Thiam Tjing, and "Si Parasit Lajang: Seks, Sketsa & Cerita" by Ayu Utami). These books will be announced publicly on social networks and everyone is welcome to vote for one of them. The most voted Indonesian book will be the topic for the second book session, which will be held after Eid ul-Fitr holiday. 

As a new group, Jakarta Book Club still has many things to improve. The official website is currently developing "Member Area" where only members could enjoy the privileges inside. It is really simple to become a member; come to JBC gathering and sign up for a member card. Hopefully, there is no more excuse for not reading, Jakarta. 

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