Friday, July 10, 2015

Top 3 Book Clubs in Manila For Your Inner Bookworm

It is the dream of every bibliophile to gush about the latest novel like a crazed maniac without the fear of being judged. Because scouring the bestsellers list on each bookstore is too exhilarating to do on your own, wouldn’t it be nice to have another bookworm with you? When you find a comfy little group who shares your sentiments—discussing your theories and arguments over good food and good conversations, no less—then you have truly found your home. Isn’t it better to bond with your fellow species? Thankfully, you don’t have to be alone. There truly is a place for booklovers to come together. Here are just a few of the hidden book clubs around the Metro where you can unleash your geekiness (and sniff all the books you want).

1.Read Philippines

Spark an intellectual debate about whether Severus Snape was a villain or a victim with the bright minds over at Read Philippines. With genres of books ranging from general non-fiction to comics and graphic novels, the book club welcomes all sorts of readers both locally and abroad. If you want to engage in lively (and sometimes heated)  conversations about the nature of human chaos in Lord of the Flies, or if you prefer to meet with like-minded yet quirky individuals over a plate of nachos and the soothing aroma of coffee, then Read Philippines is the perfect place for you. With meetups in different areas at different times, and occasionally during the Manila International Book Fair (MIBF), Read Philippines even has “Show and Tell” sessions where members can humble-brag about their collections and officially signed copies from their favorite authors.  You can recommend, swap, sell, or hunt for rare books and treasured vintage first editions with fellow members, as well as update each other on upcoming book-related sales and promos in the city. The book club is also home to authors and authors-to-be with their little writer’s nook, allowing aspiring authors some well-deserved space to share their thoughts on their works in progress. You can easily register as a new member here: . This club definitely sounds like heaven to me!

2. The Flips Flipping Pages Book Club

Book addicts have been sharing their love for the written word over at The Flips Flipping Pages Book Club since 2007. With over a thousand members from all over the country, the club boasts of its active Flippers who have expanded their reading circles over the years. Book discussions are held every month—from eccentric hole-in-the-wall restos to undiscovered gems in Sagada—in order to exchange opinions, stories, Q&A sessions, and even personal bonding moments with fellow bookworms, making reading less of a solo act and more of a social event. The Flips Flipping Pages Book Club is most definitely an open avenue for booklovers to meet people from various walks of life, from hipsters to corporate junkies, all coming together because of their burning passion for books—and the tendency to grab as many novels as they can from their bookshelves in case of fire. You can also channel your Westeros alter-ego and adapt a Game of Thrones persona because there are a lot of theme parties in store for you if you decide to join this merry band of bibliophiles. Aside from supporting home-grown books and local authors, the club also holds online read-along sessions with titles from Haruki Murakami, Jules Verne, and Ray Bradbury.  You can check out Flips Flipping Pages here: .

3. Reading Club 2000

More than just a book club, this one-of-a-kind experience is actually a library without any rules. Reading Club 2000 was founded by the brilliant mind of Hernando “Nanie” Guanlao fifteen years ago when he started his cause of sharing the joy of reading books to the local community. He then decided to display his collection of books outside his house. “I saw my old textbooks upstairs and decided to come up with the concept of having the public use them,” he says. Somehow, the concept of a book club-cum-library with no memberships or IDs required has steadily attracted booklovers from all over, and the number of books has now grown from a hundred to about three thousand. This just goes to show you that no matter where books are, bibliophiles will always find their way to them.
Nanie inherited the love for books from his late parents, and he wanted to pass it on to the next generation. He says, “Books have lives, and have to lead them. They have work to do. And the act of giving a book …it makes you complete. It makes your life meaningful and abundant." If you totally agree with that, why not go ahead and donate a book? Reading Club 2000 is open every day, seven days a week, from ten in the morning up to five in the afternoon (except on holidays, because Nanie needs to rest, too!).

“People can borrow, take home, bring back or keep, or they can share and pass on to another. But basically they should just take, take!" says Nanie. This impressive concept of honesty is also what draws people to the club. "What's taken gets replaced many times over. I don't keep an inventory. But there are a lot of books. They want to be read, so they come here." You can find out more about this unbelievable story about stories in their website here:, or head on over there to meet with Nanie personally at 1454 Balagtas St. Barangay La Paz, Makati.

There are loads of other underground book clubs that people might not know about, such as The Mysterious Reading Society and The Secret Book Club, but are as active and thriving as ever. Because really, all you need is some friends, some books, and a shared appetite for stories and you’ve got yourself your very own group. Why not try to start up a club of your own? Newbie booklovers should always be welcome, of course!

*This article was first seen at The Philippine Online Chronicles HERE.

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