“We read to know that we are not alone,” is a phrase often misattributed to the British writer CS Lewis. But that doesn’t take away its relatability.
Book clubs are the truest manifestation of a reading community, one that Bollywood actor Sonali Bendre Behl understood all too well. “Reading was always my first love, and somewhere in the hustle and bustle of life, I felt like I’d lost that connect,” she told Quartz. A cancer survivor, mother, and entrepreneur, Bendre Behl decided the only way she could rekindle this habit was by sharing it with others. She set up Sonali’s Book Club, an online community of readers and authors, in March 2017.
She selects a book and it is announced on the club’s Facebook and Instagram pages. The members then read it, and a discussion ensues—either as a Facebook live session with the author, comments from readers to which the author responds, or a textual discussion between the followers and Bendre Behl. Currently, the club has 18,000 followers on Facebook, and 10,000 on Instagram.
In 2019, Bendre Behl chose an eclectic selection of books about love, ethics, mythology, and family. Here are 11 books her club read this year:
- The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman: For Bendre Behl, this is a book for all ages, one that led Gaiman to become the first author to win both the Newbery and Carnegie medals. It’s heart-warming, filled with magical creatures, amazing illustrations, and stories of love and farewells.