By Nidal Chebak
By Nidal Chebak
Fez – “We are a society that doesn’t read!” this is a statement that I’ve always heard from almost all the people I know. It’s true; we don’t think or even consider reading as part of our culture. Reading is one of the richest activities that we can try to turn as one of our habits. It’s the only way we can feed our mind as well as our soul. Reading broadens our horizons and our perceptions of the world around us. It makes us aware of who we are, either as individuals or groups and it teaches us to accept the difference of other people and other cultures that we have to deal with in our life.
I met Souad Belhorma last year when we were collaborating in associative activities. Souad is currently a PhD student, at Center of Women and Gender Studies, in Sidi Mohammed Ben Abdellah University in Fez. She has always had a project in mind to develop the habit of reading books among young people in her city, Fez. The idea was a book club where a group of people can read and discuss a book each month.
First of all, she created a Facebook group page in June 2011 entitled The Fez’ Book Club, Reading Club and Book Discussion. According to Souad, the club is “a Facebook-based group where members can interact with each other. The selection of the book to-be-discussed goes under a system of suggestion and vote by the members themselves. The book that gets the highest rate, regardless of its language, whether Arabic, French or English is the one to be read and discussed. At the beginning, our meetings took place at Café clock, a cultural café in Medina of Fez. Two months later, the American language Center of Fez offered us its space to organize our reading and discussion activities.”
The Fez’ Book Club creates a space for book lovers to read, share ideas and discuss books. It’s a great opportunity and an initiative that was lacking in the intellectual sphere of Fez as the Spiritual and Educational capital of Morocco. Souad describes the group as being “a public reading club which includes a number of readers who actively engage and participate in reading and discussing different genres of books, from different disciplines, different cultures and in different languages.”
Souad went on to say that “the book club gathers readers from different backgrounds”. “We have male and female readers whose age range between 18 to 35 years old. Almost all of them are university students (BA, MA, and PhD students), teachers, and employees. We welcome all book lovers and there are no requirements to be added to the group except that of having an interest in reading books and discussing them with other members, sharing ideas and widening the scope of the discussion,” she added.
Hadi Elkinany is a teacher of English who is a loyal member of the group. According to Hadi “The club is an opportunity to read and share what we read. Reading is a factor of life for us to improve our being. Sharing this great habit with other members of the club, who are interested in reading, is very encouraging to read more and more.”
Souad has a support group of readers who are committed to the Club and its objectives. She concludes “I am indebted to my friends and to the members of the club for its success especially, to Hadi ElKinany, Mohammed Hamzaoui, Fatimazehra El Hassani and Kaoutar Bekhchan for their inputs, as well as their help in making the book club a success.”
Reading books is a habit that should be instilled in young people, who in turn are likely to pass it on to the coming generations. It’s a leisure activity that enriches life with new perspectives and ideas.
In this regard, the book club provides an area where a person can read a good book, discuss it with other people and make new friends who share the interests.
The book club has organized four book discussions about the following books
1- The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho ( July 2011)
2- The Awakening by Kate Chopin (August2011)
3- The History of Love by Nicole Krauss ( September 2011)
4- Seven Wives and Seven Prisoners or Experiences in the Life of a Matrimonial Maniac. By Abbott, L. A ( November 2011)
5- The Sand Child by Taher Benjelloun (will be discussed December 24, 2011)
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