One book, twelve chapters

5 March 2015 Text and illustration Sevda Semer
If you cross the same streets every day, it's easy to decide that your city has nothing more to surprise you with. But while one door opens to your favorite bar, another one is probably leading to a space where you've never been before. This Sunday, we chose the second door.

We've been here before, of course. Greenwich Bookstore is a great place for books and events, but we're visiting the bookclub for the first time. Every big city needs at least one of them. We can't promise it'll change your life, but actually, who knows? If you meet someone at a bar, do you become best buddies? Well, talking about your favorite book with a person who just gets you is something that happens rarely and is a lot stronger bond than saying Cheers! a few times.

Today we talk about a book with fantastic elements - the Sci-Fi/Fantasy section of the club is moderated by Alexander Popov. There's no membership in the club, but when people begin to talk on first names, we understand that everyone knows eachother. Yes, it does sound scary. And it is - in the first five seconds. In the time it takes us to turn around and put our jackets on the chairs, this small community has already embraced us.

There is lemonade, coffee and chocolate for everyone, and Alexander starts by showing us a mind map he has done for the book. In the center is the title - The Infernal Desire Machines of Doctor Hoffman. Behind us, we hear the sound of the coffee-bookstore, but after a few minutes the only important thing is in our semicircle of chairs. The discussion begins here and online, on the live broadcast page.

This is a book that causes polar views, so in the fierce conversation we see the main characters in the club: the one who confidently uses big literature terms and the one that equally confidently asks for their "translation"; the man who is excited about the book in the opposite direction and has come to express all its negatives; the boy that is talking with free associations and his mind is like a roller coaster with sharp turns; the woman who listens and smiles, but never says anything.

Only two chairs have remained empty. On the other twelve we see completely different people, but the contrast between women in dresses and high-heeled shoes and boys with sneakers and loose shirts melts. Two hours and several disputes later, they put away their e-readers and books, drink the coffee, forgotten in the conversation, and each goes through the door back into the city they know. These different people who share something so great will be here at the next meeting. We suspect that our chairs will also be occpupied - we're already a part of the club.


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