With no registered body and no office bearers, the Madras Book Club has been successfully running for a decade and half…perhaps the love for books has kept the club alive and functional all these years. A book club is often formed by a group of people where they meet to discuss a book or books they have read. Madras Book Club was started 14 years back by KS Padmanabhan of East West Publications (now Westland); S Muthiah, writer, historian & chronicler; N Parthasarathy, Oxford University Press; B Abdullah, Orient Longmans and S Krishnan, United States Information Service (USIS), mainly to discuss a book and exchange views.
In the initial years, they met together in Publishers' canteens. But after a few years, they decided to give up as they could not get a proper place to discuss. It was then that Mr & Mrs SN Kumar of Madras Library Association and Ranganathan Information Centre gave them an option to hold their meetings at Hotel Connemara at concessional rates. Ever since, the Club is meeting there till date. Gradually, the Club became popular and membership grew.
The unique thing is that the club continues to function in an informal function. Thought of a registered body, office bearers, election has not risen so far. The present membership stands at about 400 and the meetings are held atleast twice a month, which makes atleast 25 in a year, with an average attendance from 75 to 200 members. The present annual fees are Rs 850 for an individual and Rs 1,250 for couple. In addition to regular meetings, Kumar Endowment Lecture is held once or twice a year. Sometimes, publishers hold book launches as well.
If excerpts in a book are not discussed, somebody from some faculty addresses the meeting. Two survivors from the original founders KS Padmanabhan and S Muthiah are still actively involved in the club. The former takes care of the transactions at his office and generally the meetings are conducted by Muthiah.
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