Participating in a book club is a great way to discuss ideas and gain new perspectives on literary works. In Dubai, you can be surrounded by people from different nationalities, but not really be aware of their worldview or perspective on life.
Joining book club discussions can certainly help with bridging the cultural divide. Remember to keep an open mind, and you’ll find that a book club meeting can be a fun and relaxing occasion.
Before settling on a club, have a look at the genre of books they select and the size of the club. Most clubs promote a democratic process for book selection, so you can vote for the books you’d like to read. Because a majority of the book clubs in Dubai use the website meetup.com, you can get a good idea of the composition and types of books read by looking online.
It is good etiquette to RSVP if you are going to attend a book club meeting. When you read, take some notes or highlight passages that you feel you may want to comment on. Good book club hosts usually select some topics for discussion prior to the meeting, but you’ll feel more confident speaking up if you jot down a few of your impressions about the book.
The Dubai Mall branch of Kinokuniya Books is the largest bookstore in the UAE, and also a good place to buy foreign language books. Magrudy’s bookstores are in different locations around Dubai, and also have a variety of well-selected titles.
Safar Dubai Book Club
The Safar Dubai Book Club has over five hundred members. The club was previously known as The Dubai Mall Book Club. Members explore different locations around Dubai for meetings, including locations in The Dubai Mall.
Using Goodreads as a platform to explore book titles, Safar Dubai Book Club welcomes newcomers and long-term residents of Dubai. They meet on the first Monday of the month and the third Wednesday of the month.
The group website acts as a discussion forum for each book, and the group selects books through a voting or recommendation process. The club works on an RSVP basis, so prospective members are asked to register their interest in advance of attending a meeting.
Would you like to read good modern fiction with interesting people in a relaxed cafe setting? If so, then Dubai Bibliophiles is the club for you. This book club meets every three weeks, on Saturdays at 7:00pm at Book Munch Cafe, located near Safa Park, Dubai.
The books are chosen through a voting process, and the group is open to any books within the specified genre. They do request that all discussions take place in English, so that everyone understands the nature and topics of discussion.
There is a token membership fee of 30 Dirhams (around 8.00 USD) due at the second meeting you attend. Dubai Bibliophiles accepts new members, male or female, interested in taking part in thought-provoking discussions.
Book Munch Cafe and Bookshop hosts book clubs, such as Dubai Bibliophiles, and hosts other literary events. These include book readings for babies and children, in English and in other languages.
If you’d like to read your book in the great outdoors, rather than in the cafe, then Book Munch has a picnic basket takeaway offer that includes a rug to sit on and complimentary passes to Safa Park.
This club actively tweets its members’ comments and suggestions on Twitbookclub. It is the most inclusive of the book clubs reviewed in this post. Remember, the goal is to read! Members are not absolutely required to read one of the four selected books each month. Rather, the selected books are a suggestion, and people are free to read one, all, or none.
The group meets at various locations on the third Saturday of each month from 11am – 2pm. The point of Twitbookclub is to nurture a love of reading. They have an “anything goes” philosophy. So, if you’ve read a different book than that which is on the list, by all means attend the meeting or tweet about the book you have read.
Authors can have their books featured and visit Twitbookclub sessions for a Q & A. It is only at the author’s sessions that the club requests you’ve read the book being discussed. Actually, all of Twitbookclub’s suggestions since the club launched in 2009 can be found at Goodreads.
Translating into “Books in Arabic,” Kitub Bilarabi is a book club with a twist. Members read books by Arab authors, for which there is an English translation available. While this book club selects books originally written in Arabic, it may consider books written in English by Arab authors. The purpose is to bridge the cultural divide between English and Arabic speaking readers.
Kitub Bilarabi introduces the work of well-known and lesser-known Arab writers to stimulate lively, cross-cultural discussions. Meetings are on Mondays, and members can RSVP and join book discussions on the meetup.com page.
The Baby Book Club
Here is a newcomer to the book club scene. The Baby Book Club is an initiative aimed to foster a love of books and reading in infants and toddlers. The club makes book reading an immersive activity. Small children are introduced to age-appropriate books using a variety of props. Literacy-based activities take place after the reading.
The Baby Book Club meetings take place at Caboodle, Dubai Mall, 10:30am on Mondays, and at The Change Initiative, 10AM on Wednesdays. There is a fee associated with this book club, but new members can ask for a discount.
Mrs. Darcy’s Book Club at Spontiphoria
Mrs. Darcy’s Book Club at Spontiphoria is a book club in Jumeirah for ladies. The club reads the works of female authors exclusively. Members meet for a spot of tea. The cost of each meeting is 40 Dirhams (12.00 USD) to cover the cost of refreshments at Spontiphoria Cafe.
Downtown Dubai Women’s Invitational Book Group
Downtown Dubai Women’s Invitational Book Group is a small female-only book club. It limits its membership to 10, and meets once a month to discuss a selected book.