Raising readers in Rukizu through book club | MorungExpress

Some members of Whimpering Roars from the Hills Book Club.

Morung Express News
Kohima | February 5

“I used to read newspaper wraps. Once I remember even picking a piece of paper from the road and almost met with an accident. This just shows how hungry we were for books.” Kuvethilu Thuluo would read at any given opportunity to the extent that her folks would say, “come out and look at people.”

But she had not realized her love for books then. “We wouldn’t have known we love reading because we were never exposed to it”, she says. Eventually, as she was exposed to novels in college, she knew with firm conviction that ‘reading’ was her first love. It was also then, she strongly felt that “reading should not be a luxury, but should be open to everybody.”

“Whimpering Roars from the Hills Book Club” is an outcome of this realization, which she initiated in October 2021. Her childhood friend, Hütülü Chuzho whom she grew up with in Pfütsero does not remember having a book to read despite her love for it. “There was no bookstore and there was also the financial aspect of it”, she puts across.

Hütülü Chuzho recalls reading a Sidney Sheldon novel while in class 10 and remembers being so heartbroken because the two main protagonists in the book had hung themselves. To this, she also says, “I think it’s because we are so hung up on fairy tales with happy endings.” Another time, she was so thickened in a book that she started looking for her cup of coffee only to realize later that it belonged to the character in the novel.

Pfütsero is not a reading friendly place, they both agree. More so, Rukizu colony, where they call home, “is a bit isolated, similar to a remote village and is more economically backward. All our focus is on other things like sustainability.” But in the meantime, they insist, “what we have also realized is that those who grow up with the luxury of books, are able to perform better in life. We feel casual reading is so important and we should love it.”

It was this very vision that prompted them to bring together children of varying ages from Rukizu Colony to read the same book in a month and move on to a new book the following month. Currently, Whimpering Roars from the Hills Book Club has 18 members including 10 adults and 8 children.

They further observe that “especially the youngsters are so frustrated with life because whatever we consume is western culture, and different from what we experience.” The whole idea of ​​the reading exercise through the Book Club is to “tap into local writers.” “We want to make things relevant to us because relevance is very important”, they express while emphasizing on the need to read as many local books as possible.

In collaboration with a local publisher which gives a certain discount on the books purchased, the eighteen members of the Book Club started reading in the month of November 2021 by procuring the same book title for every member each month.

Kuvethilu Thuluo and Hütülü Chuzho, both of whom hail from Phüsachodu village under Phek district believe that “reading really broadens our minds and especially reading local books have given us the hope that we can also venture into this kind of career options—the field of arts .”

Already having ignited the spark for reading among its members, they are hopeful that they will be able to inculcate the culture of reading in Rukizu colony. “Hopefully by the end of this year, we will also be able to build a small library in Rukizu,” they put across.

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