My previous lament over the unavailability of good bookstores here, or rather affordable and eclectic ones, has been solved in a wonderfully creative way. Previously I had relied upon my travels abroad to stock up, or often K would bring me a few on his return from a business trip.
I received an email a few weeks ago from a friend, citing that some women have joined together and formed a book sale. Everyone was encouraged to donate previously read English books of any genre, which were in good condition. Proceeds were to go to a small local charity, headed by one of the women, which provides basic necessities for expat workers from the lower income bracket.
There is an active and vibrant expat community here, and newcomers to Doha will find that there are a great variety of activities going on, along with many groups one can join. Though events like these are not uncommon, in the past I had mainly seen sales of household items, jewelry, arts and crafts etc., so this was the first event of its kind.
Initially there was a plan for one sale to be held in the morning, for women only. But the first was an overwhelming success, therefore another was held a few weeks later in the evening for the entire family. I was unable to attend the morning one, but managed to cajole K and the kids to come with me in the evening. Both events were hosted by women who not only graciously opened their homes, but provided delectable and mostly home made snacks as well - the hot artichoke dip was out of this world!
It was, to say the least, a great success; both well organized and well attended. I was happy to see quite a few fellow bookworms who also shared my dismay over the lack of availability of good reading material, gleefully sorting through the numerous boxes of books, like kids in a candy store. Besides books there were copious amounts of magazines as well as a small selection of videos, DVD’s and children’s games.
Noshing my way though several boxes, I found enough books to sustain me for quite some time. I bought about 10 books, plus a few more for the children. The prices were extremely reasonable – paperbacks were 5 riyals each or 5 for 20 riyals. The children’s books were a bit less, and hardcovers slightly more. I regret not being able to attend the one held in the morning, since I later heard that the choices were much more abundant.
I am delighted to report that these sales will be an ongoing event; the next one is already planned for the upcoming fall. So, I am happy that I will now be able to get my book fix on a regular basis. I will do a bit of spring/fall cleaning prior to the next event and take out some old and well read books so that others may enjoy them as much as I have.