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Interview: The Candid Book Club

I had the beautiful luck to stumble across The Candid Book Club a few years ago when they had just started their book club. I immediately fell in love with their sharp, insightful, and genuine book reviews. Their no-nonsense approach is what gives them their immense credibility and I always check them out when looking for new titles for our Rama store. Their passion for books is contagious and it is so inspiring to see a group of brown women killing it! They now host incredible book events with incredible authors such as Elif Shafak, Susan Abulhawa, and Huma Qureshi (and many more) at the iconic Waterstones Piccadilly Circus in London. It was an honour to catch up with them.


1. How did The Candid Book Club journey start?

Back in 2016, I set up a WhatsApp group and added all my reading friends to it. I grew up with Mimi, went to university with Omma and Jess, and Tanya is Omma’s sister so I’ve known her what feels like forever. Whenever we met we’d speak for ages about books and swap books when we could. At the time the whole influencing thing was in its infancy with many travel, food and fashion pages but nothing to do with books. The aim was to get as many people reading along with us as possible and set up an account where we posted simple and honest reviews! Six years later we’re still going strong and doing more than we could have possibly imagined!


2. What is the story behind the name?

We knew we wanted to give people real reviews and ratings, so it had to be something linked to honesty and transparency. We toyed around with @thehonestbookroom and then I don’t recall who came up with it, but when The Candid Book Club was mentioned, it just stuck!


3. Please recommend a book that you loved and think everyone should read.

We read all kinds of books across different genres and we each have our own unique tastes but I suppose if we had to choose…
Tanya: Jemima J by Jane Green
Mimi: Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by JK Rowling
Omma: We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Jess: The Good Immigrant edited by Nikesh Shukla
Linda: Mornings in Jenin by Susan Abulhawa


4. What is one piece of stationery that you cannot live without?

Does a bookmark count as stationery? You won’t catch any one of us without one! And a good notebook for all the candid behind the scenes and planning that goes into our events!


5. When is your next event and which book will you be discussing?

We’ve got two more events before we take a break for summer!
We’re going to be interviewing the incredible Kit de Waal at the Primadonna Festival in Stowmarket on Saturday 30th July, 3pm. Find out more here.

And on Thursday 4th August, we’re going to be hosting a lunchtime book club on The Love Hypothesis at Waterstones Piccadilly’s #booktokfest! We’re kicking things off at 13:30 and we can’t wait to get to the bottom of it. Find out more here.