BENGALURU: Reading takes you to another world, that of fantasy, right from the comfort of your room’s cozy corner. For the love of books, writer couple Zac O’Yeah and Anjum Hasan will kickstart an initiative where local authors, bookstore owners, and book lovers will come together to celebrate bookstores as prominent cultural institutions. Starting this Saturday, 19 writers will participate in the events. This will be followed by a panel discussion on Sunday about writers and their relationship with bookshops. Ramachandra Guha, Anita Nair, and Nisha Susan, are some of the prominent authors who are participating in this initiative.
“We will start off with six events in six shops, with lots of book talk and fun interactive elements such as writers guiding book lovers to their favourite shelves,” says O’Yeah. The idea behind it is to highlight books and bookshops as a universe of ideas. Writers can share anecdotes about how they discovered books, their most inspiring reads, strange experiences they’ve had in bookshops, and so on.
Writers begin their lives in bookshops where, as children, they discover the beauty of books and get inspired to try their hands at writing. A few years later, as aspiring writers, they go there to admire the great books by writers. And ultimately, as professional full-time writers, it is the bookshop staff who become their closest colleagues in many ways, as they are the people who spread their writings, says O’Yeah, who has watched bookshops in Bengaluru work hard to promote their local writers.
Even if you walk out without a book, visits to the bookstores are therapeutic. “Browsing for books can be an education in patience and if nothing else, an exercise in daydreaming. One is not only a consumer in a bookshop. So if for no other reason we need bookstores to take us out of this robotic mode we seem to be stuck in,” says Hasan, adding, “This event is a way to salute Bengaluru’s bookshop owners who kept the trade alive despite two years of drought.”
Following the pandemic, Shatrujeet Nath, author of several thrillers and O’Yeah’s writer-friend, insists that as writers, they should do something for the bookshops they love. “And so I asked my writer friends if they’d volunteer to support their favourite bookshops. In the process, the main challenge was of course Covid-19 itself,” he says.
The fact that bestselling writers were prepared to become a part of this initiative turned out to be overwhelming for the bookshop owners. “Blossom’s Mayi and Karuna, Bookworm’s Krishna, Goobe’s Ravi, Bookhive’s Keshava, Select’s Sanjay and Murthy, and Higginbotham’s Ananda are not just businessmen because if they were they’d have long switched to some other business,” says Hasan.
O’Yeah adds that this isn’t a literary festival but a get-together for anyone interested in literature. “It can be done again and again as long as there are bookshops and book lovers willing to continue,” O’Yeah adds.
May 28, 2pm onwards
Blossoms Book House
Goobe’s Book Republic
May 29, 11.30am onwards
Select Book Shop