Thiruvananthapuram: A bookstore in the city has stocked The Fire Bird, a 1981 book of Russian fairy tales brought out by Progress, a publisher in Moscow. However, it is not for sale. Called the ‘Reading Room’, it is a bookshop in Kowdiar, and was inaugurated last week with the hope of selling reading habits.
Children can be enrolled for ‘story hour’ packages in which stories will be told, written or sung about. If you pay a monthly registration fee of Rs 350, you can plop yourself onto a bean bag, chair or bench, and read up books or magazines in the library section. However if you are keen on buying books, you can head to the store section, which has stocked books which distributors have stopped recommending.
These are children’s books before the Geronimo Stiltons and Wimpy Kids. Or books by Erich Segal and Arthur Hailey, that rite of passage for young adults of yesteryears. In the library too you will find old books, like say magazines before the dissolution of the USSR in 1991. As Archana Gopinath, the owner, is a child of the 90s.
“My friends talked about a bookstore in Japan where the walls were covered with pictures of the owner’s pet dogs. That space was personal to the owner. This is a space dear to me. I want people to feel as if they are walking into a friend’s home,” she says. The store does have regular bestsellers for sale, as Archana feels she does not want to turn someone away from the books they want to read.
There is an after-school package in which children can be dropped for three or four hours. “Even dance classes are classes, where you are expected to succeed. This in contrast will be a space where you can just be,” she says. A civil engineer who worked with various project management consultancies, Archana has always been a bookworm. “My turning point was reading ‘The Faraway Tree’. It told me that books are adventures you cannot have in real life. I want others to experience it,” she says....