Reading has proven to be a popular habit for all ages during this pandemic. From hardcopies to ebooks to audiobooks, readers now have the opportunity, and time, to discover other genres and enjoy new titles. But if you're looking for some entertainment that goes beyond reading, these book-related activities might help you stay occupied at home as we brace ourselves for a week of lockdown.
The book-blogging or "bookstagram" community in Bangladesh has flourished over the past few years. Instagram continues to serve as a popular platform for readers to engage in literary discussions or discover new books. With a few aesthetic shots and a short book review, you can easily participate in this community that is connecting people all across the world. This could just as well enable you to make new, literary-minded friends and join or organise virtual book-clubs and read-alongs.
A journal is a good way of keeping track of the number of books you have read, your reading habits, and your preferences. Readers often pen down reviews in their book journal while making separate lists for books to be read. Regarded for its great stress-reducing capacity, journaling is recommended for people who love maintaining a record of their reads. It encourages, too, the wonderful opportunity of writing by hand in an age where typing is far too predominant.
Bingos have gained immense popularity during the pandemic. Apart from serving as a great recreational activity, a book bingo can also diversify your reads—it can help you explore titles that would not otherwise fall under your radar. For this game you will need a table drawn featuring 3 x 3 grids with nine smaller boxes. Each box would contain a type of book you would want to explore. Along the way, more and more new, unexplored genres are to be added, while inching closer to bingo.
Incorporating reading habits into social media challenges is another fun activity that you can start this week. There are various literary groups and virtual book clubs that organise these popular challenges—the Bookcentric BD library in Dhaka, the South Asian Book Club, and the Reading Women Challenge, all active on Instagram, regularly offer interesting options. Many readers, too, often come up with their own versions while participating, many of which can be found on platforms like The StoryGraph. From "#rainbowstack" to "#asianrepresentation", social media challenges ensure, much like book bingos, that you dip your toes into diverse genres and authors, all while setting personal goals.
REORGANISING YOUR BOOKSHELF
How do you organise your books? Are the novels and short story collections all lined up together, with non-fiction books claiming another stack? Do your shelves offer a journey through the 18th to the 21st centuries? Or are all your books currently jumbled up together, covered in dust and stray pieces of receipt and stationery?
With all the free time at your disposal, should you have any, you can give your bookshelf a makeover. Arrange your books according to their spine colours to form a vibrant rainbow, or stick to genre-wise divisions while maintaining a separate section for unread books. Make sure you keep a special corner for your favourite book accessories.
As we discussed in a previous essay, how you organise your book stacks can also turn into an introspective and even political activity.
Bookmarks can be made at home easily using a piece of cardboard and some colour. This is also a brilliant way of involving children into reading, as they can paint their favourite characters on their bookmarks. Adults can stick to their favourite quotes or recreate a miniature version of the book. You can consult DIY pages and videos on YouTube, Pinterest, Facebook, and Instagram, or also follow the instructions offered by Daily Star Books's feature of Muhaimina Faiz Chowdhury.
For more book-related content, read and follow Daily Star Books on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn.