"What an astonishing thing a book is. It’s a flat object made from a tree with flexible parts on which are imprinted lots of funny dark squiggles. But one glance at it and you’re inside the mind of another person, maybe somebody dead for thousands of years. Across the millennia, an author is speaking clearly and silently inside your head, directly to you. Writing is perhaps the greatest of human inventions, binding together people who never knew each other, citizens of distant epochs. Books break the shackles of time. A book is proof that humans are capable of working magic." - Carl Sagan
Monday, 21 May 2012
Tuesday, 15 May 2012
Originally published in Unique Pakistan
Very rarely would you hear of libraries being opened up in our country. However, a lack of public reading spaces doesn’t necessarily signify a lack of reading culture. This can be proved by the success of an innovative business venture called The Readers Club, launched in 2009 by the enterprising duo- Usman Siddiqui and Jawad Yousuf. The Readers Club is a vast online library consisting of thousands of books that can be borrowed once you subscribe to the website. It is Pakistan’s first book rental service.
I stumbled upon their website two years ago. Excited by the vast variety of books available for a small monthly membership fee; I instantly became a member and filled up my bucket list. I had the books delivered to my house the very next day. With excellent customer service, efficient delivery and good quality books, I was won over. A year later The reader’s club sister website Kitabain.com (Kitabain is urdu for books) was launched. This is a platform where you can buy and sell books online. Perfect for those looking for books at a lower price delivered to their house and those wanting to get rid of stacks of books consuming space in the house. Kitabain.com also received the Service Innovation award at the P@SHA awards, Lahore in October, 2010.
An effort such as this one must be applauded as it not only promotes reading but makes books much more accessible and affordable for a majority of people. Last year in December, at the annual Karachi international book fair at Expo Centre I was delighted to find a stall by The Reader’s Club offering numerous books at quarter the original prices. It was probably one of the best stalls at the fair, offering the most affordable books.
Their next project includes digitizing Urdu books into an audio format. In our country where the older generation shake their heads in disapproval of the young and their supposedly non-existent reading habit; an online library is a sign that there are still ambitious people who cater to readers in Pakistan and a significant number of people who consume such services.
Here is a video about them!
Thursday, 10 May 2012
It kills me to see books and papers turned and twisted mecilessly but I find a bit of consolation in the fact that these are old newspapers and books turned into wonderful pieces of art. Just goes to show the uselfullness of book!
A tower of books
The Argentinian artist Marta Minujin has built a tower of 30,000 books.
The tower was built to celebrate Buenos Aires' nomination for World Book Capital 2011.
Nick Georgiou uses old books to make these colorful artworks
Carved book landscapes
Artist Guy Laramee says about his work: So I carve landscapes out of books and I paint Romantic landscapes. Mountains of disused knowledge return to what they really are: mountains. They erode a bit more and they become hills. Then they flatten and become fields where apparently nothing is happening. Piles of obsolete encyclopedias return to that which does not need to say anything, that which simply IS. Fogs and clouds erase everything we know, everything we think we are.
Cascades of books
Artist Alicia martin transformed thousands of unused books into columns that pour out of windows of historical buildings in Madrid into the streets.
These over sized sculptures are definitely one of a kind.