Society

World of words

Archana Gopinath at The Reading Room Photo: Shruti Sudarsan

Archana Gopinath at The Reading Room Photo: Shruti Sudarsan   | Photo Credit: Shruti Sudarsan



In bustling Kowdiar where residents are busy with their daily routine of work and school lies a small alcove where time stands still. The Reading Room, launched by Archana Gopinath, is a bookstore that also doubles as a quaint spot for readers of all ages to relax and enjoy a good book.

The Reading Room can be thought of as an experience in itself, with its bright coloured walls, artistic wall decor, and interesting framed typography such as a framed quote by J.K Rowling: ‘I do believe something very magical can happen when you read a good book.’ In many ways, the bookstore can be seen as a testament to Rowling’s words, where its purpose is to provide readers of all ages a welcoming reading environment.

Walking into the bookstore, one is immediately greeted with the familiar sights of Harper Lee’s works, Sidney Sheldon classics, and Jeffrey Archer’s thrillers. It also serves as a young child’s literary playground, where children from the age of three onwards can enjoy books by My Little Board, the Penguin Series, Enid Blyton, Geronimo Stilton, the Wimpy Kid Diaries, and Marvel comics. Archana contends that books, especially fairy tales, for younger children have the power to broaden their imagination, and at the same provide a narrative that is relatable and engaging. Having volunteered at a summer camp previously, Archana says: “I noticed that when I asked second and third graders to read a story book, they were not able to read even a sentence with ease. This was because everything they read previously in school was to study, to write an exam.” To develop on this theme, Archana made sure that The Reading Room is not focused on academic books, but rather on developing a positive attitude towards reading in general.

A civil engineer, Archana recounts how owning a bookstore has been a cherished dream come true. “I always read a lot as a young child and even today I cannot imagine being without a book. I am the daughter of two army parents and as they got transferred to different locations, my childhood consisted of new cities, new schools, and new people.” In such a flurry of change, books were a strong constant, as Archana candidly describes the significant influence books have had in her life. She also highlights how The Reading Room’s purpose stems from her six-year-old son’s newfound love for reading. “We have this habit of reading a bedtime story every night and I soon realised how this simple act has changed him. It is thrilling to see how he has started associating books with fun, with love, and with home.”

The Reading Room is set to open on Sunday, June 12 at 11.45 a.m. and will be inaugurated by author of the Butterfingers series, Khyrunnisa A. In addition to this, Archana has exciting events planned for readers of all ages in the coming weeks: a book club for adults; comfortable and relaxed study rooms for college students; and read-ins for children three days a week after school and on weekends. To quote Hank Green as displayed on the walls of the bookstore, the Reading Room’s goal is simple but powerful: ‘Read books. Care about things. Get excited. Try not to be down on yourself. Enjoy the present game of knowing.’

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Printable version | Aug 13, 2020 3:47:14 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/metroplus/society/World-of-words/article14391760.ece

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