Bangalore Book Hunt uses mystery to bring back the love for reading
Those who grew up on a staple diet of Where’s Waldo, would be familiar with how surprisingly addicting it can be. But what if, instead of finding Waldo, one were to find carefully curated books that are hidden in public spaces? Infinitely more riveting, we’d say. Visual Communication students at St Joseph’s College of Arts and Science, Jerusha Isaac and Neil Kurien are doing exactly that with their two-week old venture, Bangalore Book Hunt (BBH).
“It was actually meant to be part of our internship at this company called Write Leela Write, a branding, design and content agency. We were tasked with finding a way to engage communities. After debating over a few ideas, we settled on using literature as a tool to get people to connect and interact,” says Jerusha, who has finished the internship but has decided to make Bangalore Book Hunt permanent.
While the duo did think about using public parks, bus stops and other open spaces as temporary homes for their books, Jerusha explains that the possibility of rain and winds meant that there was a high chance of the books getting damaged. “That’s when we thought about placing them in metro stations,” shares Jerusha, adding that along with Neil, she approached BMRCL general manager, UA Vasanth Rao to
get approvals. “He was quite impressed by the idea, but his concern was that the books would get stolen and suggested we start with one metro station and expand to others if things went well,” she reveals.
Ticket to ride
The Cubbon Park metro station, which is slowly becoming the hub for art and culture in the central business district, is where the books appear every week. “We usually go with three to four books a week. So far, we’ve dispatched seven. And they’ve all been taken,” she tells us. All books have stickers of their logo on the cover and information about what they must do next, which is, use social media to post their find with a link to the BBH page. “Those who spot the book can either read it and keep it back where they find it or even take it home. But posting it on social media is important. However, though all seven books were taken, only two were posted about. We’re hoping that as we move forward, the social media posts will increase,” says Jerusha.
The books, as she points out, are optimised for quick reading, so the focus is on novella’s, books on poetry and the like. There’s also a special focus on Kannada literature and Indian authors to engage a wider demographic. The books that have been dispatched so far include Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s Chronicle of A Death Foretold and some by local authors like Rheea Mukherjee and Pallavi Duvvuri. Before signing off, Jerusha reveals that one of the next visitors to the station is Tina Fey’s Bossy Pants, so we suggest you keep your eyes peeled.