A glimpse into the world of bibliophiles and bookstagrammers
Every bookworm dreams of a place that smells of old leather, worn out books and dark coffee, where people from all walks of life can walk in unhesitant, share knowing smiles with strangers and bond over their love of books. For its members, Litmosphere is the online version of that, and so much more. A book club with thousands of members, it is perhaps the first community to place equal emphasis on English and Bangla books as well as provide a platform to share people’s own writings, blogs, fanart, fanfiction, etc.
To celebrate two years of Litmosphere, they’ve decided to host a unique exhibition. The phenomenon of Bookstagramming – posting pictures of books on Instagram – isn’t a new one, but it’s currently on the rise amidst the Bangladeshi reader community. To validate this as a form of art, Litmosphere has decided to host the first ever book photography exhibition.
On August 10 and 11, stunning photos from the Litmosphere family will be up for display at Gallery Chitrak, but that’s not the only thing they have in store. In conversation with Rubaiya Tasnim Chowdhury, the founder of Litmosphere, we learned about everything the event has to offer.
Not to let the cat out of the bag, but our curator has some tricks up his sleeves about how he wants to display each photo and his ideas blew my mind. Besides the exhibition, there will be different stalls for books, merchandise, a mini library and of course, food! We will also have story-telling sessions for kids throughout the event and a cozy reading nook where people can sit, read and sip coffee. But perhaps the biggest thing to look forward to is Litmama himself.
Mama is a physically challenged vendor who sells books at Bijoy Shoroni signal. One day I saw a photo that went viral -- a candid of mama selling books in traffic, and the image refused to leave my mind.
So we decided to do something for him. Our moderator Amimul Ihsan went to meet him one day and bought all the books he had with him. Soon after, we posted an announcement saying we’d be putting these books up for auction and all proceeds would go to mama. The response was overwhelming. I can’t tell you how proud I was for having created Litmosphere at that moment when everyone came forward, took part in the auction – paying ridiculous prices for local prints, donating money or their own books (even originals) to put up.
We raised a humble amount for mama through our campaign, which we’ll give to him during the event. The reason we’re doing this for him during the exhibition is in the name itself - A Thousand Words. We were inspired from the quote ‘A picture is worth a thousand words,’ because it was that one picture that evoked those emotions and set the wheels in motion.
Yes! The current trend is all about aesthetics, and we as a generation love following trends. The trend a few days ago was photography, then came making YouTube videos. If reading catches on as a trend, I’d say we are doing it right as a generation.
I think this event will be the closest visitors can get to experience what it is like to be LitFam - seeing huge photos of books that came to life from tiny screens, having live discussions about the books photographed, sipping coffee while reading. They’ll get to experience the essence of Litmosphere in real life -- and I believe that’s the strongest incentive one can have to visit this event.