Namita Nafri might seem like just another person with a corporate day job, but secretly she’s a book fairy.
What’s that? The Book Fairies, started by Cordelia Oxley and made famous by Emma Watson, are a group of book lovers around the world, who hide books for people to find, read and leave for others. They have almost 9,000 people hiding books in over 100 countries, including India (it was launched by Keshav Chabbra in Delhi), surprising and delighting those who discover the books.
So, what exactly does a book fairy do? We chatted with Namita to find out.
How does it feel to be a Book Fairy in Bengaluru?
When I started back in May last year, there were three other book fairies here, and we all started dropping books around the city. That’s when the chief Cordelia Oxley (founder of Book Fairies) asked me whether I would like to be the official for Bengaluru. I said “yes!”, and that’s how it started.
And now, there are 12 Book Fairies: Sindhuja Vaidyampeta, Shravya S, Harshita Das, Soumya Sridharan, Aamina Shabeer, Sidharth Santosh, Shruthi Gowda, Shruti Singhal and Pankhuri Sinha. Book finders also turn into book fairies like Sachin George and Savita Shastri. They are the ones who spread the joy of reading.
Here's what few of our Book Fairies are reading 📖 💚~~~~~~~~~~~ 1. How To Be A Bawse by Lilly Singh 2. To The Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf 3. The Secret Wish List by Preeti Shenoy 4. IT by Stephen King 5. The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender by Leslye Walton Drop and say hello or tell us what you are reading now 😊! We would love to know 😊. #readingnow #ibelieveinbookfairies #bookfairiesbangalore #bookfairiesindia #bookfairiesworldwide #books #bookstagram #instabooks #thisbookfairyisreading
In June, our first book was found! And every book we’ve placed has been picked up so far. But there are people who aren’t quite aware of the concept of the initiative. They just take the book but don’t tag us saying that they have it. And since they don’t post about their find on social media, we don’t get to know who found it.
What is your day job?
I’m a content management specialist at Accenture.
You work for a corporate and do something so out of the box on the side.
That’s why I was happy. Our lives are so engulfed and absorbed into the corporate world that we don’t often find the time to read books. Now I look forward to a weekend spent reading. Wherever I go, I carry a book with me.
Nowadays books are so expensive. Do you think people would want to part with their books?
Another book, One Moment, One Morning by Sarah Rayner, was dropped at the Nature's Basket store by author @preeti.shenoy our newest Book Fairy 💚! Who will find this one? . . About the book: The Brighton to London line. The 7:44 train. Carriages packed with commuters. One woman occupies her time observing the people around her. Then, abruptly, everything changes: a man collapses, the train is stopped, an ambulance called. And for three passengers, life will never be the same again. . . . About the author: Sarah Rayner is a British author who grew up in Richmond. She lives in Brighton and worked as an advertising copywriter before writing fiction full-time. #ibelieveinbookfairies #sarahrayner #onemomentonemorning #bookdrop #instabooks #bookfairies
It depends. When I started out, I chose eleven of my favourite books to give away. I wanted to see the reactions of people as they read the books that I cherished the most.
But there are people I have spoken to who love the idea of Book Fairies do find it difficult to part with their books. They want to maintain their bookshelf. So if there is a book fairy who doesn’t want to part with their own books, we give them novels that we receive through collaborations with publishers, and then they too get the joy of hiding books around the city.
So you spread the message through collaborations with publishers?
Book dropped: The Puffin Book Of World Myths and Legends by Anita Nair @anitanairauthor 💚 A Book Fairy was at the Avenue Road to buy some used books and dropped this book there near this lime and chilli vendor. Many here believe that lime and chilli ward off bad luck. 📖🍋🌶 Tell us if you find this book 😊 Here’s little something about the book: Timeless stories told anew! Find out how the world was created, why the sun and moon never meet each other though they live in the same sky, how clouds appear to save mankind from the sun's scorching rays, and why living creatures shed tears when they are in pain. Retold by bestselling author Anita Nair, these ageless tales come alive with a freshness and exuberance that is sure to delight and captivate. #ibelieveinbookfairies #anitanair #thepuffinbookofworldmythsandlegends #bookdrop #avenueroad #puffinbooks #bengaluru #bangalore #bookfairiesbangalore #penguinindia #keepreading #readmorebooks
Yes. Our first campaign was with Penguin. We got signed copies of the book ‘The Ministry Of Utmost Happiness’ and ‘The God Of Small Things’ by Arundhati Roy. Though we launched that campaign in June last year, those books are still circulating!
More recently, we celebrated ‘Book Fairies in Bloom’. This was to encourage reading in parks, so we went around dropping books in parks. The Instagram pictures for these came out really well because of all the flowers and trees around! We also held ‘Indie Book Fairy’ which celebrates independent authors. We promoted authors who didn’t have a budget to market their books. The ideas that book fairies around the world come up with, and how it comes into practice is just magical.
What are some of your favourite book drop-off spots in Bengaluru?
Haunts like Church Street, Cubbon Park, and cafes in Indiranagar or Koramangala – but we like to keep surprising people so don’t set any boundaries for the drop offs.
We’re definitely going to keep an eye out for hidden books now! You can follow the whereabouts of Bengaluru book fairies click here, to follow India’s book fairies click here, and if you’d like to start dropping off books on your own, click here.
Written by Samah Mariam
Image Credit: Book Fairies, Bengaluru