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Read for a cause

A book quiz, tips from published authors and paperbacks to take home at R50. There is more than one reason to sign-up for the fourth edition of Books on Toast

What makes characters great, have you wondered? What motivates book lovers to pick up a new author or explore a new genre? How much do you really know the authors you like and the genres you follow?

The fourth Books on Toast edition will be held at The Hive, Khar
The fourth Books on Toast edition will be held at The Hive, Khar

You’ll find answers to these questions, and a dozen more, at a weekend festival organised for book lovers by book lovers. And, you’ll have a chance to be generous with your love too.

Books on Toast, returns in its fourth edition, with a series of events including a book quiz, an open mic for unpublished authors and a series of talks by writers on how you can get published. But, the best part? Instead of clearing your home by giving away old books to the raddiwalla, you can donate them to a cause.

Anuya Jakatdar, a 29-year-old blogger was inspired to start the donation drive while she was a student of journalism in America. “In 2008, I came across a library that had organised a book donation drive to raise funds for charity,” says the Santacruz resident, recalling that she bought 37 books for as little as $8. Inspired, she decided to replicate the idea once she returned.

Anuya Jakatdar says volunteers will be interviewed to ensure that only true book lovers make the cut

She shared the idea across social media and, after spending several weeks collecting books from donors, she conducted a sale at Candies, Bandra. The first drive led to a collection of Rs 22,000. Last year, from the 1,200 books that were sold, R60,000 was raised. “All money goes to charity,” says Jakatdar, who adds that this year, the proceeds from the sale will be donated to Dharavi Art Room, a non-profit organisation started by Himanshu S and Aqui to educate street children through photography, story-telling, drawing, painting, theatre and music. “We teach about 1000 kids from Dharavi and plan to tie up with more schools such as the Royal City School near ONGC,” says Himanshu, who is collaborating with Books on Toast for the very first time. Priced at Rs 50 and Rs 100 (paperbacks) and R150 (hardbound) the books are a steal.

But if you don’t want to part away with your books, there are other ways to help (besides just turning up and meeting an author of your choice). Books on Toast needs about 20 volunteers starting from collecting books and bringing them to Hive, where the event is being organised, to helping man the counters and acting as guides for guests. Interested? You may have to sit through an interview. Jakatdar describes the right people for the job as those “who love books, are dedicated to the cause, and can help us in organising the event.”

Not everything that comes in ends up being picked up though. The Twilight series, GRE study material are definite no-nos. But, you may end up finding treasures that you didn’t know existed.

Last year, art consultant Phalguni Desai, donated Famous Five, Around the World in 80 Days and works by Haruki Murakami and Milan Kundera, only to pick up 13 volumes of the Shahnama, an epic poem written by Persian poet Firdausi between c. 977 and 1010 CE. “I also bought books by Dan Brown for just R50,” says the 31-year-old. “A voracious reader, I have always had a massive collection of books that lay in neglect since I didn’t want to give it to the raddiwala. This proved to be a good way of utilising them.”

Where: The Hive, 50-A, Huma Mansion, Chuim Village Road, Off Union Park, Khar West
When: August 22 and 23
To register as a volunteer or donate, send an email at booksontoast@gmail.com

(Except for workshops)

Pick your day

22 August
3-4pm: What Makes Great Characters Great - An Interactive Talk by N Shatrujeet
4.30-5.30pm: Reading and Signing by N Shatrujeet
5.30-6.30pm: Shakespeare for Dummies

23 August
3-6pm: Open mic for unpublished authors
5-6pm: Book Reading and Signing by Meghna Pant
6.30-7.30pm: Your First Novel: Writing it and Getting Published by Meghna Pant

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