Comedians talk about books they read in new YouTube series

Mar 14, 2017, 09:14 IST | Shraddha Uchil

A new YouTube series hopes to make reading fun by getting comedians to open up about books that made them laugh, cry, or merely left them confused

Kaneez Surka
Kaneez Surka

"I'm reading this book called Freedom at Midnight... I've been reading it for two years now," says stand-up comedian Biswa Kalyan Rath on an episode of The BoTCast, a new YouTube show by Books on Toast.

He goes on to talk about his inability to complete any book he starts reading, adding that the only title he has been able to read from end to end is The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, only because it's a "science fiction parody."

Radhika Vaz
Radhika Vaz

The BoTCast, which airs every Wednesday, has six episodes out so far, all featuring well-known comedians as guests, in conversation with co-founders Anuya Jakatdar and Sharin Bhatti. Each episode tackles one particular topic — for instance, one has Ashish Shakya discussing books that have made him laugh, while a Women's Day special sees Radhika Vaz discussing feminism in fiction.

There are not too many BookTubers in India, and the co-founders were keen to enter this space and make reading fun and mainstream. True to this, the conversations are light and funny, and keep your interest alive till the end, despite being an average of 20 minutes in length.

Anuya Jakatdar and Kanan Gill
Anuya Jakatdar and Kanan Gill

In an episode featuring Kanan Gill, the discussion veers towards George RR Martin's books, during which he says, "By the way, I don't like Game of Thrones." With a look of mock horror on her face, Jakatdar retorts, "What, is it too mainstream for you? What about Harry Potter?" Not to be defeated, Gill quickly says, "I read Harry Potter before it was cool."

It's not just witty repartees that make the show interesting, but also the fun facts you glean from them. On an episode about dystopian fiction, guest Supriya Joshi says, "The very first dystopian novel I ever read was 1984 by George Orwell. It opened my eyes to the kind of reality that can exist." The co-founders follow it up with their own favourites from the genre, which includes Isaac Asimov's series of short stories titled I, Robot, where the author first set down the Three Laws of Robotics, which have since pervaded science fiction.

Upcoming episodes, we are told, will feature comedian Kaneez Surka and, in a slight departure from the current format, books connoisseur Vivek Tejuja.


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