Prime Minister Narendra Modi called for a Janata Curfew on 22 March, 2020 urging citizens to stay home and isolate themselves in light of the growing concern around the COVID-19 pandemic. However as social distancing and quarantine come into effect, so does the question of how to best spend this time productively without causing chaos, panic and negativity within the household.
Several cultural spaces, entertainers and artistes have been releasing creative content for free on various online platforms with the aim of making this process of social distancing a bit easier and engaging. In keeping with this idea, the digital book publishing house, Juggernaut Books, has also announced that it will allow users free access to the Juggernaut app.
With the #READINSTEAD campaign, the publishing house will provide a large catalogue of bestsellers and curated-for mobile reads at no cost, to the entire country.
Believing in the idea that this time of social distancing can in fact be utilised to recharge and to grow, Juggernaut co-founder Chiki Sarkar notes that reading is "quite simply the best way" to achieve that. "Wouldn’t it be great if we could come out of this frightening moment enriched?" she remarks.
Along with several other ebook and audiobook providers such as Audible Stories with its free content for children or Scribd — which has opened up its giant library of magazine articles, ebooks and audiobooks to all for free for 30 days — the Juggernaut app too will act as a user-friendly tool providing readers an avenue to grow personally and professionally. The app also comes with a library of short reads Sarkar says, "that are perfect for a 20-minute dip across areas that Indians are especially interested in."
The importance of cultivating the habit of reading, especially during this time cannot be overstated. Sarkar points out, "Everyone has to chip in and work together — at Juggernaut we want to remind people that stories and reading can calm them, take them away to somewhere and teach them something they didn’t know."
She adds: "We have spiritual shorts from great gurus, business reads from Harvard Business School’s Ascend imprint, 15-minute summaries of bestselling books, classics, romance, crime, horror, parenting, history!"
The Juggernaut app will make available for its readers a giant collection of books including bestsellers such as nutritionist Rujuta Diwekar's 12-Week Fitness Project, Nobel Prize winners Abhijit Banerjee and Esther Duflo's Good Economics for Hard Times, Amitabh Bagchi's 2019 DSC prize-winning novel Half The Night is Gone, Manu Pillai's Rebel Sultans, Katharine Eban's Bottle of Lies and Twinkle Khanna's works including The Legend of Lakshmi Prasad among others.
For her part, the publisher says that this is the time to revert to the comfort of classics: she plans to re-read Leo Tolstoy's masterpiece, War and Peace. What Sarkar also recommends is taking up an exciting work of non-fiction that has long-been on the reading list. With plans to write a good history of the United States of America along with her husband Alex Travelli, she has historian Jill Lepore’s works in her line-up of books and suggests as a possible read Tony Joseph’s Early Indians which narrates the story of India's prehistoric period.
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Updated Date: Mar 23, 2020 19:51:59 IST