In the recent protests at the Taksim Square in Istanbul, Turkey, protesters created an uncommon gesture of resistance: they stood with books in their hands, reading. In photographs, I saw a woman reading The Myth of Sisyphus, a man The Crisis of the Modern World, other men and women reading from Kafka’s The Metamorphosis, George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty Four and When Nietzsche Wept. The subject of this Tin Trunk is Reading, Books, The Reader, The Writer, all uppercase beasts in our July-August issue.
Sudeep Sen looks at books, the hands that hold them, the fingers that turn their pages, the fine materiality of the page turning process, and the comparative ages of books and readers in his photo essay, Paper Trails.
Manjiri Indurkar writes about the vicarious lives of a reader in her essay, Universal Book Depot, the name of a bookstore in her small town, but also an appropriate metaphor for the reader.
Debojit Dutta writes about two different kinds of writers and the subsets of their universe, asking, ‘Must the Reclusive Writer Die?’
Reading is one of our oldest connections with our childhoods, for we continue to use the same technology of recognition all our lives. And therein the fascination with the ‘Child Reader’.
Smriti Lamech’s photo-essay is about her eight year old son’s reading habits. In Aviv Lamech Kalambi’s life, there is only one ruling sign: the Sign of the Book.
Diptakirti Chaudhuri’s photo-essay is a record of his children’s reading habits, their poses and postures, and also how reading material and reading devices have changed for children over the last decade.
Natasha Badhwar’s one minute film records the complex relationship between race, culture, typography and reading, this in the life of a 3 year old girl, Sahar.
Ishita Basu Mallik’s graphic fiction, Gilgamesh, offers an interesting peek in the life of a woman reader, giving us a deliberately ironic aphorism in its first frame – ‘The Best Way for a Girl to Live’.
Dechen Tenzing gives us another take on the relation between reading and gender, this from the perspective of the consumer of YA literature.
In this issue, we introduce Section 140, a new category: the tweet-essay, a series of tweets around a specific theme. Anees Salim, whose experiences as a writer dealing with rejection slips and the happy turnaround that came through after his invention of the character of Hasina Mansoor is now common knowledge, writes about the #Writer. Tammy Ho Lai Ming’s poetical tweet-essay is about the #Poet.
The act of reading, our addictive dependence on it, our willing victimhood to print capitalism, the complicated relationship between reading alone and the shared experience with a commune of readers, its creation of a culture of privilege and exclusion – in this, we are in therapy together, we Readers Anonymous.