Here are intriguing alternatives to traditional reading options

In India, Human Libraries are functional in Indore, Hyderabad, Chennai, Delhi and several other metros.

Are you looking out for new, engaging reading options to put your hands on? Want to escape from the dramatic spectacles of Shakespeare, European woes of Dickens or even the otherwise magical Hogwarts world (I know you can never tire out of the HP series, yet)?

It is high time to replace your traditional reading list with a whole new bunch of reading possibilities:

Human Libraries

Biographies and autobiographies have a whole new format. Borrow a human, interact personally, engage in dialogues at Human Libraries. Aimed at breaking misnomers and prejudices, human 'books' on loan have very interesting stories to tell. With organisations across the world, Human Library is an innovative way to make voices speak and be heard. In India, Human Libraries are functional in Indore and Hyderabad, Chennai and Delhi and several other metro cities. "To live in a great democracy like India, where the culture and lifestyle change every 50 km, we need to be able to talk to each other in a reasonable, calm way, no matter our differences. It's only when we can talk about why we think the way we do that we can find ways to work on the problems in our communities," so explains the Human Library website of the Hyderabad centre.

An engaging catalogue of 'books' are available to choose from -- the homeless, the abused, single mothers, or any other marginalised person. The aim is to help society accept them for their choices and to give the living books a chance to share their experiences and difficulties that came along with their choices. Such a 'reading' experience can be an eye-opener!


Harrowing descriptions in environmental science textbooks always seemed a long way away. But the rising temperatures, erratic monsoon cycles and all sorts of ecological disturbances predicted in the textbooks seem to be coming true at an alarming speed. Thus it is necessary to delve into some cli-fi, fiction that revolves around climate change, which weaves a near dystopian narrative world. While Rachel Carson’s 'Silent Spring' in 1962 was a phenomenal trendsetter in ecocritical narratives, cli-fi focuses more on climatic changes and the repercussions. Most cli-fi are apocalyptic or dystopian.

To get a head start, 'American Wars' by Omar El Akkad, 'The Drowned World' by J G Ballard, 'Odds Against' by Nathaniel Rich are a few to be tried. Familiar names of Jules Vernes (The Purchase of the North Pole) and Margaret Atwood (MaddAddam trilogy) can further inspire you to try out the genre.

Fiction like these also indirectly spread awareness amongst people to start thinking consciously about climate change. The genre is hugely absent in India though the need to address climate concern is imminent.

Interactive Fiction

When Netflix announced Black Mirror’s Bandersnatch in 2018, many looked forward to the interactive series, first of its kinds for adults. With 5 different endings, the decisions of the viewer decided the course of the protagonist. Interactive fiction in books has always been around, especially in children's literature. Enid Blyton had a whole series of 'The Famous Five' adventure books which was designed for interactive reading. It is a lot more fun when you decide your protagonist’s fate and reads a writerly text, which is the norm right now!! Interactive fiction can be a great fun as most have mysteries to solve, protagonist to be guided to the right path - totally at your mercy!!

'Meanwhile: Pick any Path. 3856, Possibilities' by Jason Shiga is a graphic novel full of adventure to tread through. Marisha Pessl’s 'Night Film: A Novel' had become a New York Times bestseller and sure promises some nail-biting adventure while solving a murder mystery.

Fan Fiction

Not satiated with the author's dose of your favourite manga or series or film? Add on to your love for your favourite character through endless fan fiction. FanFiction website is a huge archive of fan fiction across mangas, comics, books, films and even games. Though questions are raised as to the ethical issues of plagiarism, yet fan fiction or fanfic is on a successful spree. Endless writing on Marvels, Harry Potter, Twilight and others have increased the scope of the characters beyond their original fictional worlds. Fan fiction has already emerged as an unofficial genre and with every fan able to tailor the stories to their tastes, more and more people are involved in writing and reading. Reading fan fiction can give a whole new perspectives to characters, probable plot lines and definitely assured amusement. While in India many are steadily embracing fan fiction, India has huge takers for fan fiction on Indian soaps and Bollywood film as well.

Blog Posts

People compile blog posts on everything under the sun. Personal blogs can be humorous anecdotes, lessons to be learnt or about their passions. Blogs about travel, cooking and fashion are amongst the most popular and creative writing also takes a good share of visitors. Blogs are interactive and allow the readers and writer to engage with almost in real times. Blog posts are a fun alternative to reading books and fiction as it is closer to one's life experiences. Often colourful and splattered with pictures that are in sync with their writings, blogs are easy on the eyes and also informative, inspiring. Blog tread across genres and styles and are interesting reads. Oh, and don't forget to run an eye through the comments as well. Some have really good conversations to make!