7 Days 7 Books is a challenge on Facebook that has been running among Nepali book-lovers for a couple of years. The aim was to promote reading culture. This year, it got an extra agenda-“Make books tax free!”
The addition of tax on imported books and those printed in India/overseas should have affected the publishers and distributors, but it looks like they won’t be affected. Instead they would hike the price and make things difficult for parents and students (who are in compulsion to buy textbooks from abroad), and for book-lovers. “The total removal of tax in books would help a lot of students,” a lot of us argued. #Makebookstaxfree got into the internet, and there were campaigns against the taxes at several places, of which Patan was the first. I could not go there because the time clashed with my language classes but I gave my moral support.
The 7 Days 7 Books Challenge says, “Post a book’s cover everyday for 7 days without any review or explanation.” But when I was challenged by my friend Gauri Bomjan, I had a strong urge to at least explain why I chose those books. I thought, ‘Anyone can Google book covers and post them. If I don’t explain, people will not be attracted.’ But later I accepted the challenge as it was to see if I can be wrong. Since the challenge is completed, I now list the 7 books that I posted (all of which are Nepali) along with answers to “Why I chose them?”
Day 1: मोती र गुलाफ (My Translation: Pearls and Roses) by Shivahari Adhikari
I received this book when I was in Class 1 as a prize in a poem recitation contest. This book has 6 folk tales from 6 countries. This book is close to my heart, and since it came back to me after remaining at one of my neighbours for several years, my mother did not allow anyone to take it away.
Day 2: बनारसमा बेचिएकी बहिनी (My Translation: A Sister sold in Benaras)–Nagendra
We did not have book-shelves as there was no space in our house. (We still don’t have much space but we got our first book-shelf last week, thanks to my parents.) So, those days, books were stored in an old carton box. I used to extract books and magazines from it time and again. I found this book in that box when I was in Class 8 while we were shifting to our neighbour’s on rent (we were building a bigger house where our old small house was). Before reading this book, I thought essays were always factual with very little chance of bringing in fiction or personal opinions. This book changed my thought.
I have a deep respect for this book as a Guru for my essays and blogs. It has inspired the way I evaluate situations and people, and I have no shame in saying that Nagendra’s writing style has inspired some of my writings.
Day 3: धुवाँ (Translation: Smoke) by Atma Ram Sharma
My father got this book from his friend (the author). I read this book several times during my vacations during my childhood. I had forgotten it completely until I found it while looking for books to post for the challenge. The story collection has several stories of sorrow. I have never read it as an adult. So, the challenge has reminded me that I should read it again.
Day 4: एउटा कथा भन्नु न हजूरआमा (My Translation: Grandma, Please tell a story) by Ramesh Bikal
Ramesh Bikal is a writer who has written stories for all age groups. This books for children are noteworthy for their mythical and magical elements. My mother gave this book when I was in 15. I fell in love with the stories instantly. But as I haven’t read it for a long time, I have forgotten them. Another book in the to-read-again list.
Day 5: जंगबहादुर (Junga Bahadur) by Shree Krishna Shrestha
I read parts of this book in Sadhana Magazine. I read it last year in free times during my trip to Japan and wrote a review in Nepali. I looked for information on the author but could not find him then. After I posted this photo for the challenge, my teacher Nir Shakya wrote that Late Mr Shree Krishna Shrestha was a chemist and was also the Head of Water Resources Department. I had a mixture of emotions as I got some real info about the author after so many years, but after his demise.
Day 6: घनचक्कर (Ghanachakkar) by Sanjeev Upreti
Ghanachakkar is a crazy ride with one of the craziest narrators of all time. Set during the insurgency period Kathmandu, this novel is a psychological experience. I got this book as a prize in Class 9. I finished the book within five hours the day I got it, leaving me in hallucinations and confusion. I have read it several times since and each time I have found something new.
Day 7: लिखे (Likhe) by Sharad Poudel
I read some chapters of this book in Nawa Yuwa magazines of the late nineties. As with Junga Bahadur, I bought it immediately when I saw it in a book store. This novel shows real struggles of the so-called “untouchables” in a small village in the Western District of Baglung. The dialect, the life-style and the social problems have been captured so well that Likhe’s struggles in his young age can make one cry.
At the end, I realized that it is possible to attract readers to books by just showing the photos. So, why a long post as this? Because, (1) I can’t find peace until I write this and (2) I hope I can attract more readers through this article.