Reading a book often requires too much mental energy after a tiring day at work, and listening to music has now become as banal as writing a grocery list. We’ve found a way to fill this void that was last occupied by your grandmother during summer vacation nights — Book Readings! As a result of this long-drawn lockdown, a large pool of popular celebrities have come together to read a wide range of books, to keep us entertained and simultaneously raise some money for charity. Here’s a handpicked list of online reading series to listen to, depending on what you’re in the mood for — fantasy, fables or some fine poetry.
Roald Dahl’s James and the Giant Peach with Taika and Friends
This book reading session seeks to raise funds for Partners in Health, a non-profit which aims to tackle COVID in some of the most vulnerable parts of the world. Led by Taika Waititi, who uses quirky homegrown sounds for delightful special effects, the first episode sets the mood just right with the Hemsworth brothers playing James’ spinster aunts. Other guest stars include Meryl Streep, Ryan Reynolds, Mindy Kaling and Cara Delevingne, among others.
Where to stream: Youtube
Bonding Over The Radio featuring Ruskin Bond
An All India Radio initiative, where short stories spanning an assortment of genres including horror, fiction and family anecdotes, are narrated by Ruskin Bond himself. These tales, which were recorded by the author over the phone from his Mussoorie cottage, are often followed by readings of a few heartwarming letters from his fans and a short question-answer session, which delves into his process and style of writing.
Where to stream: Prasar Bharati's mobile app NewsOnAir as well as Youtube
Harry Potter At Home from the Wizarding World Community
The first book of the series, Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone has been narrated chapter-wise by a myriad of actors, celebrities, as well as fans. Daniel Radcliffe fittingly opens for the series by reading the very first chapter 'The Boy Who Lived', and is followed by a number of familiar names from the wizarding community including Bonnie Wright, Eddie Redmayne, Tom Felton and Matthew Lewis. Bollywood Actress Alia Bhatt joins the pool, and so does David Beckham who voice-acts for the witty Quidditch commentator Lee Jordan!
Where to stream: wizardingworld.com and Spotify
Hozier reads literary excerpts on IGTV
Musician, singer and songwriter Hozier has been doing 'Live' readings on his Instagram every Friday since the last month. His curatorial taste for works of literature has won the hearts of many, as he welcomes the weekend with poetry by either T.S. Eliot, Khalil Gibran and Pablo Neruda (among others), or sometimes surprises them with an excerpt from a book, like James Joyce's Dubliners.
Where to stream: Hozier’s official Instagram account
Save With Stories initiative
In partnership with Save the Children and No Kid Hungry, enjoyable and educative stories are being read by Hollywood stars for kids and parents stuck at home this pandemic. The readers so far include Meghan Markle, Natalie Portman, Chris Evans, Benedict Cumberbatch, Kate Winslet, Jimmy Fallon, and the likes. The donations made will help schools and community programs to keep the brains fed and bellies full.
Where to stream: Save With Stories’ official Instagram account
Text Janani Venkateswaran