Litmosphere is an online book group. This group has over a few thousand members from home and abroad. We talked to the creator of the group, Rubaiya Chowdhury and heard about the journey of Litmosphere and all the amazing things this group has to offer. This group is a solace to thousands of book lovers out there.
- Tell us how the journey of Litmosphere began.
Litmosphere was conceived from a dark place when I was desperately in need of light. I was suffering through the worst bout of depression which got me into a reading slump that lasted me 2 years. So I turned to Ramisa, my younger sister, who was zooming through books. It inspired me to pick up a book again and remember what I was missing out on, relishing the feeling of turning pages. And that’s when we realized there must be others just like them- avid readers and book lovers who want to get back to reading. Inspiration struck, and Litmosphere was born in August 2016 in the form of a Facebook group.
- Tell us how the group works and what is special about litmosphere.
Litmosphere is a place for fellow bookworms where readers from far and beyond unite under the common love for rusty pages, worn spines, and literary magic. It’s a group for anyone and everyone, to share thoughts on books from all over the world, spanning over the years. All the people of this group care about helping each other by sharing the knowledge they gain and feeling the never satisfied thirsts of fellow bookworms. With the motto “So many books, so little time”, Litmosphere is on a mission to spread the magic of reading among people of all walks of life and create a safe haven for readers where strangers become family, long lost readers can find love for reading again, and people of all ages and communities can come to mourn the death of a character at 3 in the morning which is what makes Litmosphere truly special.
- Tell us a little about the offline events of Litmosphere.
Litmosphere may have started as an online book club but it did not remain so. Due to having members from diverse areas, Lit divided its members to four regions, Dhaka, Chittagong, Rajshahi, Sylhet. The admin panel feels that a bookish discussion is not fulfilled until it is done face to face and therefore the selected representatives lead discussions in Book of the Month (BOTM) meetups. Furthermore, Lit arranged the first of its kind Bookstagram Exhibition, A Thousand Words 2018, where reading and photography amalgamated to something of extraordinary art and aesthetic. Additionally, Lit tries to hold Open Mics, Special Day meetups and discussions to establish the significance of the day (Such as Women’s Day Open Mic, focusing on the role of women in the society and paving a path to equality).
A Thousand Words 2018
A Thousand Words 2018 was hosted to celebrate the two year anniversary of Litmosphere. A two-day open-for-all event. The main highlight of this event was the unique photo exhibition. We took photo submissions in two categories— bookstagram and general. We received hundreds of photos. Only 55 of them were exhibited during the event, handpicked by our honorable judges— celebrated photographer Mahmud Hossain Opu, Sazzad Ibn Syed, and Munem Wasif. Many of these photos got sold during the event. Abir Abdullah, principal of Pathshala South Asian Media Institute attended the event as the chief guest. There was also arrangements of different stalls, open mic session, and storytelling for kids. Around 1000 people attended this event.
Monthly BOTM Meetups (Since January 2018)
A traditional book club meeting hosted by two regional representatives, where lit members meet up in a cafe or restaurant to discuss literature over coffee/tea. The participation varies month to month.
We also arrange small gatherings on various occasions where we have various fun activities and games along with lit discussions.
Women’s Day Special Open Mic (March, 2018)
The theme of March’18 was International Women’s day. We decided to do something special to honor the month. We hosted a open mic where people had to register before hand. The highlights of this event were poetry reciting, unplugged songs, discussion on feminism in Game of Thrones and other pop culture etc.
A Year-End Meetup: Bookfairy (December 2018)
A year end wrap up event. The members were allowed to bring their non Litmosphere-ian friends and family. We arranged a bunch of fun games. To keep the spirits of Christmas alive we hosted a book fairy segment, where people signed up to be each other’s book fairy i.e. gift books to one another.
Eid Meetup (June, 2019)
A celebratory (member only) meet and greet was held after the eid holidays. Different types of literary games (for example. Book charades) were arranged to entertain the members.
Chatgaya Meetup (July 15th, 2017)
Litmosphere’s first ever meet and greet, held in Chattogram. It was a member only event, 30 members of the group took part.
Dhakaiya Meetup (August 2nd, 2017)
First meet & greet held in Dhaka. It was a member only event. Around 60 people from Litmosphere (facebook group) attended this event.
- What keeps you motivated to maintain this huge family of book lovers?
The simple answer would be my love for books but it’s so much more than that. I have found a second family in LitFam who are so incredibly loving and supportive. When I am having a hard day, all I need to do is open the group and read through all the posts to make my day. I have an incredible team of people working day and night purely out of the passion to take Litmosphere to new heights every day. But what motivates me the most, is when someone comes up and tells me how Litmosphere has been a savior in their lives, and I feel content knowing it played as big of a role in saving someone’s life as it has in my own.
- What are your future plans with Litmosphere?
Litmosphere is a pioneer in its field in Bangladesh, having accomplished what none others have. Where reading is considered very traditional and outdated, Litmosphere succeeded in bringing back the trend of reading among the youth by combining the art of readership with photography, arts, and other creative channels. Every day we work to spread the joy of books and promote emotional intelligence among the youth of our country. And in 5 years time, we envision our organization to become a multi-faceted company working with several products and services like providing creative workshops, organizing bigger events that promote reading, etc. We are already working on our own line of merchandise that we plan on expanding in the future. We have several educational and reading program planned that we can’t wait to turn into reality. But most importantly, we as an organization want to give back to society and help those who need it. Litmosphere is working hard every day to create a literary revolution that our country is in dire need of.