Harry Potter and the Cursed Child - Parts I & II (Special Rehearsal Edition)
Harry Potter and the Cursed Child - Parts I & II (Special Rehearsal Edition)

‘Tis the time to stay indoors and read — and, for a change, no one will question you about not working or leaving your bedroom. With the whole world almost coming to a standstill (and Mumbai coming to a halt, who had thought it would actually happen!) the reader in me couldn’t help but look at it as an opportunity to get through the overflowing to-read list. While having almost exhausted physical books, I’ve started loading up the Kindle. And, while there are several websites offering free e-books, here are some of the best (and legit) ones to download e-books from or read online.

  1. The Fussy Librarian (This offers free e-books for Kindle, Nook, Apple, Kobo and Google Play. You just need to subscribe and they’ll send a list of books which can be downloaded with just one click.

  2. Open Library (This mostly offers classic and works of some renowned contemporary authors, which you can either read immediately or borrow from the library for two weeks.

  3. Novel Free Read Online (You can read for free works of a lot of contemporary authors like Sylvia Day, Colleen Hoover, Stephanie Meyer, Susan Hill, Dean Koontz and more.

  4. Library of Congress (This site presents an array of classic books and old manuscripts for free reading for kids and adults alike.

  5. Goodreads (Apart from virtually cataloguing the books you have or want to read, this site also offers a free ebook reading option.

  6. International Children’s Digital Library (Find free children’s books here.

  7. Many Books (From action to romance to suspense and classic, you can either read books online here or download for various ereader formats.

  8. Internet Sacred Text Archive (From Bible to Vedas to books on Hinduism, Islam and more, this is the place to be if you like reading religious texts.

While there are several book lists doing rounds on the internet based on Covid-like outbreaks, apocalypse and doomsday, it’s time to take our mind off gloomy stuff for a change and read sometime light-hearted. Here’s what you can look at if you need an escape from coronavirus news overload:

  1. Harry Potter series (no list is complete without the classic favourite).

  2. Crazy Rich Asians (available for borrowing on Open Library). You can also check out other books from the series: China Rich Girlfriend and Rich People Problem.

  3. Want romance with a dash of suspense? Then download any book by Nora Roberts (especially The Villa, Carolina Moon, True Betrayals, The Obsession, Come Sundown, Under Currents…the list is never ending) or Elizabeth Lowell (The Rarities Unlimited series, St. Kilda Unlimited series, Night Diver, Dangerous Refuge and more).

  4. Books about books are a good option too. You can opt for the recently released Paper Moon by Rehana Munir. The characters, places and setting will be extremely relatable to someone who’s based in Mumbai. Crazy in Love at Lonely Hearts bookshop is a cute read. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society (which was also made into a film by Netflix) takes you back to the second world war and its aftermath without being gloomy. A dash of romance, love for books are the main attractions here.

  5. If suspense/mystery is what you want, pick up (or download given the current situation) Newcomer by Japanese author Keigo Higashino. The chapters in this book read like independent short stories (but they aren’t) but are still connected to the main narrative. Though a slow read, it’ll keep you hooked till they end.

  6. Memoir, autobiography or biography lovers (especially of Indian cinema personalities) can pick up Karan Johar’s Unsuitable Boy, Soha Ali Khan’s The Peril’s of Being Moderately Famous. There’s also the recently released biography of the late Bollywood actor Sridevi or memoirs of Milind Soman and Mandira Bedi.

Audible Suno is offering audio shows and podcasts exclusively for Indian listeners while Audible Premium (at a membership fee) offers audio books, both in English and Hindi. In light of Covid-19, Audible Premium has launched Audible Stories, which is offering free children's books and content.

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