Nestled in an expansive garden off the Candolim-Calangute stretch, Literati is a treasure trove of books. The book shop is a 100-year old refurbished house, with the living area transformed into the main library. The adjoining room has an elaborate used books section. The verandah here happens to be one of the coziest places to indulge in your choice of pages.
The house itself is located amidst lush flora that doubles up as a café. Italian fare is the name of the game here – with pizzas, pastas and a selection of desserts. Guests may dine alfresco or in the verandah of the book shop; especially those who fancy a few snacks while reading in a quiet atmosphere. Access to cafe is open to all.
Documentaries, art exhibitions, photography shows, book launches, author readings happen regularly in the open area. These activities move indoors during the monsoons. Over the years, Literati has engaged with internationally acclaimed authors and artists in the likes of Amitav Ghosh, Saeed Mirza, Dayanita SIngh, Zai Whitaker and Suniti Namjoshi amongst others.
Literati’s impressive book collection features mostly Indian fiction, Indian non-fiction and literature. Books on other subjects that appeal to the store’s audience also make their presence here. The bookshop additionally houses a dedicated used-book section. The stock is updated regularly in all sections.
An excellent selection of antiquarian books can be found here. Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, Victor Hugo’s Les Misérables, John Ruskin’s Time and Tide, Leo Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina, Frank Smythe’s The Kanchenjunga Adventure, Charles Chaplin’s My Aurobiography to name a few.
Bebook encourages reading and learning from a young age. It runs Bebook, a mobile library, which is aimed at children who may not have access or privilege to purchase a book. Its mascot is a frog which in Konkani language is called ‘Bebok’. It is a registered trust which conducts fundraisers annually - fetes are held where everything from clothes and jewellery to candles and pottery are on sale, proceeds of which directly support the cause. The mobile library currently visits six projects a week and is looking for volunteers.
LITERATI BOOK CLUB
The Literati Book Club comprises a small group of 10-15 individuals who meet frequently for the love of books. A meeting date is set at convenience when members congregate to discuss the subject and the book concerned, in great length and detail for each other’s benefit. Conversations may get heated depending on the subject of the book. More over, most likely, every such discussion ends with a potluck!
Diviya Kapur is a well-known figure in the literary circles in Goa and beyond. A self-confessed bibliophile for years, she now runs this quaint book shop in Calangute, which co-incidentally is very close to the beach.
With numerous vacations to Goa during her childhood, Diviya has always gravitated to a higher quality of life. She was clear that she would not wait until retirement to enjoy the same. The rural-urban mix of Goa appealed to her far better than any other place in India. Moreover, the culturally progressive aspect of Goa was promising.
Diviya’s dreams of owning a book shop with a café some day, urged her to trade a seven year old career as a lawyer in Delhi for Literati. She arrived in Goa in 2004 with this intent and spent close to a year scouting for a suitable location. With support from friends and publishers who trusted her approach, Literati came to life as an innovative concept in November 2005 and has flourished since.
With no background in publishing or literature, Diviya’s big step has more than paid off, a result of her determination which never faded away!