Hello and welcome to Read Aloud. So lovely of you to drop by!
My name is Anwesha Ray and I live in Düsseldorf, Germany, with my husband and two little boys.
What a year it has been! Looking back, if there is one good thing that came of these crazy times, it’s that it gave many of us a chance to slow down, to reconnect with things long forgotten, to enjoy the small things in life and to realize anew that those things are not small at all.
For our family - and I am sure for many others – the lockdown was a chance to fall in love with books all over again. I always made it a point to find at least half an hour each day to read to my kids since they were babies, but with the pandemic, we were reading not just for pleasure, but for mere survival.
We quickly realized that with books, you are never in lockdown! You can fly to exciting lands whenever you wish and get as close to dragons as you dared – from the safety of your couch, in your pajamas!
Some very wise person had once said that to zero in on a business idea, one should simply try to find a solution to a problem. One ‘problem’ that I have faced as an English-speaking expat in Germany is the inadequate availability of English books, especially pre-loved ones. I sorely missed the joy of coming home with a bagful of treasures after half a day of scourging through second-hand bookshops, and my wallet still reassuringly heavy in my pocket. I figured that there must be many others like me in Germany, whose source of English books was pretty much limited to full-priced new ones (or scarce ridiculously high-priced used ones).
The lockdown, for me personally, seemed also the perfect time to take the first baby step towards a childhood dream – of owning a bookshop! And that is how Read Aloud was born. Of course, my original dream involved author visits and book signings, loungers and cupcakes and coffee, but for now, a little virtual bookstore will have to do! I hardly know anything about running a business, but I do know the power of stories. And through Read Aloud, I want the share it with other parents.
However, that doesn’t mean it only has to be about buying and selling. I love when someone asks for my help to choose the perfect books for their little ones or sends me a picture of their child reading a book they got from me, or pings me simply to talk about books. So I urge you to talk to me, tell me what kind of books you would like to see at Read Aloud, what you like about the website, what you don’t, or just about anything – I can’t wait to hear from you!
Happy Browsing. Happy reading.