In Conversation With …has been a long overdue project I have been wanting to start.. with an aim to reach out to the community and interact more while highlighting amazing people that I come across in this fandom journey.
Here’s to moving the spotlight to the first of the many book lovers…
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A 30-year-old book hoarder from Mangalore, Karnataka.
I’m a dentist by day, tooth fairy by night and a book reader all day long. The first thing that most people would notice when they look at my bookshelf is that I have multiple editions of the Harry Potter books and all of them occupy the best positions on the shelf. I’m a self-confessed Potterhead, a proud Gryffindor (and a Thunderbird in Ilvermorny but that doesn’t really count, does it?) and a devour of fantasy fictions.
What I really hate, nay loathe, is people not returning my books. My books are my babies and I need them safe and happy at home! I’d sooner disown you than part with any of my books, so beware!-Ananya.
When and How did you get into reading for pleasure?
I have always been surrounded by stories. With my parents as well as both sets of grandparents being avid readers, I always remember being read to as a child. I still remember the first book that I read on my own in grade 2 or 3- my mother’s copy of Five Have Plenty of Fun. I was so proud of myself!One of my favorite bookish memory is of my mom and I lying in bed on lazy afternoons during summer vacations, each engrossed in our books until we fell asleep.
Do you have a reading ritual?
My favorite spot to read is right next to the bay windows at home. They give the perfect light and with the breeze at my back I can pretend that I’m actually on an adventure with the characters that I’m reading.
Whose on your auto-buy authors list?
I don’t really have an ‘auto-buy’ author but I do have auto-buy fandoms. Whatever new comes up in the ACOTAR or Harry Potter world, I will buy them on pre-order. Apart from that, Stephen King is my favorite author. There was a phase when I was in high school where I went on a mission to collect as many of his books as I could. I even bought his latest book- The Institute on pre-order.
What’s a trope you like to see in books?
I love multiple POVs. I love how different every person’s reaction is to a particular scene. I recently read Guernsey Literary and the Potato Peel Pie Society and loved it for the same reason.
I dislike the recent trend of Bookstagrammers buying books just for the pretty covers. In my opinion, at the end of the day, it’s the writing and the content that should matter and not just the beauty.-Ananya.
Three books that are on the top of your TBR?
Your go to mantra for overcoming a reading slump?
I find no use in forcing myself to read when I’m not in the mood for it. Whenever I’m in a reading slump I just take some time off to catch up on any of my favorite series (Gilmore Girls and Grey’s Anatomy being first on my list). I also have a tiny business where I make and sell crochet products so I dedicate myself to it until the need to read surfaces again. I sometimes find that re-reading my favorite scenes from my favorite books helps but I usually don’t want to associate the ‘slump’ memory to my favorite books so I stay away.
What’s one unpopular bookish opinion you have?
Last year when The Priory of the Orange Tree came out and everyone was raving about it, a bunch of us got together to buddy-read it. And… we hated it! We spent the entire week dissing on the book and wondering why it received so much of attention! I think with publishers and authors pushing books through social media, this is bound to happen with some books. I just wish people gave honest reviews since that’s what we all got into book blogging for.
The problem with collecting merchandise is that I never use them. They are too precious to risk anything happening to them!-Ananya.
Your favorite bookish merchandise?
I love collecting fridge magnets and pin badges. I show them off whenever I can and then off they go into their protective casing. I also love book sleeves but again, they don’t get taken out of the house.The problem with collecting merchandise is that I never use them. They are too precious to risk anything happening to them!
Top 3 Favorite Books?
That’s a really tough question to answer. I sometimes feel like it depends on what you need at a particular point in your life. For example, Twilight is still a series that I look back fondly upon, a guilty pleasure per se (don’t hate me!). I read it as a teen and it was perfect then. But if I had read it now, I would probably not complete the series and I would have made multiple posts on how it is important for writers to write strong female characters. After agonizing over it and staying away from the books that I’ve already talked about, this is what I thought I would do- A list of books or authors that hold a very important place in my heart.
Becoming by Michelle Obama. I don’t enjoy non fiction much, biographies and autobiographies even less. But I admire the Obamas so much that I was willing to give this one a go. The narrative is powerful yet emotional. The struggles are kept realistic and are never written with the purpose of the reader feeling bad for the people. It’s just Michelle telling us how things were and what was going on in her head, much like you would tell your best friend. The family values, the strength, and the humor was amazing to read and it will forever remain one of my favorite books to re-read.
All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven. What a brilliant book! I don’t recommend reading it while you are feeling low (or maybe that’s the time that you need to read it the most?). I love how realistic it was about mental health and spoke not only of pain of that person but also of the people who care about him. It did not try and put a rosy all’s-well-that-end’s-well spin on it and it is one of my favorite books ever.
Enid Blyton. I know as a ‘serious’ blogger you don’t really talk about children’s literature but Enid Blyton has played a very important role in a lot of book lovers’ lives. It was only recently that I discovered that she wrote about 50 books a year! Back in the 1930s, this was seen very skeptically (a female writer who’s more efficient than all the male writers? That’s surely not possible, is it?!). She not only wrote children’s fiction but also wrote on education, natural history, fantasy, mystery, and biblical narratives. But what makes her work special to me is how clear it is on right and wrong. The lessons that I learnt through those books still hold good for me. I was glad that I grew up with a steady supply of Enid Blyton books and I hope that the next generation of readers does as well.
What are your bookish pet peeves?
I can’t stand desecrated books, be it dog-ears or broken spines. I’ve also disliked annotations on books but I have Bookstagram friends who swear that it enhances their reading experience so I rescind my opinion now (though I’m not willing to let anyone do that to my books). But what I really hate, nay loathe, is people not returning my books. My books are my babies and I need them safe and happy at home! I’d sooner disown you than part with any of my books, so beware!
Favorite Fictional Character?
I’ve said it earlier and I’ll say it a million times over- Hermione Granger! She is one of the strongest female characters to be written. Think about it. A girl who was doing brilliantly at Muggle school suddenly receives news that she is a Witch and must move to a castle and learn things that are completely foreign to her. She rises to the occasion and arms herself with all the information that she can gather. She even manages to make some of the spells work even before she sets foot in Hogwarts!
She then discovers that no matter how smart she is, she is going to be looked at as second-class citizen by some of her new classmates. But instead of cowering, she punches one of them right in the nose and puts an end to all the racist/classist slurs. She puts aside her need to excel academically to do the right thing and while the rest of her friends only concentrate on the war, she makes sure that she completes her education and gets into the highest office at the Ministry to make the Magical World a better place.
Current favorite literary quote?
For some reason, I can never remember quotes no matter how much I like them when I read them. I just started reading Adam Silvera’s Infinity Son today and found a quote from Leigh Bardugo’s Crooked Kingdom in it- Now that’s my favorite quote until it evaporates from my head.
“Fear is a Phoenix. You can watch it burn a thousand times and still it will return”.Leigh Bardugo
Last Five Star Read
Wonder by R.J. Palacio.
This is such a feel-good book. My favorite thing about it was the loving and supportive, yet realistic family. It was the same thing that I loved about Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli.
Three Diverse Reads
Gravemaidens by Kelly Coon
A young doctor must save the Emperor from a mysterious affliction while fighting the nation’s belief that sending three young girls to their deaths in a sealed tomb is something to celebrate.
Spin the Dawn by Elizabeth Lim
A book that appealed to the yarn-lover in me. A young tailor must prove her mettle while triumphing various tasks set by the royals.
The One’s Who Walked Away from Omelas by Ursula la Guin.
A short story with powerful imagery that is sure to make you lose sleep for a couple of nights.
Three Books From Your Favorite Genres
Three Hidden Gems
The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck. I inherited this book from my grandfather’s collection. I loved how it described everyday people and their perseverance to overcome the draught and other difficulties that a rural landscape throws at them. It is a very uplifting book that I wish everyone would read.
The Cole Trilogy by Noah Gordon. I picked up this series because I love medical fiction and historical fiction and it combines both of them. But it is a treat for anyone to read. It follows the Cole family through many generations, right from the Shaman healers and early settlers to the recent doctors of modern times. We see how the medical profession came into being, how people began to understand the human body and how people overcame adversities to follow their passion. I wish the physical copies of these books were available to add to my collection.
Snowflower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See. A book that talks about the Chinese practice of foot binding and how women overcame its constraints to create a secret language and traditions that are passed from mother to daughter, aunt to niece.
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