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 yet another book lover.
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Meet Ghazala Anjum
Hello, My name is Ghazala Anjum. I am 27 years old. I was born and brought up in Ramanagaram. It is a small town 50 km on the Bangalore-Mysore highway and is most famously known as the ‘Sholay town’.
Currently, I reside in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. I am a master degree holder in civil engineering, professionally, but I freelance as an editor, content writer, ghost writer and a reviewer. I am an introvert, so don’t mind if you notice me silent for hours without starting a conversation but I am a good listener.
Reading is my primary hobby. I have been reading for as long as I can remember. I was the only girl in middle school who utilized the school library. I love reading Fantasy, especially high-fantasy. I am a huge series addict. I prefer paperbacks than hardcovers and rarely read eBooks. I follow all fandoms from books I have read, not deeply, just a bit of everything. My favorite fantasy series apart from HP (obviously!) is The Mistborn Trilogy by Brandon Sanderson, Artemis Fowl series by Eoin Colfer and Song of the Shattered Sands series by Bradley P Beaulieu. Apart from reading, I also love reading Manga and watching anime. My favorites are Maid Sama and Cardcaptor Sakura. I have 5 cats in my home who keep me busy all the time.
Reading is supposed to bring peace, not pressure.-Ghazala Anjum.
When and How did you get into reading for pleasure?
I think it started with the stories of Prophets my grandmother used to tell me. Slowly I got into picture books and before I knew it, I was hooked. When I got into high school, the librarian allowed us to borrow only Nancy Drew and Hardy boys, despite there being tons of other books. I rebelled, wore her down and convinced her to let me borrow other books too. And during my graduation days, my parents didn’t allow me to read novels fearing that my attention will be diverted from studies, I downloaded ebooks and read in secret. But now that I am earning, there’s no stopping the splurge. Lol! So I guess the passion for reading was always there and I always found ways to ensure I had access to books
Do you have a reading ritual?
During hectic days, I usually read an hour in the morning while sipping a cup of green tea and in the night before sleeping (sometimes snacking on popcorn). On free days, I also read in afternoons and evenings while pacing around the room.
Do you believe diverse reading is important?
It all depends on preferences really. I for instance pick only fantasy and rarely other reads. It doesn’t mean I am not an ‘authentic’ reader. Just because one reads that doesn’t mean they have to read like everyone else and everything else that’s out there. If you want to explore something new, sure thing, but if you want to stick to a particular genre, that’s okay too. Reading is supposed to bring peace, not pressure.
What’s a trope you like to see in books?
Being a fantasy fan, I like classic good vs evil concept- the more innovative, the better. I also love some good old sarcasm from characters. A little bit of star crossed lovers theme (nothing cheesy and soppy though, I was mad when Rhysand from ACOTAR turned all gooey-gooey over Feyre!) magical new worlds, alternate timelines of what could be and what was, nice friendship and good feminine characters.
I am quite picky when it comes to how feminism is depicted in books. I don’t consider attributing masculine qualities to females as feminism. Don’t get me wrong, I like a fierce female warrior just like anyone else but you tell me becoming a mother or wife or getting into a relationship or giving importance to family is somehow demeaning in the large scope of things, I will have words with you!-Ghazala Anjum.
Three Series on your TBR?
I am a series addict of the highest proportions. If I start a series, I know I will finish it whether I like the series or not..-Ghazala Anjum.
Your go to mantra for overcoming a reading slump?
I usually have one unread book in my TBR that I want to read badly but keep on postponing it; when in a slump, I pick up that book. But if that doesn’t work, I will just concentrate on other things for a while and let the slump pass on its own.
What’s one unpopular bookish opinion you have?
I know I am going to get a lot of backlash for this but I don’t like Murakami books as of now. I started with Kafka on the Shore and at one point it was so disturbing that I dnf’d it. Later I went on the internet and searched about his other books and found he has similar disturbing content. I am not talking about the concept of magical realism but the obscene objectification of women present in his books. Many have told me that if I move past that, Murakami books are legendary but so far, I haven’t been able to bring myself to ‘move past it’. Maybe I am just not ready for Murakami, but hopefully I will be someday.I also don’t prefer contemporary romance novels especially that ‘love beyond everything’, ‘love saves all kind’. I like to read some realistic ones where love is a human feeling, not something that dropped from heaven in bundles on the backs of fairies. It sets unrealistic expectations in people specially when written in the context of reality.
Your favorite bookish merchandise?
I am not exactly fond of bookish merch. Whenever I feel like buying some, I use the same money and buy a book instead. The only merch I have are some booksmarks that I won in a giveaway. Though I love to see different merch and their use on bookstagram and I absolutely applaud the creativity of the people who make them, but have never felt the need to buy them for myself. Hope that changes!
Top 3 Favorite Books?
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
Elizabeth for me is the epitome of feminism. In a time where woman was supposed to accept an eligible rich bachelor’s proposal, she stood her ground and said No! I also like Mr Darcy for his ability to take rejection amicably, to understand the need for mending his ways and most importantly to respect a woman’s NO as NO. We need such characters more.
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The Mistborn Trilogy
by Brandon Sanderson
Because it is one of the best fantasy books I have read so far, especially for the plot twists they contain
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What are your bookish pet peeves?
People tearing books for the sake of props, gives me the creeps. I don’t mind dog eared or broken spines in books, even annotations. It gives a personal touch! But tearing off pages is just a no-no for me.
Favorite Fictional Character?
There are many, usually every book I read, at least one character becomes my favorite. There’s Alec Lightwood from The Mortal Instruments, Cassian from ACOTAR series, Ceda and Maryam from Song of the Shattered Sands series, Radu from the Conqueror’s Saga etc. The characters that I relate to easily become my instant favourite.
Current favorite literary quote?
“For you, a thousand times over – The Kite Runner“Khaled Hosseini
Last Five Star Read
Three Books From Your Favorite Genres
Song of the Shattered Sands series by Bradley P Beaulieu
This epic fantasy has all the elements that make up a good book. Brilliantly written characters, complex plot line, a number of POV’s, magic, gore, gods… everything! Each book is better than its predecessor. It’s the only series that I have given 5 star to every book
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