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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I am 22 years old. I am from Gwalior, Madhya Pradesh but I have been living away from home for almost 5 years. I lived in Tamil Nadu and now in Karnataka. I work in a data science company. I have read about 250 books in the last 5 years (didn’t keep track before that). My favorite genres are YA, fantasy, SciFi, LGBTQIAP+ contemporaries, historical fiction/alternative history. I usually go for books that have a combination of these genres. According to Pottermore, I am a Gryffindor and I agree. I definitely prefer paperbacks over eBooks and even hardcovers. I am currently reading an ARC for a YA book named “Mad, Bad and Dangerous to Know” by Samira Ahmed. I am hyper obsessed with this Dungeons and Dragons stream, Critical Role.
The human experience differs from person to person; and if we are not reading to learn about and from the experience of others, I don’t know why we are reading.-Gargee
When and How did you get into reading for pleasure?
I’ve always been into stories. My parents weren’t big on reading novels, so when I was young I used to read my course literature. And when I was done with those, I’d read my brother’s. He is 5 years elder to me, so his books were quite interesting. I’d just keep rereading them until the next academic year began. Coincidentally, my brother was the one who bought me books for the first time—box sets of Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings.When I went to college and was in-charge of my own finances, I started buying books in droves; which obviously led me to being broke forever.
Do you have a reading ritual?
Don’t really have a ritual. Unless you count going from a sitting posture to a lying down one as I read.
What’s a trope you like to see in books?
I am not a fan of tropes, really. I believe in defying expectations and cliches. But I do immensely enjoy morally grey characters.
Your go to mantra for overcoming a reading slump?
I don’t try to necessarily overcome a slump. I think it happens because of information overload or maybe my brain needs a different kind of activity. I give it some time and then try to see if I’m in the mood to read again. But yeah, if you pick a really good book while trying to deal with a slump, your chances are better.
What’s one unpopular bookish opinion you have?
The hype around Harry Potter needs to die down. I mean, I get it. That was the gateway to reading and fantasy for A LOT of people, including me. It was huge part of our childhood and it’s nice to have it as a cushion to fall back into when everything was simplistic. But there is better content out there.Also, you seriously cannot separate the art from the artist. And the artist for this piece of art is getting too much.
Your favorite bookish merchandise?
I think enamel pins are always my favorite because the amount of detail that goes into them. They are so small, yet they capture so much. I find them to be very poignant. And you can out them anywhere you like: on your bag, shirt, jacket, anything.My favorite pin is probably the Nevernight Chronicles set of 3 pins from Iron & Ink designs.
Top 3 Favorite Books?
This is a tough one. Like, extremely tough. So, I’m gonna go with books that I think about most often currently.
The Night Circus and The Starless Sea by – it’s whimsical, immersive and just blinding with its pure light of creativity.
All For The Game Series – the characters are so, so interesting. Every single one of them has this excruciating history that they have overcome and they have worked on themselves to become better. The relationships are overtly complex and beautiful.
What are your bookish pet peeves?
I don’t like it when people do anything to destroy the “sanctity” of the book. By that I mean, any kind of harm whether it be dog-earing or writing on the book, or my biggest one—breaking the spine. I legit lose it if I see even a single crack in the spine.
Favorite Fictional Character?
Again, there are just so many. For the question’s sake, let’s go with Inej Ghafa. She is strong, resilient, self-sufficient, smart as a whip and does not let her past define her. She is everything one can aspire to be.
Current favorite literary quote?
“it’s not the world that’s cruel. It’s the people in it.”~ The Foxhole Court by Nora Sakavic
What are your thoughts on Diverse Reading?
Reading about diverse characters and from diverse authors is definitely very important to me. I think the answer lies within the word “diverse” itself. People are not “diverse”, they just are. We are not different species of flowers. That term exists in human context only because the archetype that exists is so limited that it does not represent all people; and for some reason, that archetype is all over the place. The human experience differs from person to person; and if we are not reading to learn about and from the experience of others, I don’t know why we are reading.
My favourite diverse reads are—Once & Future duology, I Wish You All the Best, The Henna Wars, Wilder Girls, Ember Quartet, A Song of Wraiths and Ruin, Warcross Duology, and I’m thinking I should stop now. The list is too long.
Last Five Star Read
It is the conclusion to the Once & Future duology. It’s got literally everything one can ask for in a book. Amazing, fully fleshed out LGBTQIAP+ charcters all across the spectrum; great storytelling; classic battle between good and evil; morally grey characters; redemption arcs; stunning character development and a happy ending.
Three Books By Women Authors
The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood –
A dystopia that proves how feminism is not a thing of the past and how women and marginalized people are the first in line to get oppressed and derogated in times of “hardship”
Buy On Amazon!
Fierce Fairy tales and Other Stories to Stir Your Soul by Nikita Gill.
A book with powerful poetry that spins the stories of damsels in distress. It talks about the strength that women have and gives widely known female characters more character than the original stories did.
Buy On Amazon!
The Power by Naomi Alderman
Also dystopia. Has the message that too much power]
corrupts no matter who wields it.
Buy On Amazon!
Three Hidden Gems
Sawkill Girls by Claire Legrand
It is a powerful book about how women are seen in society and how much they suffer in silence, and this is told through paranormal and fantasy means. Also, all the three main characters fall on the LGBTQ+ spectrum.
Buy On Amazon!
Sacré Bleu by Christopher Moore
Historical fantasy fiction that takes us to the time of Vincent Van Gogh and Monet. It is amazingly written and every character is one you immediately fall in love with even if they are kind of jerks.
The Incendiaries by R.O. Kwon
A subtle book talking about strained relationships and losing one’s identity by delving too deep into religion.
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