Hello! Today is Part 8 of my Sunday Morning Book Chats series, where each week I chat with a different bookstagrammer about their accounts, what they’re reading, and what they’re like outside of the online bookish community. There have been seven other interviews so far in this series, so if you’re interested in checking any of those out you can click the “Sunday Morning Book Chats” tab at the top of the page.
This week I’d like to welcome one of my dearest bookstagram friends to my blog, the ever-lovely Ankita from @thoughts_of_an_insomniac. Ankita is honestly one of the kindest, most beautiful souls I have met through bookstagram, and if you’re not following her you’re completely missing out. 🙂
The General Questions
1. Tell us a little bit about yourself: where you’re from, how long you’ve been on bookstagram for, and what you like to do when you’re not reading books, photographing books, or just generally thinking about books.
Hi. I’m Ankita. I am from India. I live in a lovely city called Bhopal. My city is famous for its lakes and hills. So being a nature lover, I love living here. Books have always been a huge part of my life. Books are my refuge. I am a solitary being and I love being alone with a book and coffee/tea for company. I’ve never been lonely. I love my solitude too much.
I have a BA and MA in English Literature. I am entertaining the idea of doing a PhD but choosing the topic of thesis is extremely difficult. So, I’m not so sure about it.
I’ve been on Bookstagram since a year and a half, I guess. When I’m not reading or taking pictures of books, I listen to music. I also like baking and cooking. And I’m a sky gazer. I love to watch the clouds float by. I can (and I do) spend hours looking at the sky.
2. How did you discover the bookstagram community, and what you made you decide to start your own account?
I discovered the Bookstagram community when I saw all the bookish pictures in the book hashtags. I came across so many accounts that showcased their love for books. And I used to post about books also but mine was a private account. So I made it public and started bookstagramming regularly. Nobody reads in my family. Even my friends aren’t into books. I am the only one and I didn’t really have anyone in my life with whom I could share my love for books. So, I decided to start bookstagramming and it was the best decision of my life.
3. In all your time on bookstagram, are there any moments in particular that stand out to you or any experiences you’ve had because of bookstagram that you’re particularly grateful for?
Bookstagram is the best thing that has ever happened to me in my life. I’ve met so many amazing, kind and generous people through bookstagram. I truly believe that all the best people in the world can be found on bookstagram. I’ve met many people here who I know will stay in my life forever. Every single warm comment makes my day. So, thanks to our community I have myriad memories and I’m grateful for each and every one of them. It’s really hard to choose some moments because each and every moment is special. But, I’ll try. I commented on this person’s picture that showcased a book of Bronte’s letters and I said that this gorgeous Oxford Classics edition is really hard to find here. A few days later, I got a package and when I opened it I found that same copy of the book. She sent me that book all the way from the US and I was so so amazed. I couldn’t stop crying. Haha. Another person has sent me some vintage Shakespeare books from the US because he knows how much I love Shakespeare and vintage editions. And there are two people who braved the heat, went from one bookshop to another and got me some vintage Penguins and old books because they know how much I love such editions. There are many such moments. If I talk about all of them then I’d never move on to the next question. 😀
A Bit More Specific…
1. Are you the type of person who likes to read multiple books at a time, or do you like to pick up one book and stick with it until you’ve finished it?
It really depends on the book. If the book is great I’d, probably, finish it in one sitting or in a couple of days. I read multiple books when it comes to poetry. I am a huge poetry lover. So, I make it a point to read a few poems everyday. I need poetry like one needs air to breathe.
2. What are you currently reading, and what books are you excited to start reading soon?
I am currently reading Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale. It is my first dystopian novel and I’m liking it so far. I am really excited to read Greene’s The End of an Affair and I can’t wait to read Kundera’s Laughable Loves.I love Kundera’s writing style. He’s just amazing.
3. On a scale of 1-10, how intimidating is your TBR pile?
Oh man. My TBR is way out of control. The Bookstagram community should be blamed for this. Seriously!
4. Who are your go-to authors?
My go to authors are Neruda, Gulzar, Ghalib, Rumi, Shakespeare, Kundera, Keats, Plath, Dickinson, Ondaatje and many more. My list of favorite poets is huge.
5. You’re hosting a tea party and you can invite three famous people, either living or dead. Who do you invite and why?
Ah, this is a tough question. I’d invite Hemingway, Ondaatje and Plath to my tea party. Hemingway, because I love his writing style and mostly because he loved to drink. It won’t be your regular tea party, that’s for sure. Ondaatje, because his The English Patient is one of my all time favorites. His prose is sheer poetry and I’d love to pick his brain about the characters in that book. I have sooo many questions. Plath, because I admire her. She had the balls to write about the darkness that she had inside of her. I really admire such writers who have the guts to write about all that they’ve been through. It is not easy at all. Most of us don’t even acknowledge half of the stuff we go through and Plath wrote about it all and faced it head on. She speaks to a hidden, dark corner of my soul.
6. Let’s talk about reading slumps: do you get them, and if you do, how do you get yourself out of them?
I do not get reading slumps. Not really. I get book hangovers, however, and they suck. The English Patient by Ondaatje and The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy are two books that gave me a terrible case of book hangover. I couldn’t read anything for a couple of weeks after i read these books. On one hand, it is great because one doesn’t come across such works of geniuses everyday. But on the other hand, it isn’t great at all. Because you just can’t read anything else. Not even poetry and that sucked. Big time. It was like I was in a haze and I don’t think I’m still out of it. Such masterpieces stay with you forever.
7. What are five books you think everyone should read and why?
- The English Patient by Michael Ondaatje
- The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy
- Island of a Thousand Mirrors by Nayomi Munaweera
- Hamlet by William Shakespeare
- The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera
Anything I say about these books would not be enough and I don’t think I can do them justice by talking about them in a a few lines. These aren’t just books. They are journeys one can only experience them by reading them.
8. I know how bookstagrammers love a good quote, particularly for the captions of their photos, so can you share one of your favorite quotes with us?
Oh wow. I have so many favorite quotes. It’s difficult to choose. Hmm, let me think.
“We’ve got to live no matter how many skies have fallen.” – D.H. Lawrence
This quote inspires me.
Speed Round! What is your favorite…
Movie? Rang De Basanti (It’s a Hindi movie)
Reading spot? My veranda or my garden.
Ice cream flavor? Mint Chocolate or Belgian Chocolate (Can’t choose one. Sorry).
Song? Oh there are sooo many. They change with my mood. So, it’d be a huge ass list. I won’t bore you with it.
Fictional character? Woah, I can’t just pick one. Almasy and Hana from The English Patient, Estha, Rahel, Velutha and Ammu from The God of Small Things. And many more.
Thank you so much for joining us on Sunday Morning Book Chats! Before you go, do you have any tips for anyone looking to start their own bookstagram account?
Do what you like and post about the books that are special to you. Don’t just post for your followers or for likes. That would never make you happy. You’ll always want more. Remember that it is your account and it should be always about what you like and not what the rest of the world likes. Also, reply to every comment that you get. This is how you get to know other people and make friends. Bookish friends are the best. Bookstagram is not about how many followers you have or the likes your pictures get. It is all about the conversations you have and the connections and bonds that you make. These will stay with you forever. Trust me.
A huge thank you to Ankita for taking part today! Make sure you go check out her account over at @thoughts_of_an_insomniac, and join us next Sunday for an interview with Charlotte from @what.i.read. 🙂