Reading Around the Globe: Ahana in India
“There are libraries where I live. However, the content isn’t always related to what I read. They are often based on the native tongue or the few books that are related to the genres I read are often of an older set of releases.”
Welcome to Reading Around the Globe, a series here on Reader Voracious Blog geared at fostering a culture of understanding in the bookish community about access to books in various countries around the world. Each post in the series highlights a full interview with one international reader. You can read more about this series and catch up on previous interviews on the master post.
* Note: after months of crunching data, I decided to move Reading Around the Globe to a different day of the week as Saturdays are a low traffic day.
- What is your name? Ahana
- Blog URL? Heart’s Content
- Twitter handle? @WrenBlue3
- Where do you live? India (Chennai)
- Do you find that there is a culture of reading where you live? If not, tell us a bit how you came to be one! Oh, yes. There is definitely a practice of reading where I live. Reading, I realized much later, is something that everyone here greatly respect and it has always been attributed to me since I was young. “Ah, Ahana, she’s probably reading,” they’d say, and always with a lot of fondness and pride. The most moving memory I have of my grandmother is her reading out stories to me. I remember thinking I wanted to know more and faster. I started reading quite young and I don’t think I ever stopped and I don’t think I ever will. It’s a strange kind of addiction and a childhood friend all in one.
- What kinds of books do you enjoy reading? I’m a total romance buff. I can read romance in pretty much all forms it takes. I can read it as a thriller, a fantasy, a dark retelling, anything. Lately, I’ve been introduced to some Indian authors too and I’m loving connecting to the culture and perhaps moving a little out of typical style of reading and enjoying it.
- Have you always been a reader? Yes, I have always been a reader. I’ve read on bus rides to and from school, breaks in school, car rides, intervals at movies, while eating, late nights, early mornings. Yes, definitely always been a reader.
- Do you also read books published in your native language/published locally to you? If so, tell us a bit about what kinds of books are published in your country! I don’t read books that are published in my native language simply because I’m not fluent in reading it. I have been looking into English translations, however. Many of the books all have a lot of culturally related mystic elements to them; stories of Gods, magic, Kings etc. There are many books that tell the stories of the Gods that have said to exist many centuries ago, and more recently stories on adaptations of famous epics/alternative takes on influential characters or Gods have started to appear more than before.
- Are there libraries where you live? If so, what kinds of books can you find there? Are you able to get the books that you want? There are libraries where I live. However, the content isn’t always related to what I read. They are often based on the native tongue or the few books that are related to the genres I read are often of an older set of releases. Perhaps books that had released almost a decade ago or books that are really really famous, cult classic-like.
- How prevalent are English published books where you live in bookstores? (For example, books printed by HarperCollins.) English published books are very much prevalent in bookstores that I live. However the variety is restricted to the likelihood of the book being sold. Sales rates matter because most readers have shifted into the practice of either purchasing digital copies or physical copies online, so the books available here are often only the well doing series.
- Do you use NetGalley or Edelweiss to request electronic galleys for review? If so, what kind of success rate would you estimate for you personally? I do use NetGalley and Edelweiss to request electronic galleys for review. I love promoting books, it’s the only way I can express the obsessive love I have for reading–by talking about them as much as I can. I’m a new blogger, so I’m unsure how to rate myself because sometimes I feel it’s a bit unpredictable which way my request could go.
- Do you experience hurdles or barriers to access for the kinds of books that you read? Please explain if so. I would love if books weren’t categorized into wish-for-it only sections simply because we’re international readers. I would really love to be given a chance too. International readers too make up a large portion of the reading world and are equally passionate and want to support their favourite books/authors.
- If you could make one change to the publishing landscape, what would you do? There are many benefits that international readers do not receive seemingly simply because of their location, even be it apps that can be downloaded, or promo codes or short story emails. If I could change one thing, it would be to help ensure all book lovers are able to receive these benefits.
- Help other international bloggers out… What resources do you use to obtain the books that you want to read? Most of the books I read I request off of Edelweiss or NetGalley. The rest of the books that I read I purchase from Amazon and because Kindle Unlimited is a really lovely and cheap option for all romance lovers out there, I’m almost always subscribed to it. I have really lovely blogger friends with whom I always discuss my reads and all of them have fantastic suggestions and recommendations for me. I’ve also signed up under the blogger list on promotional book tours which adds to the awareness of the new releases! Lately, I’ve also been reached out to by some authors and that’s always a lovely way to hear about books. I also always look up books on Goodreads that always has amazing suggestions based on genre!
- Do you have any other experiences as a reader around the world that you would like to share? It’s been only three months since I started blogging and every single person I’ve met in the blogging community is so supportive and kind and just lovely. Book blogging was this untouchable, unreachable dream all my life, until I decided I just had to do this because I loved it so much. Since day one, all my blogger friends have been with me almost every step of the way. They’ve truly made room for me in their hearts and made me feel so much at home. If this is what you love as well, all you have to do is start. You’ll have help at every corner!
Please note that all experiences reflected in the interviews are personal and are not meant to generalize what reading access is like in each country. If you are interested in participating please DM me on Twitter.
Let’s go on another adventure together!