Reading Around the Globe: Himani in India
“Meerut has been known for its education and culture for reading and writing and has even given many learned writers to India. So, I feel there is a culture of reading here and at least the coming generation is much more learned and fond of reading here.”
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.
- What is your name? Luxurious & elegant, I have the memory of an elephant;
Loving all of life’s finer pleasures, gifted am I at acquiring more coffers & treasures. I am a Taurian and I am called Himani Kaushik.
- Blog URL? Books&Sstuff
- Twitter handle? @BooksSstuff
- Where do you live? I live in Meerut, India. The place is known is known as the ‘Sports capital of India’. Also known in history as the place from where the ‘Revolt of 1857’ started against colonialism before independence.
- 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! Well, I feel one usually finds people matching their interests anywhere and I have always matched my wavelengths with people who are fond of reading something or the other. In totality, Meerut has been known for its education and culture for reading and writing and has even given many learned writers to India. So, I feel there is a culture of reading here and at least the coming generation is much more learned and fond of reading here.
- What kinds of books do you enjoy reading? I like reading anything and everything that attracts my mind. Specifically, I read more of philosophical, historical books, biographies, thriller more often. But I am very fond of reading and narrating as I feel everything you read teaches you something new. So I read whatever I feel like at that moment be it a novel, a magazine, a textbook or anything. Even, I am very fond of narrating books, since my childhood.
- Have you always been a reader? I remember my first encounter with books (other than the textbooks) was in 2002, I was in class second and “Noddy- The goblins and the naughty trick” was the first book that I purchased from the Scholastic book fair in my school. Since that day my love for books kept on increasing manyfold. Books fascinate me more than anything.
- 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! Yes, I have read many books in my native language which is “Hindi” but now its been quite a long time that I have read any Hindi book. I often read some magazines published in my native language. There are a variety of books published, in fact, my place has given many famous Hindi writers to the country. Usually, the books published in my city are pulp fiction (it has been a center for this genre at a certain time in the 70s). Since my country, India is a country of diverse cultures and traditions, books published here are in many languages like Hindi, English, Tamil, Marathi, Malayalam, Bengali etc. But I am from north India so, my native language is Hindi. Books published in my country are from almost all genres like romance, fiction, non-fiction, thriller, biographies and many more. India has even given poets like ‘Nobel Laureate Rabindranath Tagore’, Sarojini Naidu, Vikram Seth, the list is quite big. There has always been a culture of reading and writing in India since ancient times.
- 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? Yes, there are libraries present here and even there are bookstores also where they keep latest and popular books published or the ones trending. You can find almost all type of books in the library here. Even if there is some book that you want is not available, you can ask them to get it for you and they make it available in a time period. Yes, I have mostly got the books that I wanted to read.
- How prevalent are English published books where you live in bookstores? (For example, books printed by HarperCollins.) English books are easily available here from HarperCollins, Penguin Books, Macmillan, Scholastic books (they even organize book fairs in schools in India) and many more. We can easily get them here and as I told even if some book is not available they get it for us.
- 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? No, I haven’t used them yet but would surely love to refer them ahead in my journey of exploring books.
- Do you experience hurdles or barriers to access for the kinds of books that you read? Please explain if so. Not until now. I usually get the books I need at my place and if not I ask the bookstore person to get it available. Also if he cannot make it available then now we have online stores to get them.
- If you could make one change to the publishing landscape, what would you do? India at present has around 19,000 publishers, with 90,000 books published each year but still, I feel that books for children are not being published with new stories, republishing of old stories of Cinderella and many such others have made children’s book reading circle very narrow. We need to explore more for the budding generation so that they can be fond of reading at an early age itself.
- Help other international bloggers out… What resources do you use to obtain the books that you want to read? Either I purchase the books from the bookstores or rent it from the library at my place or I borrow from a friend of mine. Otherwise, I use online resources like Amazon (most preferred by me), Flipkart, Bookchor (not sure if services available in other countries).
- Do you have any other experiences as a reader around the world that you would like to share? I don’t have any specific experience as a reader but yes, I have always been known as “the girl who read” in my school as well as college, and I like that feeling when people come to me to discuss books or ask me anything about the kind of books I read or prefer or would suggest them to read. That gives me happiness.
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.
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