Reading Around the Globe: Nargis in Pakistan
“The only hurdles I face are related to the shipping of books in Pakistan. For example if I pre-order a book or request a book on the Readings website, it obviously takes weeks to reach our country. Even the cost of shipping is high. “
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? My name is Nargis Kalani
- Blog URL? Literary Nerd’s Musings
- Twitter handle? @Nkliterarynerd
- Where do you live? I live in Karachi, Pakistan
- 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! Yes! There is a reading culture around our country but not as much as it should be. Though, I am glad that people read both in English and our national language that’s urdu.
- What kinds of books do you enjoy reading? I have explored most genres throughout the years like Spiritual, Self-help, Fantasy, Fiction, Science Fiction, Manga, Graphic novels, Mystery/Horror/Thriller, Middle Grade Books, Young Adult, Eroticas, Adult, Contemporary and Humor. My go to genre is Science fiction and dystopias because I just love to read about futuristic things.
- Have you always been a reader? Yes, as far as I remember. I started reading when I was in 1st grade in school. My parents instilled the reading habit in me and then apart from the school materials, I started reading fairy tales.
- 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 have read 1 novel that was written and published in our native language Urdu. It was Pir-e-Kamil by Umera Ahmed. I hope to read more books in Urdu soon. I have also read 1 or 2 books that were locally published. One was poetry book and the other was fiction. I do own a few more locally published books which I intend to read soon.
- 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? As far as I know, there’s a British Council Library in Karachi where there are all kinds of books. There are 2 more small libraries that I know of. There are small libraries in Ismaili Community Centres as well, in Karachi. A new library opened in Karachi a few months back. It’s called My Bookshelf . This is an online library where you can borrow physical books. They don’t just offer the services in but all over Pakistan for a little fee.
- How prevalent are English published books where you live in bookstores? (For example, books printed by HarperCollins.) All kinds of books are prevalent in Pakistan, even the ones published by Harper Collins in these two big book stores that are known all over Pakistan (Liberty books and Readings Pk).
- 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 recently made an account on NetGalley and many of my book blogger friends from Pakistan use NetGalley to request electronic books for review. I have been receiving books directly from authors for a few years now as they directly contact me for reviewing. As I am working full time right now, I read slowly and I still have a few more books to read and review. Once I am done with all the books I have for reviewing, I will definitely start using netgalley.
- Do you experience hurdles or barriers to access for the kinds of books that you read? Please explain if so. The only hurdles I face are related to the shipping of books in Pakistan. For example if I pre-order a book or request a book on the Readings website, it obviously takes weeks to reach our country. Even the cost of shipping is high.
- If you could make one change to the publishing landscape, what would you do? The publishing landscape is already so vast and flourishing all over the world. I just want that well known publishers should invest in our country and open their branches in Pakistan to expand the reading experience here.
- Help other international bloggers out… What resources do you use to obtain the books that you want to read? I don’t think I will be of that much help to international bloggers because we Pakistani bloggers ourselves go through these resources problem.
- Do you have any other experiences as a reader around the world that you would like to share? Not right now. I do hope to travel around the world and explore various reading cultures in different countries.
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!