We spoke to Akanksha about her love for books.
Tell us about your book journey.
I started reading books when I was very young. It was my go-to thing. Even as a child, I would pick up whatever book I found interesting that was lying around the house. My parents also encouraged me as they knew about my interest in books. I practically grew up in libraries.
English or vernacular?
I primarily read English- very little Gujarati though I was intrigued by the poetry of the land, particularly the poetry from the Bhakti era. I come from a remote area and got to see many performances by Dayro. They enacted a story as plays and musicals. Some of my favorite poets include the Gujarati Vaishnavite fifteenth-century poet Narsinh Mehta and twentieth-century social reformer poet Jhaverchand Meghani.
Fiction or poetry?
Oh, I read a combination of both. Though I don’t read much English poetry, lately, I’ve started reading David Whyte’s poetry. I connect with his style– his poems are conversational, emotional, intimate and personal.
Do books help you professionally?
Since I work on documentation, reading helps.
Any favorite author?
Clarissa Pinkola Estes. I even started an online reading group featuring her book Women Who Run With the Wolves. We deal with the book sequentially. First we pick a chapter and a story and then discuss. You must watch this YouTube video with the power-packed ladies Toni Morrison, Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estes, Maya Angelou and Jessye Norman chatting about the making of woman.life.song.
Is it books that led you to feminism?
I don’t think so. Many things could lead you to feminism – injustice, abandonment, a sense of belonging or not….
Which writer would you recommend for readers who would like to understand more about feminism?
Which book format do you like the most?
All of them- I’ve been reading print books the longest time but I also like the emotional intimacy of the audiobook. Right now I’m listening to the works of Robert Augustus Masters. Soothing stuff!
Thanks Akanksha! It was great talking to you. The books and videos you recommended were fantastic.