Reader Interview of Akanksha (The Newbie) @ BYOB Party in August 2019

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

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?

Toni Morrison.

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.

Blue Eyes and Feisty Centenarians @ BYOB Party in May 2018 (Part 3)

The noisy debates were taken over by the lull of storytelling when Alok spoke about Toni Morrison’s book The Bluest Eye. The central character of the book is a young girl called Pecola Breedlove. She is a young black American girl who dreams of blue eyes; the perfect trope to explore expected standards of beauty. The book is not a streamlined story but layered instead with flashbacks that hover over the African American identity. If you want to know more about the making of this story, listen to the Nobel Prize Winner speak about what compelled her to write about the least privileged and vulnerable. Click here.

Mugdha was fascinated by the Swedish writer, Jonas Jonasson, who wrote the book The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared. The story begins in a nursing home where a hundred-year-old decides to escape, perhaps prompted to action by excessive vodka. His adventure takes him through many humorous moments but the story also delves into Allan Karlson’s past. His work as an explosives expert has taken him around the world. Like Forest Gump, he has met prominent leaders of the twentieth century and using his irreligious stoic attitude as a microphone, the author talks about the history in an impartial voice. The same voice punctuates another book that was discussed at the BYOB Party called The Girl Who Saved the King of Sweden: A Novel.

More books in Part 4.