Why don’t you introduce yourself? Where do you live? What do you do for a living?
N: I live in Bombay, and I am the co-founder and co-editor of the literary magazine, The Curious Reader
D: My name is Devanshi. I am a former lawyer by profession. I live in Mumbai and am the co-editor and co-founder of The Curious Reader- a literary magazine for people who love reading.
What’s the first book you remember reading?
N: The Enchanted Wood by Enid Blyton
D: The Runaway Pancake. It was a slim book published by Ladybird (if I recall correctly) about a pancake who runs away to avoid being eaten. I remember loving the book but not much else about it.
The first story or poem that left a strong impression on you and why?
N: While the first would probably be Murder On The Orient Express, for its sheer brilliance when it comes to crafting a murder mystery, but the book which has left the strongest impression on me is definitely A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry. It is the one book which elated me and moved me to tears in the span of a few pages, the one book which shows that an author is capable of taking your emotions on such a roller coaster of a ride that you will never be the same once you put down the book.
D: The Mallory Towers by Enid Blyton. Blyton’s stories about boarding school and the life there influenced me enough to want to go to boarding school as well. Of course, the experience was vastly different from what I expected but I did end up loving the time spent at boarding school.
What is your favourite book/author?
N: Amitav Ghosh. From his works- A Sea Of Poppies
D: The Fountainhead/ Ayn Rand. I also love crime fiction so Arthur Conan Doyle and a favourite is Erle Stanley Gardner.
What’s the biggest influence on what you read?
N: Hard to say- Im very eclectic in what I read. Its really what catches my fancy at the moment. Could be a good review, a recommendation by a friend I trust, a talk, it doesn’t really matter. I do have a quirk though- if I’m gifted a book, I feel compelled to read it, even if I would never have bought it!
D: My friends and family, in particular, my dad. I never read a book he doesn’t recommend. Now, as the co-editor of The Curious Reader, I constantly find myself adding to my list of books to read as I come across so many wonderful recommendations from our community.
Is there a book/ books you have read more than once? Which one and what makes you go back to it?
N: Many! My Agatha Christies, Harry Potter, but the book I’ve, surprisingly, read more than a few times is Doctors by Erich Segal. It’s just such a feel good book and such a quick read.
D: The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand. Typically, I do not re-read books but I tend to go back to The Fountainhead every so often because I always understand a different aspect of it. It is a wonderful book which can be read in many ways- as a powerful love story, a philosophical book or even as a case study. Mostly, I find the book calms me down and it has helped me gain a better understanding of myself.
Is there any genre you would never read?
N: None that I wouldn’t read, but I am still to read comic books.
D: Never say never but I don’t usually read chick lit or really soppy novels.
An author and /or a book you think are underrated and why?
N: I don’t know if he is underrated, but I do think Aatish Taseer deserves more fame than he has, at least in India. His books are incredibly well-written. Evocative but factual.
D: J.G. Ballard. His dystopian novels are brilliant. I specifically recommend Super-Cannes and Cocaine Nights. The way it develops- he convinces you of his premise and just as you think he’s figured out life, he tears it all apart.
If you could be a character in any book, what would it be?
N: A professor.
D: Sherlock Holmes. Even though he is socially inept, his intelligence more than makes up for it.
Is there a particular genre you like reading?
D: Crime fiction. I love solving the puzzle and figuring out the who, why and what of the mystery. I have a peculiar habit- once the set up is complete, I read the solution to the mystery and then go back to try and figure out how the writer drops clues and how the story unfolds.
A book you have been wanting to read but haven’t yet?
N: So many! But what immediately comes to mind is Homo Deus: A Brief History Of Tomorrow.
D: The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
A genre that dominates your bookshelf?
N: Historical, classics, business books
D: Crime fiction and literary fiction
Do you have a blog where people can follow you?
What are you currently reading?
N: Half Of A Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adiche
D: For work- The Diary Of Anne Frank; For pleasure: Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
What is the next book you are planning to read?
N: Narcopolis by Jeet Thayil
D: The Written World by Martin Puchner