This post has been simmering in the back of my mind for quite some time now and today felt like the perfect time to chat about what reading means to me personally. It is especially apt that I’m talking about this now because I wanted to thank all of the wonderful people who have supported my reading journey thus far, which also includes my presence in the online book community. If you’re here for the giveaway alone, you can skip to the end, but I’d be much obliged if you took a little time to read through this. I’ll break down all of the things I want to share in a Q&A format, so that it’s easy to read through.
Q: When did you start reading?
A: I was always surrounded by books right from childhood. Everyone in my family is an avid reader and my grandma has a room full of books that gives off the most wonderful scent of old books. I guess that I just picked up on that subconsciously. My oldest memory of reading is going through some books that I was given as a prize for being in the top 3 of my class in kindergarten and primary school.
Q. Why do you read?
A. This is a little hard for me to answer as I feel like there are several factors that shaped me into the book lover I am today. I’m finding some of it hard to put into words. I have always loved the idea of reading mostly because I internalized it as a child, I believe. When I read, I fall into the world of the story for that amount of time, so it is my escape from reality and a way to de-stress. I also learn so much from books, even though it might be fiction. I owe pretty much all of the emotional maturity I have to the books I’ve read. I was forced to give up reading during some hectic years when I had to concentrate on studies, and I realised the value reading holds in my life only after I re-started it. I can safely say that at this point, I don’t ever want to stop reading again.
Q. How did your love for reading grow?
A. A significant contributor for this was my school library. In the school I attended before this one, children from Class 4 and upwards were allowed inside the library, if I remember correctly. I remember peering longingly into the room and eagerly waiting for the day I would be old enough to go inside. When I changed schools, I was thrilled to discover that we had a weekly library period and I believe I made the most of it while I was there. I started off with some random books in Class 4 in the school library, but I had better luck with the little cupboard that was in my classroom. I started with Gulliver’s Travels. That year, we had a chapter from The Chronicles of Narnia in our textbook and my English teacher narrated the rest of the story to us whenever she could. In the Scholastic Book Fair that was organized in my school in the same year, I made sure I bought a copy, which sparked my everlasting love for fantasy.
The school library occupied two whole floors and we were only allowed into the first floor from Class 5. That is where I discovered some classic children’s literature like Enid Blyton’s mysteries, then moved on to Nancy Drew and after that, I started picking up fantasy, historical and mythological books. I’d spend the hour reading comics and having a good laugh or getting through some non-fiction or Chicken Soup books and I’d borrow the novels, starting them on that very day in an attempt to complete them within the week. I remember finishing some books in one sitting and enduring the agony of having to wait another 6 days at least to get another one. I even tried some genres like horror, which was mostly the Goosebumps series, and found that I didn’t really like the stories themselves but thoroughly enjoyed the format of the ‘choose-your-own-adventure’ ones. While many of my classmates never read and preferred to borrow books that were quite slim so that they wouldn’t be a burden to carry, I remember borrowing the complete movie-tie edition of The Lord of the Rings and lugging it around for 3 weeks.
I feel like I didn’t really appreciate all of this when I was there. It has made me who I am and added so many wonderful books to my tally. When I went to check out the library in college, it mostly consisted of rows upon rows of textbooks and one tiny little shelf for fiction that I was not interested in at all. It was then that it began to sink in that I was so very lucky to have had a library as big and well-stocked as the one in my school and to study in a school that actively promoted reading. We not only had a library period every week, but also book fairs every year and on World Reading Day, we would all be made to read for an hour or so compulsorily. The libraries in my country are really not that good in the sense that they don’t carry many titles besides the very popular ones in the genres I prefer to read, so it was quite a miracle that I studied in a school whose librarian was competent enough to acquire all of the wonderful books that I read when I was there. I really wish I could go back just to see what titles are available there now and experience the joy of picking up books for free again.
Q. How did you get into book blogging?
A. I’m not sure if I’ve talked about this before or if a lot of my followers here know about this, but I had a blog that focused on writing before I started Unputdownable Books. I started falling out of love with that somewhere in 2016 and I also started feeling directionless with respect to it. In December 2016, I stumbled upon the amazing community of Booktube and the urge to share my reading experience with the world steadily grew as I watched more and more. I finally decided to start off on a small-scale on Tumblr, but the medium didn’t really work for me. I was conflicted about whether to integrate Unputdownable Books with my old blog and tried it out for a week or two before I decided it needed to exist independently. In May 2017, Unputdownable Books as you know it was born.
Q. Who were instrumental in the growth of your book blog?
A. I want to take this opportunity to talk about some of the people to whom I’m immensely thankful and who have been instrumental in getting Unputdownable Books to the position it is in today.
First of all, to the five wonderful people who follow me here and used to follow me on my old blog as well – Sara, Rachel, Megan, E. E. Rawls and Ilsa. Next, to the creators of the communities I’m lucky to be a part of – Avalinah (Intl. and new blogger’s group), Jenn (Crone bloggers group) and Marta (Cursed book club). Third, to some of the best people in the Indian book blogging scene – Charvi, Aditi, Simant, Prags, Poulami, Chitra and Resh. Fourth, to some of the people I look up to in the book blogging scene currently – Shealea, Lia, Cait, Justine, Briana and Krysta. Lastly, to all of the people who regularly comment and show my posts some love – Ayunda, Etinosa (I’m mentioning the username here), Camilla, Norrie, Olivia, the lovely Swedish person behind ‘I read that in a book’ and so many others. I wish I could put all of your names up here because all of your support, down to even a simple thing such as 1 like, means a lot to me and I really want to pay it forward.
Now that I’m done talking about myself, let’s get to the exciting part of this post, which is the giveaway. This is my first ever giveaway, so I’m starting with just one book that is absolutely gorgeous but I know I won’t enjoy. I got it in a book box and I haven’t even unpacked it since I’d already decided this would need a new home. To enter, all you have to do is follow me on the blog and on my Twitter as well as my Bookstagram. None of them are mandatory but I’d really like it if you did. Also, I do request that you only enter if you’re really interested in the book and that you only enter through the options that actually apply to you. I’m giving bonus entries for my existing followers as this giveaway is a thank you to all of them, so please be honest while entering because I will be cross-checking. It runs until the 21st and the winner will be picked on the 25th as I will need some time to verify the entries. It is a random draw, so hope you have your lucky pants on! The link isn’t showing up with the cool kind of preview I want, so please click on the ugly link below the book cover to enter.
How did your reading journey start? Who would you thank for shaping you into the reader that you are? Do you enjoy classics? Let me know in the comments section below.