Challenges of Being an Indian Bibliophile + Indian Lit Readathon Announcement!

Sorry for going off the grid for the past two posting days! I was in a bit of a blogging slump and I didn’t feel like starting any blog posts because I didn’t have the time to make them of the usual quality. But I promise I’m finally back on track and will be more active than ever from July. This time I definitely mean it! I was on Twitter this afternoon when I saw Avalinah’s tweet about today being International Blogger Day. I’ve been meaning to talk about the this topic for a while now. Today being a super special day for me personally and after reading this amazing post on Vicky Who Reads, I thought it was finally time to voice my opinions. This is difficult for me to write (which is why the post isn’t essay length) because it is deeply personal and sometimes thinking too much about it can really put a dent in my confidence, but this needs to be said. I hope that someday, somehow, things will change to a degree where none of the things in this post will be valid. But until then, let’s pledge to do better each day, shall we?

Indian Bibliophile Problems and ILR Annoucement

Vicky mentions in her post on how there’s a huge emphasis on hardcovers, mostly over on Instagram. But it spills over into other bookish circles as well. The pressure to get the latest releases, that too in hardcover, is immense! I personally prefer to buy hardcovers of books I’ve previously loved because durability is an important factor for me. I know I will return to them again at some point in my life or would just like to support the author and lend it to others so they can enjoy it as well. However, it costs me a fortune to get my hands on a copy. Most need to be imported because paperbacks are printed in majority here in India.

Another thing I’ve noticed is that keeping up with the trends in countries like the US or UK guarantees more views or likes, which in turn leads us to neglect authors from our own countries. I’m sure there are some real gems written by Indian authors that don’t get a ton of hype because they aren’t “in trend” in other parts of the world. Nobody even cares unless a book is selected for some literary prize and that’s unfair because so many good books go unnoticed this way. And we might as well forget about books in our regional language. I recently read a book that was translated to English from my mother tongue and I’m now obsessed with re-reading it in Kannada (a language spoken by natives of the state of Karnataka in India, in case you didn’t know) but I can’t seem to find the original anywhere! It’s really sad to see that a book that came to my attention because a Canadian Booktuber was singing its praise isn’t even readily available in the language the author wrote it in.

In one of my conversations with my Nigerian blogger friend, Etinosa, we were discussing Vicky’s points and talking about how the odds are stacked against international bloggers. We usually can’t receive physical ARCs due to shipping costs and digital ARCs due to copyright issues. If we can’t afford the books right after release date or can’t even get our hands on ARCs, how are we supposed to succeed in an online world where not following a trend is taboo? Not only that, as international bloggers and Bookstagrammers, we are less likely to get views for our posts because we can’t post them at the “optimal time”. We can hardly take part in community events like Twitter chats or attend book festivals due to our geographical location. We are at a disadvantage even before starting out and sometimes this can get very frustrating because it feels like we’re outsiders in a community that is supposedly welcoming and inclusive.

The only way we can overcome this issue is to incorporate diversity in all aspects. While the publishing industry is finally listening to the demands of the readers and putting out more books diverse books, it is also important to remember that influencers can be from all kinds of backgrounds. If your feed is dominated by the popular people in the community, who just happen to mostly be white, it is time to change that. It is important to support creators ofΒ  colour, creators from the LGBTQIAP+ community, non-binary creators, creators who don’t speak English as their first language, creators who come from different religious and cultural backgrounds. For international book lovers, it is good to remind yourselves that it is completely fine not to follow the current trend because there is more than one path to success. It is perfectly alright to read books in languages no one in your bookish friend circle can speak and perfectly acceptable to buy e-books rather than shiny new hardcovers. Things will remain as they are if we continue to try and blend in with the shadows instead of standing out and being proud of our identities.


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As I was discussing with a few of my Indian blogger friends, we all realised that we hardly read literature from our own country and we all wanted to do better. This is how the idea for ‘Indian Lit Readathon’ was born. My co-hosts are Shruti from This is Lit, Charvi from Not Just Fiction and Aditi from Dreamy Reads. None of us are huge influencers or have any experience in organizing a large-scale bookish event online, but we decided that this was too good not to share with all the people out there who would love to join us. This time we decided to keep things simple so that if this caught on, we could increase the scale in subsequent readathons. This will be a 48-hour readathon starting at 12:00 AM on July 7th (Saturday) and ending at 11:59 PM on July 8th (Sunday) IST. The goal of this readathon is to read books by Indian authors but there is no restriction who can participate. Here are some rules we established just to make things clear –

Indian Lit Readathon Rules

Here is the participant sign-up form if you’re interested [Link].

As it is taking over a span of two days but we wanted to people to challenge themselves, we are expecting participants to read a minimum of 3 books in order to successfully finish the readathon. We have prompts to help you choose books for the readathon, so the goal is to complete at least 3 challenges with the books of your choice. You are free to choose books that count for multiple challenges, with one book allowed to fulfil up to 3 challenges. That way a stack of 3 books can count for a maximum of 9 challenges! Here are the reading challenges for this edition of the readathon –

July 2018 Reading Challenges Part 1

July 2018 Reading Challenges Part 2

For any questions, suggestions or concerns, we can be reached at –

Email: indianlitreadathon (at) gmail (dot) com

Twitter: @IndLitReadathon

Instagram: @IndianLitReadathon

We hope you can free up your calenders around that time and join us as we celebrate the contribution of India to the literary community. As always, happy reading!


Are you an international blogger? If so, what are some of the challenges that you face on a daily basis? Are you looking forward to the readathon? Let me know in the comments section below.

45 thoughts on “Challenges of Being an Indian Bibliophile + Indian Lit Readathon Announcement!

  1. I’m really excited for this! I’ve picked three books, but am eagerly awaiting recommendations from you guys. I tend to mostly read US and UK authors and have wanted to branch out for a long time, but didn’t really know where to begin. I can’t wait πŸ˜ƒ

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Great post! Especially this part “Things will remain as they are if we continue to try and blend in with the shadows instead of standing out and being proud of our identities.”

    As international bloggers we may have disadvantages but we also have a rare perspective we can write from. Anyone with access can write a review of a new release (some excellent ones, many rather repetitive), but too few bloggers can and do write well about international authors. Personally I read blogs because I want to hear about books I haven’t heard about (and talk about books in general of course) and only following the bloggers that keep up with the latest trends defeat that purpose (those books I will probably hear about anyway).

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I agree. That’s the best advantage we have and we should be using that to make our blogs unique. That’s a great way to get a lot of diverse opinions and book recommendations! I need to take a hard look at who I follow and why. I’ll take a leaf out of your page and try to do the same. You’re a true inspiration. πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Vicky Who Reads

    Ahhh I’m so glad my blog post impacted you and made you start this reading challenge! I’ll totally boost this ❀

    If I join, is it exclusively Indian authors living in India, or can it be Indian American authors (i.e. Nisha Sharma & Sandhya Menon)? Thank so much and I’m so honored to help inspire this awesome challenge!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you for the post! It was truly necessary to talk about it and you articulated it so very well! 😊
      Indians living abroad, Indian-American or even authors of half-Indian heritage like Roshani Chokshi are totally fine for this readathon. πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  4. This was such an important post Nandini… When I was still in India, it always used to bug me that I could never find new releases in stores because obviously, I was getting my information from GR and it had no details about Indian release dates.. And then shelling out around a 1000 bucks for a brand new cover while working on a first job out of college was quite difficult. But I still tried to read as much as I could.
    I’m so lucky to have access to many more resources here now and I totally understand how it must make you feel as a passionate reader and influenced to feel left out just because of your geographical location. I really hope things get better.
    I don’t know if I can do the readathon in that specific 48 hours but maybe I’ll just read at my own pace… I’m definitely looking for some recommendations from you for those challenges coz I’m unfortunately quite ignorant about the literary scene in India …
    And I wanted to know what Book from Kannada were u looking for in the original.. Just curious..

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I wrote this post specifically for people who could relate to this issue. I’m facing the same thing you did right out of college and I wish things would change for the better! I’m glad you have access to good libraries and amazing bookstores in the US. I’m hoping that will be the scene in India one day too. πŸ™‚
      It’s completely fine if you want to read at your own pace. We wanted to keep it as 48 hours in whichever time zone you’re in, but the logistics of that was pretty hard as we’re just starting out. We didn’t have any idea how many amazing books there are by Indians until we started looking for recs for this readathon. We’ll be introducing recs on our Twitter soon, so you can keep an eye out for that. πŸ™‚
      The book I’m looking for is Ghachar Ghochar by Vivek Shanbhag.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I know.. and I’m so sad that nothing much has changed in a decade and we still don’t have any libraries back home… I feel really lucky here…
        I can totally understand how readathon’s run for 24 or 48… it’s probably easier to manage that way.. but I’m definitely gonna try to read for atleast a few challenges throughout the month…
        Ghachar Ghochar has been on my radar for some time too… this’ll probably be a nice time to read it.. and it’s quite small too… 😊😊
        And I’ll be keeping an eye on Twitter for more wonderful recs…
        Hope u had a great birthday 😊😊

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Great post. You takes about a lot of issues that we really need to be talking about in the book community. I’m really interested in participating in the Indian lit readathon, but would need a lot of recommendations for the prompts.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! πŸ™‚ Book recs are on the way! 😊 We’re planning to post them from tonight on our Twitter and Instagram, one prompt every day. I’m so glad you’re joining us! Your support means the world to me. ❀

      Liked by 1 person

  6. This sounds fabulous! I hope you all have fun! (I am horrible at committing to things right now, so I won’t join just to not actually read anything…which I may have done for a couple other events…but I will look forward to reviews and such!).

    Liked by 1 person


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  9. Lovely write-up Nandini πŸ™‚ It is true that we mostly read foreign authors and neglect our own literature. But I follow so many Indian readers on Instagram and I am glad that most of the friends there are Indians and get to know about some awesome books from time to time πŸ™‚

    This is a nice readathon. I can’t participate this time but hopefully next time. Also, shouldn’t the 48 hours be finished on 9th July 12AM? Just curious πŸ˜›

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! ❀ I tend to follow on Twitter more and I do get to know about good books, but I unfortunately don’t add them to my TBR and forget about them later. 😞 I really need to do something about that!
      Aw, that’s too bad! I really hope we can organise another (and hopefully have you join us as a host? πŸ˜‰) at a better time so more people can take part. πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

      1. We started posting recs on Twitter and Instagram since day before yesterday, so if you have any more, we’d love to hear from you! 😊 Thank you once again for supporting us in any way you can. πŸ™‚

        Liked by 1 person

  10. Your post is exactly what I needed. I will give you that. I am constantly worried about not being able to get my hands on e-ARC’s or ARC’s. Netgalley is a great place to get e-ARC’s but not all popular books are available. When the entire Booktubing and book blogging community is talking about a book, and you couldn’t read it, well, that is just demotivating. All the book signing events, bookcons and book readings happen in US or UK. International book readers truly don’t get a chance to attend those exclusive events. I am so glad you mentioned what most of the International book readers feel. I will definitely join this Readthon, I think it is amazing!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much! ❀ Yeah, I completely understand what you feel. Internationals are usually left out because we just can’t keep up with the trend unless we have a few million bucks to spare. I’m so glad you decided to join us! Maybe this time we can set the trend? 😊 We tend to announce things more on our Twitter, so give us a follow there for the latest updates.


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    1. Thank you, Camillea! *hugs back* ❀ I’m sure there are so many of us that can relate to the points I’ve raised in this and it’s sad that this is still the situation. I’m trying to be more aware of my actions, the kind of people I follow and the books I promote so that I support diversity in every aspect. 😊


  13. Oh well, at least we all have each other, I mean other internationals πŸ™‚ especially after the NetGalley nightmare I have started feeling like I’m happy that I like obscure books and am happy to support smaller authors and publishers because they’re much more willing to consider you, well, a person. Also, a book doesn’t have to be hyped to be great. But that’s not for everyone of course – a lot of people actually do like the ‘big’ genres. It’s much harder with those.

    And I absolutely can’t wait for the readathon πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You’re such an inspiration to us international bloggers! I’m very lucky to have found a group of people who are in the same boat as me thanks to your efforts to unite the community. ❀❀❀ Yes, we must stay positive and support authors who need to be heard even though they may never hit a best-seller list. I’m so glad you decided to join the readathon! I hope you enjoy it. 😊


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