Friday, September 6, 2013

Amritorupa Kanjilal - an interview with a book reviwer

It's been a long time since I interviewed some one. Hence I started surfing the blogs for  bloggers and blogger writers. And it was by sheer coincidence I chanced upon Amritorupa Kanjilal's blog ' Rivers I have Known'  and I was quite awed by the selection of her books. It encompassed various genres. Her reviews are great. I have decided to  read five particular books after reading her reviews.  For a change I am interviewing a book reviewer for the first time. This is my fifth interview. My other three interviewees were published authors. I love book reviewers for I started my blog to be a wonderful book reviewer who could lure others to read what I liked. That's why Amrita topped the list.

About Amrita ( Short form for Amritorupa Kanjilal )

Amritorupa Kanjilal was a corporate shark before she decided she would be much happier being a goldfish, blowing bubbles in her little bowl. She lives in Kolkata, India, and reads too much for her own good. When she isn't reviewing the hell out of books, she works on ideas for her novel, and makes tiny sculptures from construction putty......

( Taken from her blog )

To read her wonderful reviews

Could you tell a few words about yourself?
I’m a supremely laid back person who loves to read.

When did you realise that you want to be a gold fish and not a shark?
2011, when I had the epiphany that I’ll never be able to care too much about material success, and will be miserable if I spend my life seeking it. I quit my job the next day. I took up another job 6 months later, but took the conscious decision never to try to become a shark again.

Your book reviews are wonderful. What are the criterions select a book for reading and also for book reviewing.

Thank you! I read a lot of reviews and generally try to read anything that sounds interesting. I also go by the recommendations of those friends whose tastes in reading are somewhat similar to mine. I also try to read other books by authors whose other works I’ve enjoyed. Sometime, very rarely though, I pick up a book that has an interesting name or cover. 
I want to review all the books I read, but since I read much faster than I blog, I end up reviewing just those I really liked or really hated.

Are you a full time book reviewer or a blogger?
Nope, I have a day job. I wish were, though. Maybe someday.

How many days usually you take - a) to read a book ?
Depends on the size of the book. I manage to read approximately 40 pages on weekdays and 200 pages on weekends. I spent 2 weeks reading Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell, which is the longest I’ve spent on a book in recent years.

b)to review a book?
2-3 hours. It would be less, but I have to think up puns and witticisms become somehow those have become expected of me.

Are you in the habit of keeping notes while reviewing a book?
Haha, I wish. I have tried doing that several times, but it never works because I generally forget everything else while reading. Also because I read in public vehicles a lot. Also because once I tried and my dog stole my pen when I wasn’t looking and chewed it till it became transparent.

Your favourite genres and authors and why do you like them?
Humour, horror, fantasy, and graphic novels (not sure if that is a genre). Not sure why I love humour and horror so much. Possibly because they appeal to my fundamental instincts – I love the absurd and the grotesque. Fantasy I love because I always wish I were living a cooler, more awesome life, and fantasy literature helps me achieve that illusion temporarily.
Too many favorite authors to name, here are some though- Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Hilary Mantel, Joseph Heller,  John Kennedy Toole.Toni Morrison, Stephen King, Sue Townsend, Neil Gaiman, Milan Kundera, John Steinbeck, Helen Fielding, Ogden Nash, Wendy Cope, Bill Watterson, Arthur Conan Doyle, Douglas Adams, Ian McEwan, JRR Tolkien, J K Rowling (Going to stop now before every single author I love guilts me into mentioning them)

Which genre you prefer to read?
Fiction primarily. In fiction I love reading all sorts of books

Apart from reading and writing, what are your other interests?
Playing with my dog. Cooking weird things with my husband. Eating out. Being lazy.

What are your tips for writing?
None. Can’t think of a single one.
Oh, here’s one. Every once in a while pretend you are the reader. That saves your writing from becoming self indulgent.

Do you buy books you need to read or just collect books to read in future?
Unfortunately I am a raging bookshopaholic, so I always buy faster than I can read. Any given time I have at least 10 books on my shelf waiting to be read. I promise myself I wont buy any more books till I finish every single one I already own, but then I have a bad week and accidentally buy 8 more.

Do you encourage ebooks as a reader and writer?
I read ebooks often, but I cannot bring myself to love them. If I really like a book I read in e-format, I usually buy the paper version soon enough. I encourage other people to read ebooks because it is good for the environment and also because I hope popularity of ebooks will help make paper books cheaper for people like me. But I also worry that paper books will go the way of vinyl records and cassettes and just become extinct. What will become of book collectors like me then?

Your 10 favourite books and 10 favourite movies?
Catch 22
Love in the time of cholera
Wolf Hall, Bring up the bodies
A confederacy of dunces
Good Omens
Midnight’s children
Bridget Jones’s Diary
Calvin & Hobbes
The Master and Margharita
One Hundred Years of Solitude

Not a huge movie buff. I like dark stuff like those by Tarantino or Kubrick.

How did you start blogging?
Don’t remember. It was something a lot of my friends were doing back in 2008, probably one of them inspired me.

You have talked in your profile about working out ideas for novel when you are not reviewing. Is there a novel in the pipe line.
Haha, nope. Lots of ideas in the pipeline though.

 How many books you have in your library
578. ten of these I have not read yet.