Today is a very special day here on Melting Pages, for day 5 of #blogtober I’m interviewing a fellow book blogger! This is my first ever interview that I’ve done, and I’m so honored that Sohinee from Sohinee Reads & Reviews has agreed to be interviewed for my blog! I love reading her blog posts and I love supporting other book bloggers, and what’s really cool is Sohinee is one of India’s top book bloggers! Make sure you read through the whole interview and follow Sohinee, all her social media links will be at the end of the interview!
Tell us a bit about yourself and your blog!
Hi Everyone! I am Sohinee, the book dragon behind ‘Sohinee Reads & Reviews’! I love to talk about books endlessly. Apart from books, I also love tea and flowers. I love to experiment with food. I also love listening to music, painting and annoying the hell out of people with my book recommendations! Currently, I am pursuing my Master’s in English Literature and will be completing my degree this December, hopefully. Send in all the luck!
‘Sohinee Reads & Reviews’ came into existence in 2017 but back then it wasn’t a book blog neither was it called Sohinee Reads & Reviews. I started this blog with the sole purpose of sharing my poetry and connecting with other writers. It was just a personal space where I felt most comfortable and I still do but blogging is a lot different for me now. I began blogging at a very difficult phase in my life and maybe I was trying to find a place of my own, where I would be welcomed and appreciated; blogging seemed to be the best option for me. Now, it’s been over a year since I transformed ‘Poesy In Chrysalis’ to ‘Sohinee Reads & Reviews’. These days I mostly post book reviews, recommendations, book tags, bookish discussions and chats as well as a few poems here and there.
How long have you been blogging about books, and what made you start?
I think I answered this question partly in your previous question. I began blogging in 2017 but I started book blogging from June 2018. So, I am going to be honest here. I started blogging because I needed to earn a few extra bucks to pay my college fees and blogging seemed to be a good choice at that time. The good part is, there were a lot of people who helped me out and I did make some money which paid my college fees and now I would be graduating! As much as it was about earning money, I wanted to feel like I belonged somewhere and blogging helped me to find that place. Its such an amazing feeling to be connected with people over a shared interest. ❤
*Interviewer note: It’s so amazing that you were able to pay for college with blogging!
What book are you currently reading, and what are your thoughts so far?
I finished off a book called ‘Princess Mandira—Destiny’s Child’ which is like a historical romance based on Indian historical figures and places. It was neither a bad book nor an extremely good one. I did feel that the characters could have been better portrayed, especially, Mandira, who is the central character. Her character felt a bit weak and bland to me. The writing style was surprisingly good. I did post a full review of this book on my blog; you can check it out here!
What do you do when you aren’t working on your blog?
When I am not working on my blog, you would most probably find me studying or reading books. This might sound absurd, but I actually love to study! I also love to prepare handwritten notes to prepare for my exams. Other times, you may find me trying to sing like Ariana Grande and failing miserably xD
What books do you consider to be must reads?
Classics for sure. I know a lot of people don’t like reading classics because they find them to be extremely outdated or can’t find the texts relatable. But the thing is, when you read a classic, you could actually see how far we have come and there are still way too many resemblances between the pre-independence and post-independence world which makes me think, did we even make any progress? ‘Pride and Prejudice’, ‘Wuthering Heights’, ‘Middlemarch’, ‘Great Expectations’—all these books have so much history in them and the way the societies, the class systems, etc. have been portrayed is something we can still find in our society today. If I talk about books of the contemporary era, I will recommend ‘Sing, Unburied, Sing’, ‘All The Light We Cannot See’, ‘The Boy in The Stripped Pyjamas’, ‘Looking for Alaska’, ‘All The Bright Places’, ‘Crown of Coral and Pearl’, ‘The Sound of The Hours’, ‘Em and The Big Hoom’, etc.
What’s one piece of advice you wish you’d had when you started blogging that may help new bloggers?
What has been your best memory since starting your blog?
My best memory is probably seeing my stats go up high. I never ever thought that people would actually stumble upon my blog and choose to browse through it and then subscribe as well! Getting my first subscriber made me feel validated as a blogger. Also, when people tell me that they actually loved the book I recommended. That is such an amazing feeling!
How do you manage the time to run your blog, and how often do you post?
There was a time when I used to post every single day but now with my University, studies and part time jobs, I am not that consistent with my blogging anymore. I do manage to 4-6 posts a month depending upon my mood. When I have exams, I take a break, so no posts in those months. I write my posts on weekends and then schedule them. I have finally learnt the art of scheduling posts!
Interviewer note: scheduling is such a fantastic tool to use when you don’t always have the time to write!
What is your favorite blog post that you’ve written, and why?
My favourite blog post has to be the ‘Eight Reading Habits To Become A Book Ninja!’ which is also the top post on my blog. It’s my favourite because it was the first time that I was completely informal and also the first time that I posted something other than book reviews.
Interviewer note: I’ve read this post and it’s honestly fantastic and has a ton of great tips!
What is one of the biggest struggles that you’ve run into being an international book blogger? So much of the mainstream industry is based out of the US or UK, how do you work around that, and what advice can you give other international book bloggers?
I had to say a lot about it that I made a complete post on this topic. The biggest struggle for me personally is not being able to get my hands on new releases. The books are released in the US or the UK and then it comes over to India. By the time it is available in my country, it is no longer a newly released book. Also, I face troubles with the Indian-International publishers who are not really appreciative of the book bloggers’ community rather they focus more on bookstagrammers which I do consider to be quite unfair.
Netgallery and Edelweiss are very helpful if you have your eyes set on a brand-new book. Some publishers would agree to send you ARCs and review copies, ask around, email them or contact them on their social media accounts. Blog Tours are also a great way to have access to latest releases. At the end of the day, I feel that the struggle is what makes book blogging even more worth it for us, international bloggers.
Since we are getting to that ~spooky~ time of year, do you have any ghost stories/costume plans/Halloween traditions to share?
Ans. Well, in India, we don’t really celebrate Halloween (some people do but for me personally, my family doesn’t really have any such traditions to follow) but we Bengalis do have a huge festival coming up called Durga Puja (Navratri) but it has no relation to spookiness. This time of the year, Bongs get glammed, eat lots of special foods and do the pandal hopping which is so fun!
Interviewer note: This is so cool! I love learning about other holidays that I haven’t heard of before, and it sounds like a ton of fun!
- Paperbacks or hardcovers?
- Hardcovers for collection, Paperbacks for reading purposes!
- Preordering or rereading?
- Read every word or sometimes skim?
- I am guilty of skimming sometimes *hides under the bed*
- Multiple books at a time or one at a time?
- Multiple books at a time.
- Absolute silence or background music?
- Absolute silence. No disturbance is welcomed!
- US or UK covers?
- Whichever is available in India. Mostly, it is the UK editions.
Lastly, is there anything exciting coming up on your blog that people should look out for?
Actually yes! But it’s a secret for now. I don’t want to spoil the fun, you know!
Make sure you follow Sohinee on all her social media accounts! It was so much fun interviewing her for my very first blogger interview, and keep an eye out for a few more throughout October!