In Spotlight, we interview people who’ve popularized books on different social media platforms. With irresistible pictures, intelligent conversations and book recommendations, these bibliophile social media masters are the best kind of influencers. Today we’re in conversation with Vivek Tejuja, whose Twitter handle Vivekisms has nearly 30,000 followers. He also runs a blog and let’s just say he talks a lot about books.
It is evident from your social media accounts and blog that you love books. How did you reading journey begin?
It all began when I was all of five. My mother ensured that me and my siblings read. I remember being gifted a book by her and since then I have never looked back. I think somewhere down the line it is only parents or teachers or the very friendly school librarian who can make a difference and that’s where it all begins really.
How do you choose the next book for reading and reviewing?
Research! Lots of it. Going through publishers’ catalogues, right from the big ones to the Indie press ones, and then again some more research. You have to be very sure that you only read good books and I make sure of that because I know what I will love reading.
You’re among Amazon’s top reviewers and have a huge following on GoodReads as well. What does it take to consistently review books on all platforms? Do you not get fatigued?
A lot of dedication I suppose. I want people to take a step and change their reading habits. To explore new authors, new genres and new forms of writing. I think that all it takes to consistently review is to want to have a discussion around books and reading. If that happens, then there is no fatigue at all. You just love doing what you do.
You also have a regular day job. How do you balance these two?
Luckily, my day job is also all about reading books and talking about them. So I am sorted that way.
On an average, how many books do you read in a year? Do you read multiple books at the same time?
200 to 250 per year. Oh of course! At least 4 to 5 books at the same time.
Do you have a list of absolute must-reads? Could you give us your top 3 all-time favourites?
Sure! Every reader has a list of absolute must-reads. These are mine:
Sputnik Sweetheart by Haruki Murakami
Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte
In Custody by Anita Desai
Do you have a personal reading list and a different work-related list of books you’d like to read? Also, how’d you balance between books published in the past and those that are new releases?
They somehow merge. I only read what I want to. No one can push me to read a book that I don’t want to. It is as simple as that. I read at least 60% of new releases every year and the other 40% are books published in the past. This somehow makes it easier to balance.
Based on your views or comments, what is your opinion on the burning question ‘What do Indians like to read?’ Do you see more readers respond to a particular kind of title you’ve recommended or put up?
I think it is all about recommending books to people as per what they are tuned to. Sure. They respond really well to translated fiction. It generates so much interest. And a lot of LGBTQIA literature as well.
In the context of Indian publishing, what kind of books would you like to see more of?
Definitely more of translations! More of literary fiction and more literary biographies. I am done with the likes of star biographies and memoirs. Because, let’s face it: They just cannot write.
Lastly, tell us about the books you’re anticipating the most this year!
So many of them: The new Murakami, new translations from Harper, A Suitable Girl (hoping it releases), the new Leslie Jamison book on. Intoxication and plenty more.