A Latte with Literati – Pallavi Banerjee

Favorite Genre: Fantasy, Graphics, Animes, Mangas

Love to Meet: Leigh Bardugo, Tahereh Mafi and many more

Suggests : Maus by Art Spiegelman

Books that Make Pallavi Laugh: Calvin and Hobbes, Asterix

Instagram Handle: @thebibliophilemommy

Meet Pallavi, mom to an adorable toddler and a voracious reader. She is a bibliophile with a strong affinity to music. She loves reading with a cup of coffee in her hand, listening to music in her balcony. She has a special liking for graphic novels, manga, animes, and thrillers. She is an ambivert, and loves making friends. She is a huge BTS fan. She loves k-pop, kdramas and boy love shows. She has a huge following of Instagram, around 14k people follow her reviews! Here’s the fantastic interview with Pallavi Banerjee.

Salini: Let’s start with your early days. What are your first memories of reading? What was your favorite book as a child?

Pallavi: I have been a reader for as long as I remember. Books have been my go-to destination. I loved listening to stories by my grandma too. I was very close to her. As a child, I loved the golden books. They were a set of stories for preschoolers and the best!

Salini: How was your transition from a reader to a book reviewer? What was your inspiration to take up this unique role of a book reviewer?

Pallavi: Reading is embedded in my soul. I could never give that up. Even when I was preparing for my exams, reading was still a need. I used to hide books in-between clothes in my wardrobe and read them while preparing for exams, hiding from ma. After having a baby boy at age 30, I finally took a break from my job and was working with Momspresso as a paid blogger. I used to daily visit Instagram and YouTube, just to see the beautiful books, the latest recommendations. Finally, in 2019, that’s after three years of thinking, I decided to try it out. Thanks to the push from my sister-in-law (brother’s wife), Saloni. She helped me a lot.

Salini: What’s the book that’s sitting on your reading desk right now? Or is it a stack of books? 😊

Pallavi: I have a few review copies, This Winter and Another Note.

Pallavi with her toddler

Salini: What are your favorite genres? Are you a fiction or non-fiction reviewer, or do you do both?

Pallavi: I prefer to read only fiction. My favorite genre is any fiction books! Still, if I narrow it down, it would be Fantasy, Graphics, Animes, Mangas, Crime, Thrillers. 

Salini: What are your favorite genres? Are you a fiction or non-fiction reviewer, or do you do both?

Pallavi: I prefer to read only fiction. My favorite genre is any fiction books! Still, if I narrow it down, it would be Fantasy, Graphics, Animes, Mangas, Crime, Thrillers. 

Salini: Is there any role-model for you when it comes to book reviews/critique?

Pallavi: Yes, many of them. @jessethereader and @thereaderandthechef. They both are my all-time favs. Among friends also many are there.

Salini: Tell me a bit about your reading habits. Which one do you like, eBooks or paperbacks? Do you have any specific reading place/time?

Pallavi: I am a book hoarder. Hardcovers are my weakness. But I am ok with paperbacks, too, as they are easy to hold. Ebooks are my last choice, but nowadays, all I do is read ebooks! My favorite place would be my bed, with a cozy blanket and lots of pillows.

Salini: How do you usually rate a book? Do you have any strict set of rules, or does it vary from book to book?

Pallavi: It varies definitely depends on the writing style and how much I connect with it. I prefer not to give ratings, especially on Instagram, as I don’t want the book to get a no. If we put the rating first, sometimes we judge the book even before reading what the reviewer wrote.  I prefer to express my experience out there. On Goodreads and Amazon, I definitely leave the rating.

Salini: If you are given a chance to meet a writer, dead or alive, who will that be? And Why?

Pallavi: I would love to meet Leigh Bardugo, Tahereh Mafi, SJM, Cassandra Claire, Rainbow Rowell… and the list goes on.

Salini: Being a book reviewer, you might have come across many indie writers. Is there any new writer who astonished you with their talent?

Pallavi: I love Avisek’s book and his writings on Instagram. He was one of the first indie authors I really loved reading. 

An image from Pallavi’s Instagram Page

Salini: When authors approach you for a review, what information are you expecting from them?

The book summary and easy flow of conversation. It helps me relax around the person and not only agree to read the book, actually get to know them too.

Salini: What are the takeaways the writer can gain from your reviews?

An honest review, good reach and professional work.

Salini: Tell us how a reader could benefit from reading your book review? Do you give any specific pointers?

Pallavi: Not exactly, no such pointers. I prefer reading to be a self-discovery journey. I don’t want my reviews to only help you judge the book but actually experience it. So I give the brief and my experience as a priority other than only the basic review.

Salini: On your journey as a book reviewer, what are the challenges you faced? Was it a smooth ride?

Pallavi: It was a smooth ride I would say, as I rarely look into only to review the book. I love the journey and memories I make through that, and that’s what keeps it easy. I don’t look at it as something I have to do. It’s more like I love to do it. So, it’s been a good experience.

Salini: What was one of the highest points of your journey as a book reviewer? Any unforgettable experiences?

Pallavi: I love book tours. I have done two till now, and the experience is amazing. That’s something I look forward to, always.

Salini:  Which is that one book you think every human being should read? And why?

Pallavi: Ahhh!! There are so many books!! Still, if I narrow it down… I would say, Maus. It’s a masterpiece.

Salini: How do you juggle your day-job and book reviewing? (if you are a part-time reviewer)

Pallavi: I am a full-time mom now, so reviewing and reading comes as the best gift. There was a time when I was struggling to read as I was working and so exhausted. Now, I balance the time better.

Salini: We all like to have a good laugh. Could you please tell me about a book that really made you laugh?

Pallavi: Calvin and Hobbes, for me! Asterix too!

Salini: Are you strictly a reviewer, or do you write too? If yes, where can we read you? (website links/published articles)

Pallavi: I love writing. I have written many blog articles for momspresso, had my first story published in 2001 in Tinkle Holiday Special. You can find my profile on the Momspresso page. Through momspresso I have worked with many children’s Brands like Johnson, Pamper, and Horlicks.

Salini: As a community, do book reviewers have any groups or collaborations? Who is a fellow book reviewer (of your circle) you greatly respect?

Pallavi: We don’t. Yes, once we become friends, we definitely make groups and join some agencies to get review copies, but nothing is fixed. It’s an individual choice.  But I think now that you say we should have. It will help many new reviewers to learn and have the correct approach. There are so many reviewers I love and respect. If I can name a few would be Mridula @ecstatic_yet_chaotic, Harshita @the_indian_girl are among them. There are so many of them; it’s tough to take one or two names!!

Salini:  Please tell me about a common point of improvement you come across in the work of new writers. From a reviewer to a writer, please give me a generic tip to become a better writer.

Pallavi: Good story, newness and seamless writing. Mainly, connecting to the readers.

Thank you Pallavi for letting me into your world of reading! Your answers enlightened me and opened up a lot of new possibilities in reading! – Salini Vineeth.

Pallavi’s Reviews On Instagram

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