Meet Khyati Gautam – A 24-year-old bookaholic who aspires to become a content nerd. Khyati belongs to the beautiful city of lakes, Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh. She loves reading books and creatively bringing out their essence. Khyati is a dreamer and a storyteller and desires to live the life of a vagabond, collecting stories 🙂 I met Khyati during the very early days of my writing career has reviewed two of my books. In this interview Khyati talks about her favorite books, genres, reading habits and her journey as a book reviewer. Let’s dive deep into Khyati’s world of reading.
Salini: Let’s start with your early days. What are your first memories of reading? What was your favorite book as a child?
Khyati: I started reading at an early age, around 2-3. I have always loved the sight of written words and the wordplay in books, articles, etc. So, I was into reading anything and everything I could lay my hands on. The best thing I remember is visiting relatives’ houses and attacking their shelves that attracted enough disdain from my parents. My parents didn’t encourage me to read beyond academics. So, I never got a favorite book as a child 🙂
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?
Khyati: It was in late 2016 when I met a friend, Ankit Chouhan, who was trying to create a writers club in Bhopal. After interacting with him, I got to know about book reviewing. Came January 2017, and I had my first book to review in hand. After that, there’s been no looking back. Book Reviewing came as an opportunity to both devour words and spill them on my paper. It helped me bring together my love for reading and writing.
Salini: What’s the book that’s sitting on your reading desk right now? Or is it a stack of books? 😊
Such an interesting question 🙂
There’s a stack of books, including the fresh review copies and the ones I’d read for my pleasure alone.
Salini: What are your favorite genres? Are you a fiction or non-fiction reviewer, or do you do both?
Khyati: I absolutely love literary fiction and always feel that I haven’t explored it better just yet. Apart from this, I enjoy reading spiritual fiction and self-help books. I review both fiction and nonfiction books. Each one has a different perspective to offer and nothing’s better than that.
Salini: Is there any role-model for you when it comes to booking reviews/critique?
Khyati: I continue to read and take inspiration from my fellow reviewers. After joining Bookstagram, I came across so many weaver of words. It is always a cherishing experience to read their beautiful take on a variety of books. So, there’s not a role-model as such.
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?
Khyati: I am a moody reader, to be honest. I have days when I read intensively while there are others, when I don’t read at all. I don’t rush through the process. I read both eBooks and paperbacks but tend to enjoy the latter more. eBooks are accessible and everything good but they definitely don’t suit my eyes 😀 I can read anytime I find silence and the inspiration to read from within. Morning is my favorite time though.
Salini: How do you usually rate a book? Do you have any strict set of rules, or does it vary from book to book?
Khyati: Rating a book is a difficult job. I vary books on a scale of 1-5. There’s no decimal value that I allot to a book. I don’t have too strict rules but I cannot compromise with certain things including grammatically taut writing and an engaging narrative.
Salini: If you are given a chance to meet a writer, dead or alive, who will that be? And Why?
Khyati: I think I’d like to meet Sudha Murty and Ruskin Bond. Bond is just so sweet while Murty is an inspiration.
Salini: When authors approach you for a review, what information are you expecting from them?
Khyati: I expect the authors to provide a brief synopsis of their book. If it’s released, they must be sharing it with me. They should also make it clear if they want a simple promotional post or an honest and unbiased review. If not cleared beforehand, this often creates discontent at later points of time.
Salini: Tell us how a reader could benefit from reading your book review? Do you give any specific pointers?
Khyati: I try to be as objective as possible with my review. Regardless of my preference for genres and certain writing, I try to assess a book on general parameters. These include grammar, writing, plot development, research, narration, etc. I also believe in letting the readers know if the book is meant for a specific age or mood.
Salini: What are the takeaways the writer can gain from your reviews?
Khyati: I always ensure to treat a book as someone’s dream, a dream the author lived through for years. Having said that, I try my best to be kind to the book, to review it in measured words and tone. I believe a writer can know about areas of improvement from my review. Along with that, if there’s anything I end up loving a lot in the book, I’d always congratulate the author for that 🙂
Salini: On your journey as a book reviewer, what are the challenges you faced? Was it a smooth ride?
Khyati: It’s been a smooth ride with a few setbacks and immense learning. Being a freelancer makes you don multiple hats, all at the same time. Sometimes, I might end up crossing the deadline for review submission or might just not respond to messages on time. I am learning to be quick with these things and I think I’ll get better with practise. Apart from this, there might be authors who want you to do free reviews or just give positive reviews. I am learning to deal with them as well.
Salini: What was one of the highest points of your journey as a book reviewer? Any unforgettable experiences?
Khyati: I remember a few authors asking me if I look forward to writing a book. They even said that they’d love to read one. I guess those have been the best moments. The multiple features on the web for being a fairly good book reviewer has motivated me a lot. Even now, as I am doing this interview; I know how happy and content I feel.
Salini: Which is that one book you think every human being should read? And why?
Khyati: I think the one book everyone should read is Tuesdays with Morrie. It’s a brilliant memoir that made me think and feel so much.
Salini: How do you juggle your day-job and book reviewing? (if you are a part-time reviewer)
Khyati: It does get tough on some days. It’s like you’re living on deadlines everywhere. However, I feel that the passion for creating content drives me.
Salini: Are you strictly a reviewer, or do you write too? If yes, where can we read you? (website links/published stories)
Khyati: I am an occasional writer. I pen down my musings as and when there’s an urge to express. And all of them are spread across my blog and Instagram.
Salini: As a community, do book reviewers have any groups or collaborations? Who is a fellow book reviewer (of your circle) you greatly respect?
Khyati: Yes, they do have collaborations. I’ve come across a good deal of reading projects and clubs run by reviewers. They aim to create a positive vibe as well as bring to the community some fascinating reads they discover along the way.
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.
Khyati: I believe that each writer has a distinct voice that makes them who they are. They must never compromise it just to fit in. Along with that, I earnestly request the authors to be always open to constructive feedback. We’re not perfect, we learn along our journey.
Khyati’s Social Media Handles:
Khyati’s Book Reviews:
Our Time Together is the Greatest Gift by Tamanna Aggarwal
Khyati’s Instagram Page: