A Latte with Literati – Krutika Puranik

Krutika Puranik is a 28-year-old banker from Bengaluru who plunges into the world of finance during the day but otherwise seeks solace in words. There are only two things that she wholeheartedly loves; books that teleport her away from reality and her pet, Layla, who lights up her world. Apart from being a reader, she also enjoys writing about women in her family. As a through and through feminist, she takes pleasure in supporting and, in turn seeking courage from other women. If there is one thing that she is sure of, it is this fact that the book that she will write in the future will undoubtedly be female-oriented. She does not shy away from voicing her opinions and often seeks pleasure from the simplest of things like a cup of strong filter coffee or a good book. Without much ado let’s dive into the world of Krutika’s reading.

Favorite Genres: Memoirs, Historic Fiction, Thrillers

Would Love to Meet: Khaled Hosseini

A Book That Everyone Should Read: To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

A Good Laugh: Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead by Olga Tokarczuk

Recent Reviews: The Last Story of Mina Lee , The Elephant Chaser’s Daughter

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

Krutika: When I think back to the day I was introduced to reading, there’s only one book that flashes into my mind. When I was a child, my father brought home a copy of Tinkle. What happened next was only inevitable. I moved on from comics to The Famous Five series and then to Nancy Drew collections. Now that I think about it, I never had a favorite book as a child. I enjoyed reading a vast collection of comic books, never choosing to have any favorites.

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?

Krutika: Back in 2018, I wasn’t even aware of the role of a ‘book reviewer’. What started off as a couple of posts of awkwardly clicked book pictures with single line captions has now become a full-fledged reviewing page. Although the transition part was smooth, it takes a considerable amount of time to be noticed in this community. Since I wasn’t familiar with the role, I didn’t really seek inspiration from anyone. But having been here for over a year now, I do come across reviewers who are unique in their own way.

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

Krutika: Surprisingly, there’s just one today and this doesn’t happen too often. It’s ‘Fly Away’ by Kristin Hannah.

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

Krutika: There are a couple of reviewers whose honesty and simplicity I appreciate. Divya Shankar and Surabhi Chatrapathy are a couple of them.

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

Krutika: 2020 was the year of memoirs for me. It was something that I hadn’t fully explored previously, but once I did, there was no looking back. Apart from memoirs, I do enjoy historical fiction and thrillers. When it comes to reviewing, I usually do not prefer self-help/poetry books.

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?

Krutika: I wasn’t really fond of eBooks, but I eventually learnt to appreciate the convenience that it offers. I do, however, lean more towards paperbacks. I mostly read on impulse where time and place doesn’t really matter.

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

Krutika: I do not have any set rules when it comes to reviewing but there’s one aspect that I religiously follow. The writing style of an author is usually what lures in the readers so I take that into consideration while rating it. Next comes character development which plays a significant role in how the story blossoms. Now, with memoirs, there are certain points that make it a hit. Honesty and rawness take full points. Rules always vary according to the genre that I choose to review.

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

Krutika: Khaled Hosseini. To let him know that his books hold the ability to break hearts only to mend them later. And to tell him that he has the rarest gift of bringing people together across oceans and mountains.

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

Krutika: I recently discovered Jahnavi Barua, and having read two of her books so far, I am simply in awe of her writing style. It’s comforting but not in the least bit boring.

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

Krutika: It always baffles me how unprofessional few authors are. They just drop in a message with the title of the book without providing any further details. There are two things that are of utmost importance for them to keep in mind while reaching out to us. First, to mention what the book is about, preferably with a link to Amazon. Secondly, to stop expecting reviews to be done for free.

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

Krutika: I usually begin my reviews with a quote from the book and move on to what the book is about. If any reader is unsure about reading a certain book, I believe my reviews make it easier for them to decide. I always make it a point to mention what I like about a particular book that I read and to which set of readers will it most appeal to, making it easier for them to choose.

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

Krutika: I think this goes for every review that our community puts in an effort to post. We review books so that not only the readers can understand what a particular book has to offer but for writers to learn what the readers expect from a book. There are millions of writers out there who publish fresh books every other year, but only thousands make a name in the literary world. My review tells them how they can write better to garner our attention and to win our hearts.

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

Krutika: It was mostly smooth. The only challenge I faced till date was from an author who could not differentiate constructive criticism from that of an insult. Reviewers are bound to be honest so we make it a point to highlight any issues with the book or any areas of improvement that can help them in the future. Occasionally, we stumble across disgruntled authors who refuse to take it in their stride. 

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

Krutika: Every time a reader drops a message about how they read and loved a book based on my recommendation is something that fills me with joy. There is no such single event but an accumulation of tiny appreciations like these that makes it truly unforgettable.

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

Krutika: There are so many, but for years I have always gone back to ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ by Harper Lee. It addresses several issues such as racism and prejudice. Atticus’s role is one that I will always cherish for the goodness he carries within himself and passes it down to his children.

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

Krutika: My job has never proved to be a hindrance when it comes to reading. On the contrary, it gives me enough time to not only read more books but also to spend hours crafting reviews. My job has never been hectic, a rare occurrence during these times where everyone is overworked and perpetually exhausted.

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

Krutika: Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead by Olga Tokarczuk. Who would have thought murder mysteries can be so much fun? 🙂

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

Krutika: I do write, but they are mostly short articles on my Instagram page.

A happy Krutika in a room full of books 🙂

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

Krutika: I do believe that there are plenty of collaborations that reviewers take part in but I wouldn’t know much about it considering how I do not indulge in it. There are so many reviewers that I admire. I’ll name a few: Divya Shankar, Ashiwini Gadiyar, Surabhi Chatrapathy and Padmaja.

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.

Krutika: I am constantly surprised by how well new writers are experimenting with storylines and themes. Although their idea might begin as something extraordinary, a lot is lost when it comes down to executing their book. They need to focus more on character development and to write not only from the perspective of an author but, more importantly, through the eyes of a reader.

Krutika’s Social Media Handles:

Krutika’s Instagram Feed:

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