Meet Chandra Sundeep, a bibliomane and writer. Her website, Wordsopedia, features several fantastic book reviews. Chandra also writes fiction and has contributed to multiple short story anthologies. Moolah!, Dipped In Love, and Tea With A Drop of Honey to name a few. Chandra is an avid reader from the age of 10. She believes that reading makes a great writer.
I had the honor of receiving two reviews from Chandra. I found them honest, logical and thorough. The photos that accompany her book reviews are amazing. She hopes to write a lot and publish her novel sometime in the future. Without much ado, let’s dive into Chandra’s world of books.
Salini: Let’s start with your early days. What are your first memories of reading? What was your favorite book as a child?
Chandra: I always preferred the company of books over people. My affair with books started around the age of 10. I would cycle down to the library and stuff my bag with Nancy Drew, Famous Five and whole lot of Enid Blyton books.
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?
Chandra: I have always been a reader, but reviewing happened just about a couple of months ago when I started my website. A reviewer plays an important role in the author’s journey.
Salini: What’s the book that’s sitting on your reading desk right now? Or is it a stack of books? 😊
Chandra: It’s always an ever-growing pile. I hardly read one book at a time. Right now, I am reading – Mornings in Jenin by Susan Abulhawa which revolves around Israel-Palestine conflict and Memorial Drive by Natasha Trethewey is a memoir which I am reading parallelly.
Salini: What are your favorite genres? Are you a fiction or non-fiction reviewer, or do you do both?
Chandra: I don’t have a favourite genre as such. I like reading and reviewing both fiction and non-fiction. Romance and erotica are genres I am not particularly fond of.
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?
Chandra: Of course, paperbacks are my first love. Being an expatriate, lugging large number of books around becomes a challenge so I have reluctantly moved on to eBooks. Though they are convenient and more readily available, they can never replicate the magic of holding and reading physical books.
Salini: How do you usually rate a book? Do you have any strict set of rules, or does it vary from book to book?
Chandra: My rating depends on how well as a reader I could connect with the book.
Salini: If you are given a chance to meet a writer, dead or alive, who will that be? And Why?
Chandra: Oh! Such a difficult question. There are so many I would love to meet and spend time with.
Salini: When authors approach you for a review, what information are you expecting from them?
Chandra: Genre, a brief synopsis, explicit content if any. Their bio and links to social media.
Salini: Tell us how a reader could benefit from reading your book review? Do you give any specific pointers?
Chandra: My reviews cover what went well with the book, what aspects make it appealing to the readers of that particular genre. I also make it a point to highlight the areas which need improvement or could have been handled in a different / better manner. I never give away the story line. My intent is to give the readers a fair idea of what the book is about and what they can expect from it.
Salini: What are the takeaways the writer can gain from your reviews?
Chandra: One thing I can proudly say is I always strive to share honest reviews, so if there any areas of improvement I highlight them in my reviews. Along with, mentioning their positive aspects. At times, there are novels which need a whole lot of work in terms of the writing, narration or editing. In such cases, I don’t share a public review but send them separately to the author.
Salini: On your journey as a book reviewer, what are the challenges you faced? Was it a smooth ride?
Chandra: My journey has just begun, and it has been fun and challenging so far.
Salini: What was one of the highest points of your journey as a book reviewer? Any unforgettable experiences?
Chandra: One of my reviews was used by the publishers in promoting the book. That was a happy moment for me.
Salini: Which is that one book you think every human being should read? And why?
Salini: We all like to have a good laugh. Could you please tell me about a book that really made you laugh?
Chandra: The Car Share by Zoe Brisby is an outright hilarious novel.
Salini: Are you strictly a reviewer, or do you write too? If yes, where can we read you? (website links/published articles)
Chandra: I am a writer and poet. My works are regularly published in various online forums. I have contributed to many anthologies. They are all available on my website – https://wordsopedia.com/
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.
Chandra: The only way to write better is to read, read, and read.
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