The end is almost upon us. December is about to be dissolved and January is to take charge of the life ahead. Bookhad interviewed its readers and the entire series was a peek in to the minds of the average Bookhad; their idiosyncrasies, their likes and dislikes, their flavour and their relationship with the written word. To bring about the end of the Interview series, aptly titled as “Bookhad Spotlight”, we bring to you the people who run the show. Today we have the hardworking Sameen Borker answer questions posed by the very Bookhads who she interviewed in the past month.

Over to you, ma’am!


Admin Bio: Sameen is a lot of things people don’t look at. She is vulnerable, weak, fearful, insecure, and even doubtful. But she thinks above all, she is a hopeful person. And she lays a lot of emphasis on hope. She hopes that her friends will always be there, that her family will be what Tolstoy described as a happy one, that she will be understood, that she will write at least one book, and that when her life ends she will not regret the things she didn’t do. She says that she is defined by her ability to call a spade a spade, to be that girl who carries around a book, to be thin, and a decent writer. Above all, she wishes to mine the courage that lies in the depth of her soul and be a good storyteller and a better person. Each day. Each day.

Who was the first author that inspired you to take up writing? And why?
To be honest, I don’t think it was an author. I think it was my English teacher Mr. Trevor D’souza. When he taught us English Grammar and Literature I used to feel transported to a world where anything was possible, a world where stories were beautiful no matter how the characters were, and where grammar mattered. I remember, he once asked us to write an essay on the topic ‘Drinking a Glass of Water’. I looked at him perplexed and said what was there to write about? He answered that only when a person can write about such basic details of life with a good command that he could be a writer. I will never forget this, and I hope to write my essay on ‘Drinking a Glass of Water’ someday.

Assume that places have spirits. In such a case, which book has best acquainted you with the spirit of a place and how? Would you say that the experience left you overwhelmed and changed your perspective about places? If so, how?
As a matter of fact, I do believe that places have spirits. So, I will answer this on the basis of the fact. This might sound repetitive to the group, but I believe City of Djinns by William Dalrymple acquainted me to Delhi like nothing so far. Yes, The Bastard of Istanbul by ElifShafak comes close, but I am yet to visit Istanbul, and so my answer is City of Djinns. How this book acquainted me with Delhi? Well, it described everything that I felt while in the city. It’s a city of stories, history, bloodshed, and grandeur. And each of these are felt when you visit it. I once read that living in Delhi is not easy, and I concur. With that kind of an exalted spirit, you have to be made of fire and yet be graceful to embody it.

My experience hasn’t changed my perspective of places because I believe places are seething with life, and wherever you go, you have to adapt to them rather than them adapting to you, therefore revealing a side of you. It can be painful, but who said perspective comes easy?

If you were asked to play a villainous character from a book, who would it be?
Scarlett O’Hara in Gone With the Wind; although I would do a terrible job of it.

What are you currently reading?
I am between books. I finished reading The Fault in Our Stars by John Green and I am about to start Purple Hibiscus by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Who or what according to you is:

The best book you read this year: 
Difficult to say just one but I would say Honour by Elif Shafak.
The worst book you read this year:
Easily, The Oath of the Vayuputras by Amish
A book that surprised you:
Dubliners by James Joyce; it redefined my perception on writing stories. I loved it. It pleasantly surprised me.
An author you would recommend:
Elif Shafak
A book you want to be in:
The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy
Most annoying Bookhad member. (Describe if you don’t name):
Contrary to popular perception, I don’t really think anyone is annoying. Not even Aamil. Yes, be surprised. I think it’s serendipity how we complement each other.

What do you see for Bookhad in the next year?
I just wish to keep the momentum. Review at least as many books as we did this year. Do a great year-end activity on the blog like we did for the interviews. And yes, many, many more Bookhad meets.

Also, if my imagination is allowed to take flight, I would want it to become a brand such that we can interview more authors, have more public visibility, and be a credible source to reckon with.

What’s your book-wish list for 2014?
As of now, it is…
My Name is Red – OrhanPamuk
Looking For Alaska – John Green
40 Rules of Love, The Flea Palace – Elif Shafak
Around the World in Eighty Days – Jules Verne

I will discover as I go along I guess…

Considering a lot of today’s youth prefer to see a story unravel on screen rather than on paper. Would you try to convince them otherwise? If so, then what advice would you have for them?
There are two facets to this. I am a huge fan of watching a story on the silver screen, the condition being that it is well done. So, I am all for book adaptations and storytelling on the silver screen. But then again, given how filmdom is doing these days, I’d rather be curled with a book.

I would not try to convince anyone to read over watching a movie. Everyone needs to find their passionate hobby.

There is only one child in the world on which humanity depends; you have to get it hooked to reading, what book would you recommend?
Probably one of Roald Dahl’s books. Maybe Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

How do you wish it (Bookhad) all ends, if it eventually ends?
I wish it ends with everyone who was a part of it feeling loved and valued, and also nourished by books.

Give one word/phrase for:

  • Chicklit: Katie Fforde
  • Don Corleone: Badass
  • Fantasy/Sci-fi: The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy
  • Bookmarks: Keepsakes
  • James Joyce: Revolution
  • Mythological/Historical Fiction: Necessary
  • Book-awards: Encouraging
  • Bookhad: Family

A quote to part with…
“You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view… Until you climb inside of his skin and walk around in it.”
― Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird

Bookhad is glad to be in the safe hands of a hard working lady like her. Sameen Borker can be easily accessed at her blog, amarllyis, and can be found @amarllyis on Twitter.


Previous Interviews: