Vidhya Thakkar is a book blogger and a social media strategist. From author interviews to book reviews, lifestyle content to poems she has worked with more than 700 authors, brands, and publishers. She is listed among the Top Book Bloggers in India.
Vidhya Thakkar`s journey began as a geek bookworm, but it gradually evolved into something much larger. Over the years, she has become a prominent figure in the online book community, known for her insightful reviews, engaging interviews, and unwavering commitment to spreading the joy of reading.
She is the founder of Mumbai Bookstagram and Sudha Murty’s book club. Vidhya believes that Indian literature is a whole bundle of emotions and has a lot to offer to its readers. She swears that books have the power to transport us to magical worlds.
Q) What was your starting point and how did you fall in love with books and start book blogging?
Vidhya Thakkar- I have been a blogger since my college days. I used to write poems, my life experiences, and everything I felt on a Google blog. I was a shy girl in college who was drowned into pages. Then one of my friends discovered that I write and she told the whole class that I’m a blogger and that’s how my journey began. During that time around unfortunately I parted ways with my best friend and became friends with books.
In 2015 I started renting and reading books. Back then an uncle in the bookstore there used to suggest me books. I still remember the first two books that I read were – The One You Cannot Have by Preeti Shenoy and The Secret. Books became my most loyal friends I used to finish the book in a day. As I used to rent the books I started writing down the quotes and whatever I liked from the book in my diary. I still have my diary which has the names of all the 80 books that I had read during that time. ,
Then one fine day when I was travelling, I just clicked the picture of a book I was reading to upload it on Instagram. While uploading I came across a hashtag called bookstagram. After doing some research on that hashtag I understood that book blogging is something related to where you share book recommendations, book reviews, etc. Soon I began uploading book reviews and pictures of books I was reading on one of my photography Instagram accounts. I also started connecting with other bloggers.
One of my friends suggested I change my account name. And that’s how reader Vidh was born. I never planned anything like this in my life, I just did it out of fun to share what I feel. Also, I already had an active blog so I began adding reviews there as well. I started adding reviews regularly. I started connecting with more people in the community and after 7 eight months I started working with publishers and authors. Soon publishers began sending me their books for review.
Q) Your goal is to drive more attention to Indian literature. What makes Indian literature so exceptional?
Vidhya Thakkar- The thing that makes Indian literature so much exceptional is emotions. You can feel those emotions while reading a book written by an Indian author and that is something we could all relate to. I remember I read Sudha Murti’s House of Cards and she described how the protagonist came back to her parent’s place. The relationship she shared with her family and those family values can be found in Indian literature. And such things make reading a delightful experience for me. I read books that have Indian ceremonies like weddings.
The small little bonds like that of a brother and sister, grandmother and her grandchildren. You can find all these things in Indian literature and I feel such books bring us back to our roots.
Q) You are a huge fan of Sudha Murthy, you even founded Sudha Murthy’s fan club so can you name a few ideologies of her that everyone should incorporate in their life?
Vidhya Thakkar– Firstly it’s her simplicity, the way she expresses herself, and certain situations in her books. Secondly, it’s valuing relationships, not particularly of love. There are other relationships that you have to give value to, like relationships with your friends, or family members. The third and most important I learned from her and her books is to do what you love. You need to take that one step for yourself, even with that hectic lifestyle of yours, you have to do something for yourself. Lastly, she teaches that while living for others, don’t forget to live for yourself.
Q) Is it true that to be a good writer, you have to be a keen reader too?
Vidhya Thakkar- I disagree with this. Honestly, I always believe that you write for yourself and not for others. We all are trying to express stories that are within us. It doesn’t matter if you read or not if you can write well. A good story will work anyway. According to me being inspired by others is one part of it. Going back to your work after a pause will help you to analyze your work in a better way. As a blogger, once you start writing you’ll improve gradually and start noticing your progress from the first to the last draft.
Q) You are also reading The Baghvadgita, so can you share a few insights from it?
Vidhya Thakkar- I started reading it recently. I’m still at the introduction part. But there is this one paragraph that I would to quote here-
“But the Lord being the Supreme is never affected. That is the difference between the Supreme Lord and the small individual soul. What is this consciousness? This consciousness is what I am then. What am I in contaminated consciousness? I am the means I am the Lord of all. I survey.
I am the enjoyer, the world revolves because every living being thinks that he is the God and the Creator of the material world. One is that I am the Creator and the other is that I am the enjoyer. But actually, the Supreme Lord is both the Creator and the enjoyer and the living entity being part and parcel of the Supreme Lord is neither the Creator nor the enjoyed, but a co-operator.”
This paragraph states that human beings feel that they are the Creator, enjoyer, and the Supreme God. But in reality, there is only one Supreme Lord and the individual is not a Creator nor an enjoyer, but just a co-operator who enjoys whatever the Creator creates.
Q) How do you tackle creative blocks?
Vidhya Thakkar- When it comes to creative block, I just pause for a while and preferably take a break. Particularly not from Instagram or my blog or website. You cannot afford to stay away from them. Usually, I just go for a walk or talk to my friends, and take their feedback on how I can improve. At times I just randomly post which helps me get back to my creativity. When it comes to reading, I reread my favorite book or pick up a light read like poetry that will help me get back to reading.
At times the burnout is so much that you just don’t want to go back to anything, at such times breaks are necessary. It also helps you return to work with new energy and enthusiasm. So whenever you feel that exhaustion, avoid working in that state, it will hamper your creativity.
Q) We see that sometimes a movie adaptation of a book fails to impress the audience, why do you think this happens?
Vidhya Thakkar– I am not a movie person honestly and I also haven’t seen any movies adapted from books. But for me, be it a book or a movie, both are pieces of art. Both of these mediums have their ways of entertaining the audience. So instead of comparing or judging them, treat them separately and just enjoy them.
Q) How to be an active reader? Meaning, that we often get influenced by whatever we read or see, in such situations how to stay strong in our belief system?
Vidhya Thakkar- Honestly, such things are in our hands, we should know where to draw a line.
For example, when you read spiritual books you can’t follow everything it suggests. Recently I and my friends started reading Shivpuran, it had many rules and regulations like you have to read this chapter in three days but I knew I wouldn’t be able to follow them all.. I am here for the knowledge. I’m absorbing whatever I’m getting from it.
How much do you want to take from that book and how much do you want to just let go of all lies in your hands?
Q) What advice would you like to give someone trying to make a career as a blogger?
Vidhya Thakkar– To start your career in blogging, one of the most important things to have is patience. It took me almost nine years as a blogger and seven years as a bookstagrammmer to reach where I am today. These days it’s easy with ads and everything, but back then it was difficult. Secondly, write for yourself and not for others.
My blog is my online diary. I share what I feel, I express what I feel is right. If you don’t enjoy this journey then none of this matters. So if you want to be a blogger, write for yourself, express yourself, and be honest, your online personality should not be different from what you are in real life.
Thirdly, take feedback. Generate ideas to improve and majorly experiment with your content or else you won’t know what is working for you and what is not. Most importantly, find your niche. For example, if you want to start book blogging then 80 percent content on your blog should be about books, but 20 percent you can add something different as well because the monotony of the content can bore the audience, they need something different. Post content retable to your niche. Plan your blog, plan your journey, plan your things, and then start.
If you are keen on making blogging your full-time career then you need a solid plan. The first step would be to build a website. You can’t be an Instagram or YouTube creator only. You need to have a website or a blog because that will be your property. you will be maintaining it, and, building it. Lastly, be determined and consistent in your work.
Q) Lastly, can you leave us with your #positiveeveryday quote?
Vidhya Thakkar– Grow through what you go through and the trouble is you think you have a lot of time. There will be a few setbacks in your life but don’t let them take over you. Do whatever you feel like doing, strive to be open-minded, express yourself, and write whatever you wish to. Certain things will take time to grow, be patient in those times, they’ll grow eventually. So take your time, just go for it, and have fun on your journey.
Over the years Vidhya Thakkar has garnered a devoted following of book enthusiasts, creating a virtual haven for all book lovers. Considering books as one of her most loyal friends Vidhya encourages everyone to inculcate the habit of reading and writing. These habits will help you channel your thoughts and lead you to explore yourself and your feelings. Her advice for all bloggers is to be patient and consistent with their work.