‘Full ownership of a book only comes when you have made it a part of yourself, and the best way to make yourself a part of it—which comes to the same thing—is by writing in it.’ “How to Read a Book,” written with Charles Van Doren
On a visit to a book loving client’s house, one usually encounters books placed neatly in bookshelves or dangerously piled up high in basements and on occasion left unpacked in boxes after a move. This is the type of client that asks to have a home designed around their books. And since the need to possess a physical copy of a book is relatable, we often find ourselves giving into creating a book-centric space. On a recent look out for references for a book- centric space, we discovered Haly Reads, an Instagram account run by Haly, a 22 year old student of English Literature in Mumbai. One is introduced to her world through descriptive, personal captions under pictures of annotated book pages, her home and Mumbai making for a uniquely individual page. Her account is also a beautifully curated reminder of the escape literature can offer and why parting with a book can be so difficult. I speak with Haly and share a few images from her feed.
Why have you chosen to study literature?
A quote by Austen comes to mind– “If I loved you less, I might be able to talk about it more.” I have always been enamoured by writing, poetry, and books. Language and literature intrigued me since I was a child. My interests had always inclined toward the subjective and the literary.
What is it about books that appeal to you?
The ability to interpret it and become aware of another story amidst myriad ones. Just like every reader, I love reading. It allows me an escape from reality. I believe that every book I love has transformed me.
Which are your favourite places in Mumbai to buy books from?
I am perfectly comfortable with secondhand books and don’t buy that many new books . Most books I own have been bought from the street bookstalls near Flora Fountain in CST, Mumbai. Buying books from here is in itself is an experience!
Do you have a favourite place to read in?
While a good book can makes any place a favourite reading spot, I prefer reading while commuting on the train or bus. Or sitting by the window sill at home.
Do you have a room in your home that you store your books in?
My home is not spacious, but books are my refuge , so I have allowed myself the small luxury of having a collection of them on a shelf in one room. This is my refuge.