Let’s talk about permission, giving proper photo credit, and, in general, not using Instagram accounts as free stock photos.Read More
I cannot wrap my brain around how many amazing books are coming out in September, October, and November. Read about the most exciting 11 here!Read More
Three hundred and sixty-five days ago, I was sitting at work mulling over a few possible names for the bookish Instagram I wanted to start. At the time, I was working nearly full-time at an indie press, but also was somehow making less than $3 an hour. (But that’s a blog post for a different time. 😉) In order to live, I was also perfecting my latte art, cultivating a dairy intolerance, and dabbling in social media consultation as a barista at a cute coffee shop. Every day, I would stand on chairs, set up props, and take photos of a morning mocha with a newspaper or a croissant or sometimes whatever book I was reading that day. Through hashtagging, engaging, and exploring at this side hustle, I stumbled upon “#bookstagram.” This was INCREDIBLE. How had I, a lifelong reader and millennial with an iPhone, somehow not discovered this beautiful niche yet?! I needed to join my people.
Some of the names I first considered are unspeakable. I cannot bring myself to utter most of them on the internet, but let’s just say one of the top contenders was “Let’s Get Word.” I think I can speak for all of us when I say I really dodged a bullet by coming up with The Spines. From there, I designed a cute logo and started standing on chairs to take pictures even more often. Now, it has been a full year and I couldn’t be happier to be a full-fledged member of the bookstagram community!
Here’s the thing about Instagram, though. It’s a monster. The kind of monster that looks like a precious baby Frenchie sometimes and a hideous, evil troll at other times. It can’t make up it’s mind. It likes your hashtags, it hates your hashtags. It shows your mom your pictures, then it decides she’s done with you. You can’t predict it! Easily the most wonderful thing I allowed myself to do this year is let go of it. Accept that you can do your best and Instagram will do the rest.
With that in mind, we can get into the best part of Instagram. This year, I have made REAL. LIFE. FRIENDS. on the Internet. Before bookstagram, I didn’t know many (any?) people who read as much as I did. I frequently attended author readings and book sales alone (which, don’t get me wrong, I absolutely loved doing) and never had anyone to dissect plot twists, awful characters, and perfect books with. Now, though? I follow people on Instagram that I may never meet in real life, but whom I consider to be great friends. How great is that?!
At some point, I also decided it was time to bridge the gap between IRL and the internet. My first endeavor in this was an adventure and I think we need to take a walk down memory lane here…
I met Yadi from @abookifullife at one of our favorite coffee shops. I was early, so I had plenty of time to both worry that I wouldn’t recognize her from her TINY avi on Instagram and chart every exit route. Thankfully, both were unnecessary. Yadi walked in with a book tote and I instantly knew we’d be friends. As we said goodbye, we made new plans to go to an author reading and I walked away feeling like the luckiest person in the world to have met someone who loved what I love. On the walk home, I called my mom and greeted her with, “I met up with an Internet friend and she didn’t murder me!!” The next week at that event, Yadi introduced me to my beloved Hailey, aka @hayhails. A month or so later, I found Stephanie from @rooreads at a Roxane Gay event I attended alone that certainly would have been horrible without her. (The place was packed and the seating was banquet-style. An accidental blind date most definitely would have been forced on me if it weren’t for Steph.) If it isn’t obvious yet, the Internet presented me with a bouquet of wonderful humans that have made my life so wonderful this year!
On the brink of my second year in this space, I can say I have been humbled by the Internet. You all already know I put soy sauce in water to make coffee, that I travel long distances to find pink walls, and that I have sustained injuries while taking bookstagram photos. (PLEASE someone teach me to stop standing on chairs with wheels.) But I’ve also stepped outside my reading comfort zone, explored half the coffee shops in Chicago, and learned a lot about the person I am happy to be. I wouldn’t want to be apart of any other community. Thanks to all of you for being around to hate on Fifty Shades of Grey, rank Harry Potter novels, and share all the books with me. I ADORE YOU!
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Do you ever look at your shelf and see twelve books you know you’ll never read again? Me too. Today, we are going to #freetheshelf!Read More
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A conversation with Samantha Irby: Chicago-born author, essayist of epic proportions, comedian, bad bitch, and expert Tweeter.Read More
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Thanks to the lovely Lauren at Little, Brown and Company, I got to have a little chat with Sarah! An 8 minute long chat, to be exact. Without further ado ...Read More
Taking you on a tour of all the best indie bookstores, bookish bars and coffee shops, and literary activities in my beloved Chicago!Read More
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Curious about publishing? Want to know more about your books? I've got you!Read More
There are so many books to be excited about in the new year! Here are my top ten:Read More
A wrapup of my very favorite books of the year!Read More
Hi there! Bringing you five holiday books you MUST read before Christmas ...Read More
Books for all the readers in your life AND a personalized gift for the rest :)Read More
Hi all, hope you had a beautiful Thanksgiving filled with turkey, pies, and, of course, family time. This year I was put in charge of the pumpkin pie, so you could say I'm moving up in the world. ;)
As I get older and spend less time in my childhood home, I love these holidays spent playing cards and enjoying some downtime with loved ones more and more. Thankfulness is in large supply today and always for the wonderful people I have in my life, including all of you who come and share your thoughts and take the time to read mine. So much love for you!
As a complement to the holiday, I wanted to share with you five books I am thankful for. Some of these I could read a million times and never get sick of them, while others have more abstract reasons for their high favor. I think this is such an interesting topic to reflect on and I invite you to do the same and share the results of your rumination in the comments.
1. The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway
I read this book many moons ago-- so long ago that it doesn't appear on this blog. Back then, I also didn't know what I wanted to contribute to the world. But, as I was reading about Hemingway's characters interacting in Spain and at the Running of the Bulls, I realized that my passion for reading was one of the only things that had never changed. It finally occurred to me to look up how books are made and who makes them; thus my journey into book publishing was born! The Sun Also Rises will always hold a special place in my heart as the dynamite that began this great explosion called career passion.
2. The Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling
I mean, you knew this was coming right? I could never make a list of books I am thankful for without including the greatest series of all time, Harry Potter. One of the first books I ever read, a series my mom read to me when I was too little to read, and I series I have gone back to with great joy ever since. J.K. Rowling did something with this series that will be very, very hard to do again and I'm so thankful she created Harry, Ron, Hermione and Hogwarts.
3. On the Road by Jack Kerouac
This is a book I truly hate. I totally get that Kerouac and the Beat writers cultivated this new wave of nonconformity and total freedom back in the 50s and 60s, but that does not stop me from thinking his famous novel is totally ridiculous and under-edited. In fact, I sloughed through the book just to be able to fairly say I hate it. BUT, I need to include it on this list because I think the importance of knowing what books you don't like is equally important as knowing what books you do like. Discovering motifs you find problematic, considering the importance of a good editor, and disagreeing with authors is all part of the reader experience and I think too often readers focus only on the books they love so much. So, I am thankful to you, Kerouac, for showing me a hearty handful of things I don't love and rounding out my critical approach to reading. (Click here for my full review!)
4. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
A little story for you about this book, which, by the way, is so beautifully written and tells the trials of World War II eloquently, accessibly, and in such a heart-wrenching way. I read this book alongside someone who hadn't read a book since middle school. He was totally uninterested in reading and likely wouldn't have picked up a book again for several years had we not decided to read The Book Thief together. He listened to it as an audiobook and by the end was totally engrossed and had even begun to read ahead of me. His love for this book made me so happy and ignited a passion in me to bring people back to books. I think that if people say they don't like reading, they just haven't found the right book. If you haven't read The Book Thief yet, do yourself a favor and pick it up!
5. The Martian by Andy Weir
Finally, The Martian by Andy Weir. I absolutely love this book, it's one of my all time favorites and it also introduced me to a whole new set of genres that I had never picked up before: sci fi and, indirectly, fantasy. A book that can broaden your horizons is a beautiful thing and I am very thankful for The Martian for bringing me into the world of A Darker Shade of Magic and a variety of other books that I now love and likely would never have picked up.
So there you have it, 5 fiction books I'm thankful for! I could probably make a much, much longer list on the subject as there are a ton of books that have made a significant impact on my life. Perhaps a Part II? But, until then, I'd love to know a few books that have impacted your life or that you're just really thankful exists! Leave me a comment below :)
We are in the middle of the best time of year and I am celebrating! Here are a few things I've been loving, reading, and doing.Read More