Interview With a Bookstagrammer - August 2020
One of the best parts about running this small business of ours is the wonderful online book lover community we’ve become a part of, so we’re thrilled to be bringing you our new feature Interview With a Bookstagrammer. Each month we’ll be sharing an interview with one of the many amazing members of the bookstagram community, we’ll also be sharing a small collection of their favourite items and an exclusive discount code. This month we spoke to the brilliant Aleema. (@aleema_s). Aleema was one of our first ever brand reps nearly five years ago, so being able to chat with her was a lovely full circle moment. Please make sure you check out her page for not only beautiful photographs but engaging, interesting and thought-provoking content too!
How did you first become involved with the bookstagram community? Can you remember the moment you decided to create your account?
I actually accidentally stumbled my way in lol. I think it was summer, so I was out of school and had even more free time to read for leisure. I had my regular personal account and one day I posted about the books I’d just gotten. Next thing I knew the community found me. It’s funny how stuff like that happens. One post led to all this. People seemed to like my photos and enjoyed the things I was reading and talking about, so I just went with it.
What’s your favourite part of the bookstagram community and why is it so important to you?
The close friendships I’ve made with the other Black women I’ve met through this community. Talking about the books we love, sharing diverse recommendations, reading together, it’s very special to me.
Your content has evolved over the years, tell us more about that! What opportunities has bookstagram brought you?
Yeah, I don’t really post specifically bookstagram stuff anymore. Much like I stumbled in, I sort of faded out. I’ve always loved reading, so just like before I stumbled into bookstagram, I still post about books. And it’s nice because publishers send me great stuff to read and talk about with everyone, which I really appreciate and love to do. But like I mentioned earlier, my account is just my regular personal page (I never actually made a specific bookstagram page) so fading out wasn’t particularly conscious on my part, I just had other things I felt like sharing as well. I’m a writer, so I mostly post about that now. My page is more about writing, lifestyle, self-care and reading, and I love it because my community is getting wider, and that’s always nice.
So you love to write, we’d love to hear more…
I absolutely love it. I’ve been writing on and off since I was a kid. Just fun little stories and things. But when I graduated, I started working on this really great book idea I’d had in my head for a few years. Since then I’ve written a couple of novels (including that one) in different genres, and it’s been so great developing my craft. Recently, I wrote my first short story, and I loved working on that so much. Storytelling is in my bones and I can’t wait to see how I keep growing as a writer.
Have you always loved books? Tell us the book that cemented your love of reading (and writing)! Any particular author who’s a huge inspiration?
I’ve been a book lover ever since I can remember, so I can’t really think of what book specifically cemented my love of reading. I just remember loving getting lost in stories. One thing that does stick out though, is the book series that switched me over from simply loving stories to loving them and being intrigued by how the worlds themselves were created. That was the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series by Rick Riordan. I read those when I was about 11 or 12. It turned me from being a reader and a writer to someone who reads as a writer. I started taking in stories not just for the world I was immersing myself in but also for the love of the innovation behind it, and to learn as much about the craft through reading. Some other authors that inspire me are Angie Thomas, Sabaa Tahir and Nicola Yoon. Their characters’ voices, their worlds and storytelling styles are all so captivating and beautifully written.
So you’ve told us about your favourite writers, let’s talk about favourite characters! You can invite three fictional characters from literature to a dinner party, who are they and why did you choose them?
This is a tough question because there are so many to choose from the ones I love, and there are so many still waiting for me to discover that could completely blow these three out of the water. So, let’s not take this as a concrete list lol.
First, is Percy Jackson (no surprise there haha). I identified with Percy instantly, I loved his voice and was completely hooked from the first page.
Second is Lara Jean from Jenny Han’s To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before. Her relationship with her sisters reminds me of mine with my sister and cousins.
I’m going to cheat a little with the third one because it’s a TV show as well as a comic, but Katara from Avatar: The Last Airbender. I really looked up to her growing up and she’s really stuck with me. She’s warm, kind, and a powerful water bending master, and I’d like to think I’m a water bender too lol.
What’s the best book you’ve read in the last year?
Hmm another tough question… I can’t really say one was 100% the best. I loved them for different reasons so they’re pretty hard for me to compare. I just started reading Cinderella Is Dead by Kalynn Bayron and that’s pretty great so far.
Tell us your favourite account to follow (we’ll allow you one bookstagram based and one writer based if you like)! What do you love about it?
For a bookstagram one, my friend Cici’s page (@cicivford) is one of my favourites, her photos are so beautiful!
For the writer based one I’d say Liselle Sambury (@lisellesambury). She’s one of my great writer friends and her Youtube videos are gold for anyone who wants to develop their craft and know more about the publishing industry.
Okay final hard hitting question… Dog ear or bookmark?
Either. To be honest, I don’t even really think about it. If I have a bookmark nearby then I use it if I want to, but mostly I just dog ear. Dog ears don’t bother me at all lol. I like when a book looks read and lived in and loved, so I don’t mind folds in the pages or creases in the spine.
Use the code ALEEMA10 for 10% off the following products until 25th September 2020.