Interview With a Bookstagrammer - December 2020
It's time for our final interview of the year and this month we spoke to the amazing Ana (@literaryxqueen). Ana's account is filled with beautiful bookish photography. Honestly, we're obsessed. Make sure you take a look - you won't regret it!
Thank you so much for chatting with us, Ana!
How did you first become involved with the bookstagram community? Can you remember the moment you decided to create your account?
I can remember the exact moment actually, it was in April of 2019... I was sitting in my dining room one morning, drinking coffee with my husband, Marr - and I was excitedly showing him this entire incredible community I had just discovered on Instagram. I was scrolling through some of the pages - I wish I knew which ones they were now - and I told him I think I'd found my people. Photography + books - I had no idea there were so many others who were so passionate about the two things I was most passionate about. I told him I was thinking of starting an account 'one day' and he encouraged me to make one that moment.
What’s your favourite part of the bookstagram community and why is it so important to you?
Besides it being a glorious community of mostly women who do nothing but lift each other up? Diverse books. I've been an avid reader for as long as I can remember, but my favorite genre has and probably will always be fantasy - yet it wasn't until I was 27 that I even read a high fantasy where the main character looked like me. My absolute favorite part about the bookstagram community is the promotion of diverse books - in all genres!
Has your content evolved over the years, tell us more about that! What opportunities has bookstagram brought you?
Absolutely. My first photo was just a single book on my floor with a scarf under it. Now, I spend a long time crafting each and every photo I post. I used to post reviews more, but I've been reading a bit less and working on my own book more this year!
Do you have any other hobbies alongside books and reading? We’d love to hear more about them…
Yes, I'm a writer and a photographer. I used to run a photography business, but I've stepped down from that to work on my book. Hoping my writing will no longer be a hobby soon, though!
Have you always loved books? Tell us the book that cemented your love of reading!
I was so lucky to be raised in a house filled with books, with parents and older siblings who loved to read. So I don't know if I really had a choice. But in third grade, when I was eight, I picked up the Wizard of Oz series from my mom's shelf and read all three books in a week. It changed my life, in more than a few ways - the first being I was completely and totally immersed in a new world for the first time (which is my absolute favorite thing to be) and the second- I was so incredibly proud that I had accomplished reading such big books. From there I asked my mom for recommendations, she saw my love of fantasy and encouraged it, handing me the Phantom Tollbooth and The BFG. By fourth grade I was on the fourth Harry Potter book and the rest is history.
Any particular author who’s a huge inspiration?
There are so many, but I think right now Jordan Ifueko - she just published her debut novel Raybearer and I was so impressed by it. It really just showed me how I can really, truly write what I want and there is a market out there for it. My book can be as diverse as I want it to be. Plus, her prose is just beautiful.
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?
Only three? This is going to be hard but okay let me try - Gideon from Gideon the Ninth because she would be hilarious at a dinner party... Cardan from the Cruel Prince series because I would love to enjoy a glass of wine with him and just pick his brain, and Tarisai from Raybearer because I simply adore her!
What’s the best book you’ve read in the last year?
You know this is impossible! Top three: Raybearer, The Invisible Life of Addie Larue, and The Rage of Dragons. All three resonated with me in completely different ways and I cannot recommend them enough!
Tell us your favourite account to follow! What do you love about it?
Hmm I love so many accounts - I mean I'm following over a thousand, but my favorite account to follow is @yelli3_reads. We have almost the exact same taste in books and her recommendations are always spot on for me. Plus, she's the sweetest person and her photos are just stunning. Another is @lifebytheink - her photos and captions are always so lovely and she too recommends incredible books; many I haven’t heard of or are outside of my preferred genre, so I’m always learning so much from her.
Okay final hard hitting question… Dog ear or bookmark?
I would never dog ear a book, I love them too much! But I will say, I have over one hundred bookmarks but still find myself using old receipts to mark my place, make it make sense!
Anything else you'd like to add or tell us about?
I just want to thank you for this opportunity and tell anyone reading this to diversify your shelves, amplify melanated voices, and don't just read diverse books to check boxes - read them because they're good! If you only read books from people who look like you, experience life like you, and speak the same first language as you - you are really doing yourself a disservice. And don't just read these books... buy them, share them, gift them! And if you are thinking of starting a bookstagram, take this as a sign and do it! You will love it here.
Use the code ANA10OFF until 29th January to get 10% off Ana's favourite items.