In December 2015, I posted a photo of my “Black Friday Haul” from Barnes and Noble to Instagram: a boxed set of the foil cover Hunger Games books that I had been coveting, plus three matching Katniss Funko Pops. This was my first real book-related post on Instagram, and I didn’t think too much of it, until the social media platform started “suggesting” posts I might like in my search feed. There were handfuls of posts dedicated to showcasing books, talking about books, book-related challenges and small businesses. I learned that the hashtags “#shelfie” and “#socksunday” were a thing. I saw bookish accounts with thousands of bookish followers. I had no idea this community existed inside Instagram—and that I would be so in love with it almost a year later.
It might sound cheesy, but Bookstagram really helped me pull through a tough time. I completed graduate school in 2015 and got an internship in the suburbs of Chicago, but many of my friends from school either moved back home or to different cities for work. My internship eventually turned into a permanent position, and I found myself living alone in pretty much all aspects of the word. I was always a reader, but the intense work load of college and grad school had sucked out my energy for that hobby. Since I was no longer in school and had plenty of free time, I started reading heavily again. I also started posting photos of my various book purchases to Instagram, with no real theme or thought to lighting, composition, etc.
One day, however, I stumbled across the #nerdybookchallenge from Alexis @dropandgivemenerdy, and decided to participate. Soon after, I was putting real thought into my photos, trying to be creative and engaging with fellow book nerds. My account eventually become book-centric, and if you look back far enough, you can see where I really took the leap to becoming a Bookstagram account (but please don’t; it’s embarrassing! haha). I started following more Bookstagrammers, learning from them and finding like-minded readers. I have made many new friends, fallen in love with several new genres (YA fantasy, you are both the birth and death of my soul), and re-ignited a lost passion through Bookstagram, during a time when I was at my loneliest.
Even though it’s been less than a year, there have been so many amazing moments for me since joining Bookstagram. Here are a few of my favorites:
- Fangirling with everyone over the release of Empire of Storms
- Reading the Harry Potter series for the first time and sorting myself in Pottermore (Gryffindorrrrr!)
- Going to BookCon and meeting one of my new favorite authors, Marissa Meyer
- Hosting a 1K giveaway, and soon to be hosting an October book challenge with my Bookstagram bestie, @watermelanies
- Getting a bookish tattoo (Scarlet from The Lunar Chronicles—I wasn’t joking about my Marissa Meyer love!)
- Making my own Ginny Funko Pop
- Having my life absolutely wrecked by A Court of Mist and Fury
- Becoming a rep for not just one, but two awesome bookish subscription boxes
Fellow Bookstagrammers were there with me through all of this and more, and I thank you all every single day!
What are some of your favorite Bookstagram memories?