In the month of May I challenged myself to participate in a bookstagram challenge. If you don’t know what bookstagram is let me explain. Bookstagram is a part of Instagram that is solely based around books, bookish things, and the people who love books. It is a place where people post beautiful pictures of books, talk about new books they got, their reviews of books they’ve read, and all the bookish things that book lovers adore. So, as a book lover, I thought “hey, why not give this bookstagram challenge thing a try.” Every month many different bookstagramers post challenges in which each day is a different prompt for a picture. A prompt may be something like, books with female protagonists, fairytales, or simple red books. So, the prompt can vary greatly.
I found a challenge that looked like I would be able to do called #maybookstagram18 hosted by @erinsummerill, @book_junkee, and @reverieandink. I participated in almost every day of the challenge and it was a very interesting experience. Here is what I learned.
I don’t have a lot of books
The first thing I learned through this process was I don’t have a lot of books. I’ve never counted them, but I’m sure it would be a lot for some, yet in comparison to all the bookstagramers and booktubers out there I have very few.
One of the reasons I don’t have a lot of books is because I simply don’t have the shelf space. I have one bookcase of three shelves where one shelf is filled with other things. There are other bookshelves in the house, but currently they don’t hold my books. So right now, most of my books are stacked on the floor in my room.
Another reason I don’t have a lot of books is that books are expensive. As a student who has been in school for 5, going on 6, years I have been spending a lot of money on school and school material. Sure, novels are expensive, but textbooks are even more expensive!
Keeping up with Instagram is HARD
Yes, social media is fun and a hobby and a way to pass the time. However, when you are putting presure on yourself to keep up with it on a daily basis it can be hard. I’m not saying that this experience wasn’t incredibly fun, but at times it was work.
It takes time to choose, edit, caption, and post a picture. Sure, it might not take hours on end but it ends up taking time out of your day to do these things, especially when you want to make them beautiful and aesthetically appealing.
The interaction part of Instagram also takes time. It takes time to scroll though you feeed and look at every post. It takes time to read the captions and answer them, if there was a question presented, or you just wanted to say how much you loved their photo. It takes time to answer responses to your own comments or comments on your own photo. It also takes time to watch the stories of the people you follow, and potentially respond to those as well. This all takes time and that time can accumulate so you end up having to be picky about when and what you are going to spend your time on, or at least I did.
You really have to dedicate time and effort to these photos
Taking all these photos of books is really an art form. To pull out the books you want, have a concept and idea of what props, location, lighting, angle, etc. you want for the photo takes so much creativity and dedication. It takes time to set up the book in the way you want them, potentially reorganizing them if it doesn’t look the way you want it. And let’s not forget about the clean up. Even if all my books were on bookshelves the number of books that have to get put back in their places after a photoshoot with them takes time and effort and willpower.
I’m not going to lie, it was incredibly fun to pull out all the books I find beautiful and set them up in a way to showcase that beauty but it definitely took my creativity and effort to put it all together.
All these bookstagramers are basically superhuman
There are people on instagram that I follow that post more than once a day. They post on their feed and have regular, interesting, stories every single day (or almost every day). I am here to say that these people are superhuman! Okay, not really, but damn to I admire their dedication, creativity, and passion. I can’t imagine the amount of time it takes them to take all those pictures and post them, after editing them to be perfect of course.
Not only that, but they also interact with a whole bunch of their followers and interact with other accounts that they follow as well. While all having, you know, other things to do, like jobs, families, adulting. It’s pretty amazing. They are amazing.
I am not reading the most recent or hyped books
Alright, this one was kind of obvious even before I started this challenge, but it also kind of hurts my little bookworm heart. I am definitely not reading the newest releases or the most hyped books. I didn’t even know about how many interesting books were coming out before getting into booktube and bookstagram. I will for sure blame a lot of this on my education. I struggled during my undergrad to read for fun.
I was in a program that involved heavy readings for all of my classes, along with heavy assignments, and lots of necessary studying. During those four years of my life and last year as well, while doing a year of a master’s program, I had the ever present “students guilt” as I, and my friends, like to call it. That feeling you get when you are reading for fun, or thinking about reading for fun, that makes you question if it’s a good use of time. I mean, of course READING is a good use of time! But, for me as a student, it felt like I was wasting time because I could be using that time to do school work. Kind of silly right?
As a result of the time I had to commit to school work and my “student guilt” I didn’t read nearly as much as I would have liked to, which in turn made me stop caring about all the newest books and all the books that I had heard about and wanted to read. So, as a result my TBR is filled with books that I had planned on reading years ago and have still not touched. It’s sad as a bookworm to basically put reading on the back burner for so long, and to really have that realization slap you in the face, but it’s not the end of the world. I can get back on the reading horse and trot into town to pick up the newest reads and the things that really excite me from now on.
There is a vast and welcoming community out there!
This final lesson was probably the best of the whole journey. It is that there are so many people on social media who are insanely in LOVE with books, the way I am. Who want to talk about books. Who want to talk about books they’ve read and haven’t read. Who want to talk about tropes, stereotypes, genres, authors, plot devices, etc. There are so many people who are sharing their love of reading with the world. What else is amazing is that most, if not all, of those people are so welcoming! They will willingly read your comments, respond to them, and interact with you. There are so many bookish friends you can make that have similar and different tastes than you. It really is magical the kind of people you can “meet” and get to know all from posting pictures of books!
Overall, I think this challenge was a success. I continue to post photos of books and discuss books. I am more motivated to read and broaden my personal library. I am exposed to different books I never would have heard of otherwise. I continue to “meet” new people and develop friendships based around something that has always been my first love.
Never stop reading.