I was one of those people who refused to join Instagram. What was the point? Did I honestly need another soul sucking, time wasting, social media platform? But, curiosity always wins in my book and I found myself treading carefully into the world of little squares filled with photos.
After scrolling through hundreds of selfies I was just about ready to make an exit when suddenly a flat lay of books caught my eye. As much as I love spending hours paging through a book, I have this (maybe unhealthy) obsession of knowing what is on other people’s bookshelves. #Bookstagram got me.
Ultimate for book crushing
There’s a thriving book loving community on the photo sharing platform, and of course Muslims are contributing to it. Whether you’re after your next reading recommendation, some bookish inspiration for your next Instagram pic, or simply a place to relax and talk all things literary, no other place fulfills it like Instagram.
Customized in styles that vary from crafty to modern chic, the visual allure of this social media network is not only a way to advertise the book you’re reading, but to celebrate the love of reading in an aesthetically pleasing way. It’s eye candy for book lovers and it’s the one place where you are allowed to judge a book by its cover. Here are my top recommendations of Muslim #Bookstagram accounts.
The Bookish Nerd – Number of followers: 1,422
Zakiyya is completing her final year of high school in South Africa, and her reading varies from chic lit to feminist manifestos. The bookishnerd’s style is pleasing on the eye, sophisticated with a brush of intense color. Zakiya is vocal about what she wants to see happening in the publishing world, “I think by being a part of a community that has a strong and united voice that speaks up when things don’t add up and who fights for representation and recognition and equality, I am influencing the publishing world. I think by using my voice and through exercising my freedom of opinion, I am influencing the publishing world because I can say what I truly think, I can fight for what I believe in, I can demand that I am heard, and I can represent my people and where I come from. I think that the publishing world is influenced by what we say and what we do as, for lack of a better word, ‘influencers’”.
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Have you ever traveled alone to a different country? . One of my earliest learning experiences was when I traveled solo for the first time. There are so many things that feel different. No one familiar, no strings attached, you truly get a feeling of your inner self. . Unfortunately it’s not something I get to do often, but I really am looking forward to a solo trip, hopefully soon! . ❗️If you could go travel alone to one country, which would you choose? . #WHPwanderlust . #BetterReadsChallenge 20/365 (link in bio) . #bookstagram
The Guy With A Book – Followers: 38.4k
Winner of the Bookstagrammer of the year award at the London Book Fair, Farouk, who is based in Saudi Arabia, doubles up his book account with his travels. London Book Fair judges had this say about his account, “This Instagram reflects everything that a bookstagram account should encompass. It’s a wonderful blend of aesthetically pleasing images with obvious sophistication. Farouk’s personality comes through very clearly. His insta stories also reflect the quality that he displays. This really is a wonderful example of the full potential of the format, and contradiction to many Instagram stereotypes.” Farouk is a must follow and definitely gives you food – or rather books – for thought.
Africaanah – Followers: 10k
Based in Abu Dhabi, Nada’s motivation for starting her account was to inspire people to love reading and to proudly post about it. @Africanah has a natural feel to it as she uses many organic textures in her feed. Her favorite shots are in coffee shops. She does mention that there are drawbacks to #Bookstagram, “I’m sad to say you will meet all different kind of people on BG. Some would hate on you and would try to dictate what kind of posts one should have and some that discourage you. The key is to ignore, and keep doing what you love.” Africanah is being recognized for her talents and was approached by a local newspaper in Abu Dhabi for an interview.
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“People always talk like there's a bright line between imagination and memory, but there isn't, at least not for me. I remember what I've imagined and imagine what I remember.” -John Green, Turtles All the Way Down . . 📖Almost through to the end of my current read, and I’m quite enjoying it. I actually don’t want it to end!😣 . 📖Which is actually weird if me since I always rush the endings. . . ❗️ Do you rush any part of the book or do you take your time with all of it? . . —————————————————————— #bookstagram #instabook #mood #postitforaesthetics #inspiration #cozy #bookstagrammer #bookish #bookphotography #livethelittlethings #goodvibes #met_createchange #unitedbookstagram #ipreview #bookishabudhabi #bookstagramuae #vscobooks #bookishdubai @preview.app #epicreads #bookstagramista #bookblogger #bookfeaturepage #booksandcoffee #book #books #booklove #reader #currentlyreading #reading #cozyvibes
i.Reads – Followers: 11.7k
Warda started her account to share her obsession of books. She is also a fan of the iconic book-on-the-bed photo. Her go to style for #Bookstagram is cosy, yet vibrant. Warda usually thinks through ideas on what she wants to do in a photo including props she wants to use. “A lot of planning goes into it at times.” Warda’s book choices are an eclectic mix of all genres. You will find everything from Ta-Nahesi Coates to Tahera Mafi’s “Shatter Me” series. While Warda muses over whether #Bookstagram accounts affect what publishers publish, she wants to see books getting published whereby the term ‘diversity’ becomes the norm and not a way to sell a book or create a hype.
Read_and_seek – Followers: 5k
Read and seek is run by South African blogger Nihaad. Her bookstagram style is clean and sleek with a hint of color. Nihaad is a tea lover and her account focuses on promoting diversity, especially books featuring Muslim characters or books written by Muslim authors.
The Club of Books – Followers: 9,271
Amena from the UK runs this handle and makes any book new or old look beautiful. Her style is unique with many of her book photos set in the English countryside. Amena gives wonderful short reviews and her “Books of The Month” photo is usually one of my favorites.
That Other Nigerian Girl – Followers: 2,465
Aeesha Yusuf is the queen of the flat lays. I love that she styles her flat lays either to colour of the book or a theme in the book. Her style is fresh and sleek and her recent reads are all captioned with a short review of the book. I find myself saving all her recommendations to my already ridiculously long TBR pile – (“to be read” in book lovers’ speak)
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W O M E N X S O N G S➰ . . Hello guys! I hope you’re all well. I’m sorry I’ve been MIA but this is my long awaited review of ATWIMFS ☺️ . . First off, I have to commend the cover of this book! The design is lovely and the material is so velvety, like it’s designed to take care of your hands 🤗. Also, if you notice, hidden within the art work, is this sentence; ‘What does yes look like?”. So kudos to @nothingbutthetruthpublishing ✊🏾 . . Asides the 5 Star cover, ATWIMFS is a collection of 69 beautifully written, well detailed and succinct essays. All of these essays were written by WoCs, of all types and with very diverse heritage. @booksandrhymes and I agreed we have the editor, Deborah Santana, to thank for the precision. I mean, the longest essays was only 8 pages long (and for very good reasons). . . The essays were grouped under 8 different subsets; that touched on identity, migration, career, beauty, family and even illnesses. This categorization made the reading experience enjoyable for me because it felt like a rollercoaster and I wasn’t overwhelmed with the large number of essays. . . Did I also mention that the writing was so diverse in terms of POVs and you can still sense the collective struggle? Writers as young as 20 and as old as 65 contributed to the anthology and you couldn’t eventell from the writing (except the writer mentions their age in the short bio). I advice you to create space on your tbt list because there are a lot of recommended reads (films and blogs) to add. . . One final observation, the diversity in popularity of each writer drove me to one conclusion; we should never dismiss the struggles of any woman based on whether or not, she’s well known in the society. Popularity doesn’t diminish/eliminate the feminine struggle. This book is a solid 5 Star and I’ll recommend it to everyone. ______________________ #QOTD: “ This time you will be a woman, This time you will be a revolution, This time your story will be told. ______________________ Ugochi Egonu, All The Women in my Family Sing
The Bookish Word – Followers: 14.7k
In the bio on her blog, Noha from Egypt says that she was “born with a book in one hand and a coffee cup in the other.” Her account is scattered with shots of warm coffee and starry fairy lights. Obviously a die hard lover of fantasy fiction and a Potterhead, Noha will give you all the hygge feels and you will want to do nothing else but curl up with a book and blanket after scrolling through her feed.
Sumaiyya Books – Followers: 39.5 k
With close to 40,000 followers, Sumaiyya of Saudi Arabia interlaces her feed with dramatic landscape photos of the desert region beautifully captioned like this one: “’The breeze across the desert as the light died was so sweet she could almost drink it.’ ― Mike Bond
My first sunset in Riyadh was at Wadi Hanifa, a valley once home to a bustling dam, the dry remnants of which remain for people to explore.”
Sumaiyya made me look at her region in a new light. A feline lover, her cat Gatsby makes a regular appearance as well, leaving a personal trademark on many of her photographs. You’ll find many cameos of Farouk on Sumaiyya’s #Bookstagram and vice versa as they are book-loving siblings.
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What’s your favourite hot drink? Mine is coffee, so…Happy #NationalCoffeeDay! That should be a daily celebration imo 🤷🏻♀️ . Coffee, books and Bookstagram with @theguywiththebook is literally the best ♥️ His most recent recommendation to me was SO LUCKY by Nicola Griffith. Great thing I already have a copy from @mcdbooks 😻 We’ve used our copies for #WHPMatching for Instagram’s current weekend project ✌🏼 . What’s your plan for the weekend?🖤
If #Bookstagram does not have you scrambling for your next great read or make you relook at your own books as works of art, then I doubt nothing else will. Enjoy!