Hello, hello, hello! Today is a very exciting day, because it is part one of my Sunday Morning Book Chats series! Before we begin, I just want to say a big thank you to everyone for their kind words, support, and participation in this series. You guys are all wonderful, wonderful individuals, and I’m so very glad to be a part of the bookstagram community.
Now, enough about me! Today’s guest for Sunday Morning Book Chats is the lovely Alison from @littlebookwormig. She’s been on bookstagram for almost three years, has over 50,000 followers, is a rep for three bookish subscription boxes, and runs a book blog, all while raising six children. Can someone say impressive?
The General Questions
1. Tell us a little bit about yourself: where you’re from, how long you’ve been on bookstagram for, and what you like to do when you’re not reading books, photographing books, or just generally thinking about books.
So hi! My name is Alison, I’m 38 and I live in County Armagh, Northern Ireland. I’ve been a member of the bookstagram community for nearly three years now and I have loved every moment. I don’t have huge amounts of spare time as my husband and I have 6 children, 5 girls and 1 boy, so they take up the bulk of my time! When I do get a moment, you’ll usually find me curled in my chair with my current read. I was diagnosed with a chronic muscle/joint condition a couple of years ago so I find it easier to hold and read from a Kindle – I read 90% of my books in that format, unless they’re certain ARCs that haven’t been published in an eBook format yet. You’d think that would mean my house is book-free but no. If I love an eBook, I have to own the hard copy, too, even if it never gets read. I’m also a sucker for pretty covers so it means that my house looks like an episode from Extreme Hoarders most of the time! Aside from reading, I love all kinds of photography and have just recently started to practice Lomography which is great fun 🙂
2. How did you discover the bookstagram community, and what you made you decide to start your own account?
I had been on IG around a year when I discovered a monthly book challenge that someone was holding. As I started to post book photos each day, I began to search the books hashtag and found more and more book nerds! When I noticed the bookstagram hashtag, it was like I’d suddenly been introduced to thousands of best friends that I didn’t know I had! I knew I had to start my own separate account which would be mostly books. And so @littlebookwormig was born!
3. In all your time on bookstagram, are there any moments in particular that stand out to you or any experiences you’ve had because of bookstagram that you’re particularly grateful for?
I think I’m thankful for bookstagram on a daily basis. When my youngest child was born, 5 years ago, I developed severe depression and anxiety. It got to the point where I wasn’t even getting out of bed. Through meds and family/professional support, I have improved no end but belonging to the bookstagram community has been a major help in this. Even if I’m having a bad day, I know I have to post and have to reply to comments on my previous posts. It means that I have to make the effort to interact with people and, once I’ve started replying to people and catching up with other’s feeds, I usually find that that bad day has started to subside. It really has been my lifeline.
A Bit More Specific…
1. Are you the type of person who likes to read multiple books at a time, or do you like to pick up one book and stick with it until you’ve finished it?
Oh definitely one book! I only tried reading two once before and my brain obviously isn’t wired to do that because I’ve never been so confused in my whole life! I was mixing up characters and events. I was conscious that I’d read more of one book that I had of the other and I just felt totally pressurised so I didn’t enjoy any. I’m not much of a multi-tasker in real life and this is obviously the case when it comes to reading, too! I have found out that I can read a book and listen to an audiobook over the same time so I’ve done that more recently but I still prefer to concentrate on one read at a time 🙂
2. What are you currently reading, and what books are you excited to start reading soon?
I’m currently reading G.R.R. Martin’s A Clash of Kings for the first time and I am LOVING it! I had attempted to read A Game of Thrones several times but, as I’m not a high-fantasy fan, I just couldn’t get past a few pages. Someone suggested that I watch the TV show and, within a couple of episodes, I was totally hooked! It took me 11 days of hardly any sleep to watch 6 and a half seasons and catch up with everyone else (!) and, once I went back to try the books then, I enjoyed them from the first page because I could visualise who these characters and places were. Once I start a series, I can’t drop off and read different books in between; I have to marathon the whole series. So it’s looking like I could be in Westeros for a while……..!
3. On a scale of 1-10, how intimidating is your TBR pile?
Probably a 12! I have stopped counting but a couple of months ago, I had around 143 physical books and 213 Ebooks on my pile/Kindle. Yup. I’m a serial book-buyer. I just can’t resist those new releases! I’m hopeless. I’ve even given up feeling guilty about it, I’m so bad.
4. Who are your go-to authors?
Stephen King, Dean Koontz, Jane Austen, George Orwell, Sophie Kinsella, J.K. Rowling and Rick Riordan. When I’m in a slump, am suffering from a book hangover or just having a bad day, I can open any one of those authors’ books to any page and immediately get straight into the story because I’ve read them so many times. It’s like getting a hug from an old friend when you so desperately need one 🙂
5. You’re hosting a tea party and you can invite three famous people, either living or dead. Who do you invite and why?
Oh, I would love to invite Truman Capote, J.K. Rowling and Eleanor of Aquitaine to my dinner party. I can’t say that I would contribute much to the conversation as I would be in complete Fangirl mode but can you imagine them discussing literature, political events from their eras and their favourite authors with each other?! Now I’m sad because it will never happen…….
6. Let’s talk about reading slumps: do you get them, and if you do, how do you get yourself out of them?
I’m not too bad with slumps. I’ve not had too many of them in over 30 years of reading but my go-to solution is usually a Harry Potter reread! I am currently collecting my 14th (!) set of the 7 Harry Potter books and I have been a huge fan since I bought the first book in 1997. I try to re-read the series twice a year and, even after all these years, I still find new quotes and theories which I may have missed before. Once I’ve finished Deathly Hallows, any kind of a slump has usually disappeared!
7. What are five books you think everyone should read and why?
- Animal Farm by George Orwell – It’s such an iconic novel which is as relevant to today’s society as it was when it was written.
- The Help by Kathryn Stockett – This inside view of America’s black community at the height of racial tension really does show us just how far we have come in terms of integration
- The Dice Man by Luke Reinhart – I adore the concept of this book. The main character decides to throw a dice to determine every action in his life, even if the instructions the dice gives him means he needs to break the law…….
- The Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling – I know, I know, I’m cheating naming the series but you don’t honestly want me to choose just one of them, do you?!
- Misery by Stephen King – This has been a favourite of mine since I was around 13 years old. I think everyone in the bookstagram community could relate to this book which follows a ‘fangirl’ who is obsessed with a famous author and that author has just decided to kill off her favourite character…….
8. I know how bookstagrammers love a good literary quote, particularly for the captions of their photos, so can you share one of your favorite literary quotes with us?
I have read huge amounts of wonderful literary quotes over the years and I could tell you my favourites were “Whatever our souls are made of, his and mine are the same.” Or “Why sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast!” Or even “Eleanor was right. She didn’t look nice. She looked like art and art wasn’t supposed to look nice; it was supposed to make you feel something.”
But my very favourite quote is very short and simple and it’s from Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix when Minerva McGonagall says to Harry, “Have a biscuit, Potter.” It sums up the whole series for me in that Harry, even when he thinks he’s fighting alone, always has someone at his back. It’s the definition of good and evil. Umbridge has tried to prevent him from telling the truth and McGonagall wants him to know she has his back. As always.
Speed Round! What is your favorite…
Movie? National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation. Still cracks me up after all of these years!
Reading spot? In my little, overgrown side garden, especially on long, summer evenings.
Ice cream flavor? Honeycomb! Can’t get enough of it in any form. I’m basically Pooh Bear.
Song? Thunderstruck – ACDC.
Fictional character? AGGHH! I can’t choose one! I love them all! Except Mrs Danvers. I hate her.
Thank you so much for joining us on Sunday Morning Book Chats! Before you go, do you have any tips for anyone looking to start their own bookstagram?
You’re so welcome. Thank you for having me! I think the main advice I usually give to newbies is ENJOY! If you enjoy the books you’re posting and don’t pressurise yourself comparing your feed to other peoples’, it will shine through in your photographs and everyone will notice it. Also, lighting is a big thing. Make good use of natural lighting when possible and your photos will improve no end. Plus it’s free! It really was my eureka moment when I stopped using electric light to take photos.