It’s Tuesday. Do you know what that means? That’s right, we have another Bookstagrammer of the Week that you just have to check out. We’re still on our overseas vacation this week because our latest Bookstagrammer is in the United Kingdom! Am I the only one that thinks that book covers in the UK are better than their US counterparts? You can fight about it with yourself because I take no one else’s opinion into consideration–just kidding! Our Bookstagrammer of the Week, Anita of @booksinherhands, dedicates her page to POC authors telling POC storylines, and we. are. here. for. it.
I’m done politely asking! Now I’m going to bully you–with the love of books in mind though. The Bookstr way! I would like to formally state that Bookstr does not condone any form of bullying, especially that of their authors towards their audience. I will sit in my corner as you read this interview between me and our latest Bookstagram account! Anyway, let’s get to know Anita of @booksinherhands who is this week’s feature Bookstagrammer!
If you aren’t familiar with our Bookstagrammer of the Week series, welcome to your mini crash course. Each week, the outreach here at Bookstr talks with up-and-coming Bookstagram accounts and Bookstagrammers who are doing quite well for themselves. In these interviews, we ask the burning questions that YOU want the answers to! You might be asking, “what’s the point of all this?” The answer is quite simple–we at Bookstr have a platform that we want others to use! That being said, we’re talking with Anita of @booksinherhands!
If you’ve taken the time to do a little pre-scroll of Anita’s Bookstagram account, you can clearly see that she’s got a fever. And the only prescription…is MORE books! No, seriously though, Anita has some real firepower when it comes to her book collection!
It’s obvious that you have a genuine passion for reading, so when did you first get into reading?
I was always a reader but I feel like my passion for reading was really birthed from following my older sister to the library near our old house in East London. Once I got a library card, it was over for me. I spent so much time there, and I actually ended up becoming really close with the old librarian.
The library is the birthplace of many an obsession of mine as well! Both you and I have sort of teased this answer to this next question, but there’s more to it than just the surface-level answer. As I mentioned, we’re still in the United Kingdom!
Where are you from? And do you have a favorite bookshop–British–close to home?
I’m originally from Nigeria but my family and I currently have our roots in Essex and London. I have quite a few bookstores in London that I absolutely love. The Newham Bookshop is one that I grew up visiting a lot as I grew up and it has a rich history and is a proper community bookstore. There are people who take their kids there that used to go there themselves when they were little. I also took my niece and nephews to Round Table Books two summers ago and loved that.
We’ve done a Bookspot of the Week for Round Table Books, which you can check out here!
Anita is a proud African woman, and her Bookstagram shows as much! For the past two years, she’s participated in the Afrocentric April Booksta Tour! This is a month-long checklist that promotes the reading and amplification of African literary works! I’m eagerly waiting to see if she follows along this year as well! Over your time reading, I’m sure you’ve found books and characters that impacted you more than the rest.
Which fictional character do you feel most connected to, and why?
Because I tend to mostly read books centering [on] the stories of POC characters, there are loads of characters I feel closely connected to but most recently, Maddie, the lead character in Jessica George’s debut Maame. I saw a lot of myself in her because of her vulnerability, [and] her constant straddling of two cultures, she’s Ghanaian, [and] I’m Nigerian (our countries are siblings). There was a real tenderness to both her character and the story that I really identified with.
Focusing on POC storylines is something that I think is gaining traction within the bookish world. It shouldn’t have the “gain traction” because these are relatable and real stories that people should just read and publishers should want to produce. If someone came to your page though, they would be able to find a “no-spoilers” review for a POC-centric book, which is something a lot of readers are looking for now.
What is one book that you would recommend for everyone to read?
If you follow my page, you know that I’m constantly begging people to read Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi. I can’t even count how many times I’ve given that book to someone as a gift or recommended it. It’s such a phenomenal exploration of a plethora of important topics and it may be the strongest debut novel I’ve ever read (no exaggeration!).
We have just a few more questions for Anita which means that our time with her is coming to a close. I know, I’m sad too! However, I’m comforted by the fact that I follow Anita’s Bookstagram account–@booksinherhands–so I know that I’ll never miss a post about her latest read or most recent bookish update! You can join me in following Anita so you too can stay up-to-date on everything she posts!
Anita doesn’t follow a specific posting schedule, but she’s been a part of the Bookstagram community since 2019! Some of our audience is debating on starting Bookstagram accounts of their own, but they might be intimidated. So let’s lift that curtain a little and talk about motivations and inspirations!
What inspires you the most to create content for Bookstagram?
Other Bookstagrammers. Easy. I follow so many stellar but totally unique accounts. It’s really the community on Bookstagram that keeps you coming back. I’ve made some amazing friendships there and it’s a big part of my life.
Over your three or four years of creating content, I’m sure that you’ve gained a few bits and bobs–British–of advice from your fellow Bookstagrammers. As I said, a good portion of our audience is here because they want to learn how to ‘do’ Bookstagram. The ins-and-outs, as it were.
What’s one thing running your Bookstagram–@booksinherhands–has taught you?
So many things. One of which is an appreciation for POC authors. I grew up reading the standard classics such as Jane Eyre, 1984, and Little Women and while these are all exceptional stories, there is a whole universe of stories from all over the world that I am quite honestly having the time of [my] life exploring. At any given moment, I could give you five or more book recommendations by POC authors that have truly changed me as a person.
This is my final question for Anita, so we’re going to make it a good one! Us bookish people are fans and we’re sometimes–to put nicely–passionate on our favorite reads. We enjoy fan-casting and imagining scenarios that result in producers and show-writers actually listening to our wants and reading the source material!
What is one movie you would love to see adapted into a film or television series?
Anything by Bevelry Jenkins needs to be adapted ASAP. She is a legendary Black romance author who has a catalogue of dynamic love stories that also really teach you about history and what life was like for Black people in America. She’s in a class of her own, she’s your favorite romance author’s favorite romance author.
And that’s a wrap on Anita of @booksinherhands, our Bookstagrammer of the Week! Make sure that you head on over to Instagram and drop a follow on her page! Also be on the lookout for our graphic feature for Anita that will be posted on our official account–@bookstrofficial! Our Bookstagrammer specialist–Karly Kolehouse–has created something gorgeous to showcase Anita’s Bookstagram!
If you want more Bookstagrammer of the Week content, you can read about last week’s feature here!