Book Grippers and Grief With Our Bookstagrammer of the Week: @wendureads

Black History Month, nail inspo, book recommendations and escaping reality–I’d say our Bookstagrammer of the Week is pretty awesome! Come meet Chinwendu of @wendureads!

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Well hi there! Funny running into you here! Oh, you must be here for our Bookstagrammer of the Week. What do you mean, “what am I talking about?” Bookstagrammer of the Week–our weekly series that features Bookstagram accounts that we can’t get out of our heads? Every time we do an article feature for them and then a collection of graphics that include quotes from their interview? You don’t know what we’re talking about? Well, stick around because I guarantee you’ll adore our latest Bookstagrammer! Chinwendu of @wendureads–a fellow Texas girlie–is here and ready for you to join the fray. She’s all about escaping reality through reading and giving you nail envy with her book grippers!

Chinwendu

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Bookstagrammer of the Week, Chinwendu of @wendureads

Book cover of Lucy Score's THINGS WE NEVER GOT OVER

Bookstagrammer of the Week, Chinwendu of @wendureads
cr. Chinwendu / @wendureads

I think the best way to get to know someone is by completely diving into the deep questions first. And this question may not seem like it’s that deep, but it can be. And personally, I’m excited to learn more about Chinwendu!

What inspired you to start your Bookstagram account–@wendureads?

To be very honest, grief did. As a kid, I was always a reader. Like a “spend lunch in the library” type of reader. But with college and post-graduate school, I had to put books on the back burner. Fast forward to 2020–peak COVID, 2 months to graduation from nursing school–and I lose my Dad to COVID. After graduation, there was no life in me at all, and an escape from real life was definitely necessary.

Books always gave that feeling of escape, so I turned back to that. I bought so many books within a 6 month period, it was crazy. I remember coming across a book post on my Instagram explore page once, and I was shocked by the world I discovered when I went down the hashtag rabbit hole. Can you imagine a world where only book lovers lived? I was so baffled. And I thought to myself, “what would it be like to be a part of this world?” On August 28th, 2021–my Dad’s birthday–I made the decision to join, and I’ve never looked back since. Getting to share some of my two favorite things–books and nails–has been so amazing. 

I’m so sorry for your loss. Grief is a funny thing. It affects everyone in a different way. I’m happy that you were able to find solace in books and reading.

Image of book pages, Chapter 17 featuring the nails of Chinwendu, our Bookstagrammer of the Week

Off-white high top Converse is holding up two books of Cresent City by Sarah J. Maas

Chinwendu is holding Maybe Someday by Colleen Hoover
cr. Chinwendu / @wendureads

As you were told, you’re a part of our Black History Month features for the month of February. Using reading as a form of escape or as a coping mechanism is awesome, but it’s no secret that Black voices and narratives aren’t pushed as much as their white counterparts.

Why is it important to you to highlight Black voiced narratives?

We have something to offer other than our suffering and struggles. There are new experiences and new perspectives to discover. There’s joy, sorrow, and love to discover. Supporting Black authors and writers opens one up to authentic storytelling that reflects Black voices and their identities. It offers the reader a chance to somewhat step into the character’s shoes and experience different perspectives that may be different from their own. 

Authentic storytelling and different perspectives are what we need in the book world. Honestly, it’s what quite a few readers are on the hunt for!

Do you have any favorite Black authors that our audience should check out to find what they’re looking for?

Recently, I’ve read books from these authors that have wowed me with their writing style and their ability to make you feel the characters’ emotions through the pages–Kennedy Ryan, Akwaeke Emezi, Onyi Nwabineli, Denise Williams, and Tia Williams

I see on your Instagram that you’ve got a book count going for the year! You’re doing better than I have so far this year. I think I’ve made it through about half of my first read?

Did you create any reading goals for yourself?

I’ve never been one to track how many books I read a year, so I decided to set a reading goal of 50 books just for fun, but the goal is to surpass that of course. Every year I set a goal to read as diversely as possible and to try to incorporate one or two books that aren’t typically one of my go-to genres.

Reading as diversely as possible is a great goal! I haven’t heard that one before, but I know that there’s been a surge in our audience looking for more diverse reads.

Seeing as how February is Black History Month, what are some books that you recommend to us to read this month?

First things first, read Black all year long! But of course, I incorporated some Black books into my TBR this month – Someday, Maybe by Onyi Nwabineli; The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett; and Dele Weds Destiny by Tomi Obaro.

Annotated hardcover of YOU MADE A FOOL OF DEATH WITH YOUR BEAUTY by Akwaeke Emezi

Bookstagrammer of the Week, Chinwendu lounging in the sun with a book

Book cover of LOVE IN COLOUR by Bolu Babalola
cr. Chinwendu / @wendureads

We’ve just two more questions for Chinwendu! But that doesn’t have to be the end of your love affair with her and her book grippers! Head on over to @wendureads on Instagram to see every gorgeous nail set and honest book review from Chinwendu.

Now that there’s a focus on Black voices and narratives, what do you hope to see more of within Black literature?

I hope to see more joy to be honest. Not only do we need more of that in our community, but also in the world today. I’d also like to see more Black women in places of power as main characters. 

Joy. This is a common request among our Black History Month features and a sentiment that we share with you here at Bookstr. Our final question is more of an inquiry than a question.

What’s a fun fact about yourself that you’d like to share with the group?

I actually went to college at age 15, graduated at age 19, and secured three separate degrees before age 23. 

That’s a wrap on our latest Bookstagrammer of the Week! As I mentioned, Chinwendu will have a graphic feature on our Instagram–@bookstrofficial–that you should definitely check out because they’re just so damn cute! And just like Chinwendu said to read Black all year, support Black creators! This is a space for every kind of creator that you can imagine–as long as they’re bookish, who are we to discriminate?

Want more Bookstagrammer of the Week content from us at Bookstr? Click here!

FEATURED IMAGE VIA CHINWENDU / @WENDUREADS & KARLY KOLEHOUSE / BOOKSTR