Looking to add more beautifully photographed books to your Instagram feed, then you’ve come to the right place! Each week, Bookstr features those individuals, bookstagrammers, sharing their love of books, and all things literary through their Instagram. Today, we spoke with @estherthreetimes about her bookstagram journey, fondness for the book community, and her warm, rustic profile. Check out her interview below!
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Why did you start your Bookstagram:
I had originally started my online book lover’s journey as a book blogger. I started my blog around five to six years ago and bonded with @paperfury. She would often reference her Bookstagram, and it intrigued me! I decided to give it a try. I had never once tried my hand at any sort of photography, but I’ve always loved art and pretty things! So, I guess in a way, you can blame @paperfury for my Bookstagram shenanigans! Eventually, I decided that I loved Bookstagram much more than I loved regular blogging, so that tapered off, and I deleted my blog. Or rather, I didn’t renew my domain ownership. And now, here we are, four years later!
Where are you from:
I’m from… well, I was born in Washington and moved around a TON as a kid, but the place I consider ‘back home’ is San Diego, California, where my mom and two of my sisters still live. I’ve lived in Germany for the last eight years, though!
What do you want your Instagram to bring to the world:
I’ve always wanted my Bookstagram to be a place where other people with similar tastes could bond over the books we love, and it has been. It’s been so amazing to see other people buying books because I liked them, and I’ve discovered so many new amazing books from other Bookstagrammers whose opinions I trust because we like the same things! I think that’s what Bookstagram is all about, and the community is the kindest, safest online community I’ve ever come across.
Fun Fact about you:
A snack I’ve always loved and will continue to love is french fries dipped in chocolate ice cream. It doesn’t get much better than that.
Oh god, how’s a girl to choose? There are so many accounts I love and that inspire me for different reasons. Of course, I have to mention @paperfury again! Also, @goodwomanofthewoods, @lo.reads, @stefiereads, @bibliophile.belle, and @sabrinafelizitas!
Favorite Books and Authors:
Favorites. It’s a word I’ve been allergic to most of my life, ha. I’m one of those people who always say, ‘I could never pick a favorite!’ BUT, I will try!
I will never stop obsessing over The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert and The Wicked Deep by Shea Ernshaw. Some other favorites are Uprooted by Naomi Novik, Clockwork Princess by Cassandra Clare (I know it’s the last book in the trilogy, but honestly, no book has ever made me cry so hard in my life), Nevernight by Jay Kristoff, and Shades of Magic by V.E. Schwab. Is that too many?? I can’t decide.
Some of my favorite classics are Pride and Prejudice, Jane Eyre, and The Picture of Dorian Gray. There are so many I want to read that I haven’t yet, so I’m sure there are many undiscovered favorites!
My favorite authors are Melissa Albert, Shea Ernshaw, V.E. Schwab, Jay Kristoff, and Leigh Bardugo (as in: I own almost every book they’ve ever written and would buy anything they write in a heartbeat).
I’ve never been one for fictional crushes. I’m usually infatuated with whatever character I’m reading at the time, but nothing really sticks. The one SINGLE exception to that is Holland, from the Shades of Magic books. Every. Single. Time. I think of him and my entire being melts.
How much time do we have here?
I don’t really make lists of books that I mean to read because I never stick to them when I do. I usually just stare at my shelves until one of the books I haven’t read yet (and there are many) jumps out at me. The books I’m hoping to read next are all the spooky middle-grade books I could get my hands on. Next up is probably Coraline by Neil Gaiman!
What’s Your Special Approach to Content:
That’s an interesting question because I never thought of myself as having a ‘special approach.’ I suppose my approach would be technically phrased as ‘winging it.’ I like to have at least one edible or drinkable feature whenever I can (because it’s super aesthetic and cozy, but it’s mostly so I can snack while I’m shooting). I gather all the books that I want to feature or that I haven’t had a chance to photograph yet, and all the props I want to use. I’ll then pick and choose the books I feel inspired by the most and build a set around them, going by feel. Sometimes I’ll get inspiration from past photos that I have liked really well, and of course, I also get inspiration from other accounts that I love. For the most part, I let the creativity flow by letting it come as I work. I like to have a show running on the side, and sometimes my cats will jump in to assist!
Aesthetic / Instagram page theme:
I would describe my aesthetic as rustic, with a hint of cottage core. I always struggled with pinpointing how to describe it, but I’ve gotten many cottage core comments lately, and if the shoe fits…. I also try to bring a touch of whimsy in when I can.
How often do you post:
When I started, I posted every single day. For me, that was just too much. Now, I try to post a few times a week, but I will give myself time off if the thought of posting makes me anxious at that moment. I’ve learned that it’s really important for me to listen to my intuition so that Bookstagram stays something I love and doesn’t turn into something to stress about.
What does your Bookstagram mean to you:
For me, it’s a community. I love to talk about books and random things and share what I’ve read but also share bits about my life and talk to people who have had similar situations. It’s a place that I’ve met a few really good friends; something I never really imagined could happen. It’s a sanctuary and a place where I can be wholly myself, and I hope a safe place where others feel they can be themselves, too.
I have to admit that I don’t do a lot of in-bookstore shopping here since bookstores have only a limited English book selection. I do try to order from independent bookstores in my city, though if they can order the ones I’m looking for!
Who would you have supply you with a lifetime of books:
The Folio Society. I’m always drooling over their gorgeous covers and illustrated editions. They can be pretty pricey though, so I don’t own all of the ones I would like to! If they wanted to send me any book I fancied for the rest of my life, I wouldn’t complain….
Author to take a selfie with:
If I had to choose, I think I’d go with V.E. Schwab, but if I’m truly being myself, I would say I’d never ask an author to take a selfie. I know that sounds weird, but it’s me.
Favorite book cover:
God. There are so many stunning covers that are beautiful for different reasons. If I HAVE to choose, I’ll say The Binding by Bridget Collins. The dust jacket has stunning art, and underneath, it’s just a mass of dazzling gold foiling that I cannot get enough of.
Book you have claimed to have read that you didn’t:
I think I only did that when I was little. Usually, I would say that I had read a classic that I hadn’t so I could feel more studious. I think the last time I did that was when I was like 9, ha.
When did you know you had made it as a Bookstagrammer:
Have I made it? I guess I deal with impostor syndrome a lot. Plus, I’m still me, and I don’t really know what ‘making it’ is. I’m so ordinary! How can someone so ordinary make it? This is starting to sound really sad, but I don’t mean it to be. It’s just that, while some people may see my account as having made it, for me, there will always be those accounts that I look up to and feel so plain next to, who are the definition of having ‘made it,’ to me. So after rambling unnecessarily, I’ll always be striving to improve upon myself. If I think I’ve made it, what’s the point in continuing to nurture my growth?
Wow, I’m so philosophical.
Does folklore/fairytales/mythology count as a fandom?
I’ve never been much of a fandom person in the traditional sense of the word, but if I had to choose one fandom that resonates most with me, I’d probably choose Lord of the Rings. Plus, the aesthetics there are on point.
Advice for aspiring Bookstagrammers:
Just go for it. Don’t wait. The more you post and the more photos you take, the more you’ll grow, and the better you’ll get. Be you. Read what you like, and share it! That’s the only way you’ll find true kindred spirits. Don’t be afraid to try new things. You might surprise yourself! But it’s most important to have fun. Without the fun, Bookstagram can start to feel like a chore, so make sure that you are posting for yourself, first and foremost.
Nothing warms my heart so much as when an author comments on one of my photos of their book! It’s always such an honor. (Wow, I’m making it sound like it happens to me all the time. BAHAHA. It doesn’t. But when it does, I fangirl a little bit inside!)