Imagine this. You’re walking down the street in sunny Australia, on the lookout for abnormally large spiders and snakes that are right out of your worst nightmares when you think: “Wow, it’s gorgeous here! I really want to find a Bookstagram account that has the iconic backdrop of New South Wales.” Well, we at Bookstr are here to solve your dilemma. Our Bookstagrammer of the Week, Jess of @bookishbiologist, is the account you’re searching for!
Interview is edited for ease of reading of our audience.
Where are you from?
I’m from sunny New South Wales, Australia.
Ahh, yes. Home of Sydney, the origin of the classic band, 5 Seconds of Summer. I’m familiar, that’s a fun fact about New South Wales! Now, what’s a fun fact about you?
I have five unfinished novels in my proverbial top drawer. The one with the most progress has 40K words so far, and I fantasise about the day when I actually finish it, even if only for myself.
I mean who among us doesn’t have a few unfinished manuscripts? I would be really interested to read your works if you ever got published! Speaking of published works, where is your favorite place to buy books?
Not quite a bookstore, but the Lifeline Australia Bookfest is where I love to get books from (massive book fair with all proceeds going to a good cause).
Now, I know y’all are just dying to learn more about Jess! So let’s really open up to each other.
You post a lot of pictures of your bookcases, out of all your books, which one has your favorite cover?
I am a sucker for special edition covers. It doesn’t even matter which one – say the words “special edition” and I will need it for the cover alone (even if I already have five copies… *cough* Throne of Glass *cough*).
I don’t know about you, but I play favorites when it comes to authors. Sometimes you’ll find one author and just consistently buy everything they create. Do you have a favorite author?
Favorite authors of all time are Sarah J. Maas and Colleen Hoover.
Both great choices! And I know it is hard, but you had to know this was coming. Do you have any favorite books?
Personally, I’m all over fan culture. Especially fandom life! Do you have any favorite fandoms? All of the SJM fandoms!
Sometimes (to fit in with the masses) we book readers… fib. I know! Breaking the sacred oath. Do you have any books that you’ve claimed to read but really didn’t?
I don’t remember the title, however, there was an assignment I was supposed to do in high school on a book that I *may* have briefly skimmed through.
I don’t think we can fault you for that! Everyone does that… right? So say you were able to secure a lifetime of books from any source, which would you choose?
The hard-drive from the computer of Sarah J. Maas.
Let’s ask the real hard-hitting questions. Time to get down to business as the song says. We’ve broken the ice with Jess, scratched the surface really. So let’s trigger the avalanche. Why did you first start your Bookstagram, @bookishbiologist?
I started my Bookstagram almost by accident. I came across beautiful photos featuring books while scrolling through Instagram and Pinterest, and thought “hey, I might give this a try! And here we are over three years later, and I’m still here!
Now looking at your Instagram feed, I’m blown away. How would you describe the aesthetic or theme that you tend to follow?
Bright and airy, with a dash of homestyle.
Running with that dash of homestyle, do you apply that to how your run your page? In other words, do you have a special approach to your content at all?
Keep it simple. I use our little home library as my backdrop for most of my bookish photos, and cat photos can be anywhere (depending on when I can sneak in a snap or two!) This also means barely any clean-up from photos which is the bane of taking bookish photos!
I did notice that you have two cuties running around, Charlie and Fox. It’s definitely a job taking care of another animal, much less two! How often are you able to post on your Bookstagram?
On average, once a day. That being said, I may miss a day here and there, or get super excited and post three times in one day.
I think we’re on the way to being fast friends, Jess! Just have to do something about that pesky ocean, am I right? This will be a determining factor of our friendship though, who is your fictional crush at the moment?
Rowan Whitethorn (Throne of Glass series).
No hesitation in that answer folks! We talked earlier about fan culture and fandoms. Which author would you throw down to take a selfie with?
Colleen Hoover! I need to practice my CoHo death stare in advance.
An iconic picture in the making! Colleen Hoover is definitely a fan favorite around our teams too! I’ve got a few of her books on my TBR right now. Honestly, my TBR is just begging me to relieve it. But since we’re on the topic (how serendipitous), what’s on your current TBR list?
Will likely be the cause of my death as it threatens to crush me on any given day. There are so many on it!
Despite my rough exterior, I’m actually quite sensitive and this sensitive soul is dying to know: what do you want your Bookstagram to bring to the world?
I nominate my bookstagram as “The Happy Place” and that’s what I’d like to bring to the world, through bright, happy, book features and a few cat photos!
You talk about wanting your Bookstagram to be dubbed The Happy Place. Obviously, having this platform and this community is something you stumbled upon all those years ago. What does your Bookstagram mean to you?
Bookstagram is a supportive, creative outlet for me which as someone who is naturally introverted and non-creative, makes it a wonderful platform to have at my fingertips!
When did you know you had made it as a Bookstagrammer?
The first time someone said they fangirled over me (this was the lovely @_bookworm94_). I couldn’t believe someone would be excited to be connected with little old me, and it was the most beautiful spark to our friendship!
That’s such an awesome memory! Bookstagram definitely offers the opportunity to make new bookish friends! Do you have any Bookstagram accounts that you fangirl over, similar to Tara and you?
There are so many! I’ve made some seriously amazing friendships through Bookstagram.
Just to name a few!
Do you have any additional bookishness that you want our audience to be aware of?
Bookstagram was the catalyst for my bookish business! In January 2020, I opened a little online store @charlieandfoxco (formerly @craft_of_stars) and the bookish world has thrown an enormous amount of love and support at it, and I’m super excited to continue the journey into the future.
As your final send-off, do you have any sage words of advice for us or any aspiring Bookstagrammers out there?
Break the rules. Don’t feel like you have to stick to a theme, a certain layout, a schedule. At the end of the day, create content *you* love, do it on the timeline that suits your life, and don’t ever feel like you have to apologise for not “keeping up” with anyone or anything.
I would like to formally apologize to my roommate who has to listen to me read this interview in a horrific (truly quite terrible) Australian accent. It’s really a disgrace to just… everyone really. However, the situation calls for it because after learning about Jess, the Australian accent has slipped into my daily cache of bad accents (as if my own Texan twang wasn’t enough)!
Are you craving more Bookstagrammers? Well, be sure to check out Alexis for a sickly sweet feed, here!