Finding Home and Heart in Books With Fantastic Bookstagrammer JC!

This week’s Bookstagrammer is JC Grenn at @jcgrenn_reads! Looking for thought-provoking literature recommendations? Read to learn more about him!

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A collage of photos from JC Grenn's Bookstagram. On a wooden background with autumn leaves, a large image of JC posing behind a book stack, in front of a shelf, and then two images of his books, are placed side-by-side.

If you love reading honest, thoughtful book reviews, receiving a wide array of extraordinary reading recommendations, or love aesthetic images of books, we have a Bookstagrammer for you! Introducing JC Grenn @jcgrenn_reads, a book reviewer, book lover, and artist on Instagram who provides readers with a diverse selection of stories paired with beautiful bookish photos. Spreading the joys and comforts of reading since the pandemic, JC is fully immersed in the bookish world and is sharing that insight with his followers. In this interview, we learn more about him and his fantastic page!

Photo of Bookstagrammer JC Grenn in a dark green suit in front of a wall with the National Book Awards logo.
IMAGE VIA JC GRENN @JCGRENN_READS

JC Grenn of @jcgrenn_reads

Instagram

Thank you for joining us! Let’s begin the interview!

Where are you from?

Hattiesburg, Mississippi.

Why did you start your Bookstagram?

In March 2020, everything shut down, and I said, hey, what about a “Coronavirus Book Club?” My Bookstagram was originally @coronavirusbookclub and featured amazing authors on Zoom conversations about their books, including Rumaan Alam, Deesha Philyaw, and Douglas Stuart.

Photo of Bookstagrammer JC Grenn posing above a lined-up stack of books, with three extra books laying horizontally on top of the stack. He holds a thumbs up.
IMAGE VIA JC GRENN @JCGRENN_READS

What do you want your Instagram to bring to the world?

This is a space for joy and a little chaos. I believe that books [and] stories are powerful agents of change. This is a spot to highlight stories and the people who create them.

Bookstagram photo collage. Surrounding a modern typewriter are four stacks of books and journals. To the left are graphic pencils and pens. In front are three colorful hardcover books and a small journal with two pigeons on the cover. Everything is on a dark hardwood surface.
IMAGE VIA JC GRENN @JCGRENN_READS

What are your favorite books or who are your favorite authors?

  • Jesmyn Ward
  • Anthony Doerr
  • Carlos Ruíz Zafon
  • Julia Phillips
  • John Steinbeck
Bookstagram collage for the novel Martyr by Kaveh Akbar. The book itself, with a bright yellow cover and blue annotation tabs poking out of the pages, lies on top of a notebook with a doodle of a giraffe in an ornate but homely room. The left is a newspaper page of a book review for Martyr, a stamp, and a case of black drawing pens. Everything is on a dark hardwood surface.
IMAGE VIA JC GRENN @JCGRENN_READS

What’s your special approach to content?

Real books in hand, patience with portrait mode, usually outside, a little bit of sunshine, and a hopefully thoughtful review! When inspired, I like to make doodles to accompany reviews as well. [It] really helps me feel connected to the work in a fresh way.

North Woods by Daniel Woods placed on multiple cut tree trunks in the woods.
IMAGE VIA JC GRENN @JCGRENN_READS

What’s your favorite bookstore?

Lemuria Books in Jackson, MS! @lemuriabooks

Bear by Julia Phillips placed on a large brown tree trunk. Dandelion flowers, along with three purple flowers and two pink, frame the book.
IMAGE VIA JC GRENN @JCGRENN_READS

Which author would you like to take a selfie with?

Currently, I would LOVE to take a selfie with Melissa Mogollon. Her upcoming novel OYE is hilarious and brilliant. FYI, the best place to get a selfie with your favorite author is the Mississippi Book Festival! It’s on September 14th this year—don’t miss it.

Photo of Bookstagrammer JC Grenn holding the book This Other Eden by Paul Harding in a bookstore.
IMAGE VIA JC GRENN @JCGRENN_READS

What are your favorite book covers?

I could do this all day, but I love the U.S. covers of North Woods, Popisho, Glorious Exploits, and Entangled Life. I really love the U.K. cover of LOOT as well.

A stack of hardcover literary fiction books on a wooden bench outside. Blurry in the background are lush green shrubs and a blue sky.
IMAGE VIA JC GRENN @JCGRENN_READS

When did you know you had made it as a Bookstagrammer?

I got a surprise invite to go to the National Book Awards afterparty in 2023 and said YES in about 8 seconds. [It was] truly a highlight of what Bookstagram has added to my life so far.

Thank you to JC for interviewing with us and giving a behind the scenes view of his stunning Bookstagram! Make sure to follow him @jcgrenn_reads!


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FEATURED IMAGE VIA BOOKSTR/KARLY KOLEHOUSE