You Know I Love a London Girl Bookstagrammer of the Week: @hw.reads

Trip to London anyone? It is time for Bookstr’s Bookstagrammer of the Week and this week we are talking with Hannah of @hw.reads!

Book Culture Bookstagram Fiction Recommendations

Hi! How are ya? Welcome back to my channel–if you don’t get the reference, it’s here! No, but I am back to bombard you with another Bookstagrammer of the Week that you just have to check out. We get to travel to quite a few places and we’ve been overseas a few times, but this week, we’re heading to London! Think, fashion. Think, books. Think, the publishing world. Think, Hannah of @hw.reads on Bookstagram! Yes, all of these are synonymous with our latest Bookstagrammer of the Week. Be sure to stick around so you can learn all about our London girl!

Hannah Whittaker

Bookstagram | London Runway Book Club | Goodreads

Two images side by side. 

On the left, our Bookstagrammer of the Week, Hannah, sits in a bright yellow top. She is smiling at the camera while holding two books, one of which is The Authenticity Project by Clare Pooley. 

On the right, Hannah is holding a copy of Abigail Bergstrom's What a Shame against her chest. She is wearing a white sweater with a beige scarf draped around her neck. A great CD mini bag sits on her shoulder.

Images posted by our Bookstagrammer of the Week, Hannah of @hw.reads
cr. Hannah / @hw.reads

If you aren’t familiar with our Bookstagrammer of the Week series, I’ll let you in on the nitty-gritty of it! Every week our fabulous outreach team–shoutout to Lindsay and the team, you guys are really getting us together!–talks with Bookstagram accounts that we just can’t seem to let go of. Sometimes we follow a uniting theme, like Black History Month, Indigenous History Month, etc. Other times, we’ll just happen upon blossoming or flourishing accounts and see if they’re open to a collaboration with us!

For the most part, though, Bookstagrammer of the Week allows us the opportunity to give the mic and our platform to someone who we think deserves your attention. That being said, this week we’re talking to Hannah of @hw.reads, who–let me tell you, is as cool as they come–not only runs a Bookstagram account, but also writes a Book Club column for a fashion magazine? She’s living the Andy Anderson fantasy–if you got the reference, we should be friends!

Let’s meet Hannah! Now I personally think the best way to get to know someone is through their villain origin story, but Hannah isn’t a villain–that role is to be filled by yours truly. So I guess we can deal with knowing her reader origin story.

So Hannah of @hw.reads, you clearly have a passion for reading–what with your Bookstagram account and Book Club column, plus just overall aura. When did you first get into reading?

I’ve always loved books and reading, but I properly got back into it a few years ago. In 2021/2022 I did a Masters in Publishing, so that obviously had a huge influence over how much I was reading. It was a wonderful year, because I had the time and reason to be reading a lot which was a dream. It’s tougher to find the time now that I’m working, which I’m sure is the same for most people. 

Two images side by side.

On the left, Hannah is wearing a tan shearling jacket and beige mini handbag over their shoulder. She is holding a stack of books to her chest. The books are [from left to right] Cleopatra and Frankenstein by Coco Mellors, Bunny by Mona Awad, Animal by Lisa Taddeo  and The Paris Apartment by Lucy Foley. 

On the right, Hannah is wearing a chocolate colored puffer jacket. She is holding a pair of books on top of her head, one book being The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt. She's smiling at her phone.

Images posted by our Bookstagrammer of the Week, Hannah of @hw.reads
cr. Hannah / @hw.reads

Wow! A Publishing MA, that’s really impressive. I feel like there’s a renewed vigor for the publishing world with the rise of platforms like Booktok and the increase in self-publishing. I know that I definitely had a decrease in the amount of reading I was doing while completing my degree, but the quality never changed.

I’m sure over your years of reading–and now working in the publishing world–you’ve come across books that made a lasting impact. What’s one book you would recommend everyone to read?

I have a love-hate relationship with this question, because it is almost impossible for me to pick out one favorite book. But, if I had to choose, it would probably be The Alchemist. It’s a short read and one that my sister gave to me when I was younger. In addition to it being amazingly written, there are so many messages intertwined within the story about following your dreams and listening to your heart that can resonate with the reader.

Another of my favorites is basically every book written by Kazuo Ishiguro. I am incredibly drawn to his writing style and get completely engrossed in his books, the most recent release being Klara and the Sun (read it!!).

I’ve kind of spoiled the answer to this question, but it’s a two-parter so I haven’t done too bad! Some of our readers will catch the Taylor Swift reference in the title. You are from London, but as Harry Styles says, “London’s quite big.”

Where are you from? And do you have a favorite bookshop–British–close to home?

I grew up in Kent, but I’m currently living in Chelsea. There’s a Waterstones a two-minute walk from my house which is dangerous, I always find myself in there even when I leave the house to do something else. I’m also near South Kensington Books and John Sandoe, two lovely little bookshops. I love supporting independent bookshops, and these two both have such nice atmospheres. I could go in and stay for hours without realizing. 

A stack of pink books (from top to bottom): Mrs. Caliban by Rachel Ingalls, Girl Meets Boy by Ali Smith, Sex & Rage by Eve Babitz, A Pale View of Hills by Kazou Ishiguro, Coversations on Love by Natasha Lunn, Everything Is Under Control by Phyllis Grant, My Year of Rest and Relaxation by Ottessa Moshfegh, Easier Ways to Say I Love You by Lucy Fry, The Virgin Suicides by Jeffrey Eugenides, and The Soul of A Woman by Isabel Allende.

Image posted by our Bookstagrammer of the Week, Hannah Whittaker of @hw.reads
cr. Hannah / @hw.reads

Another piece of fun tidbit knowledge about Hannah that I’ve mentioned previously, is that she writes for a fashion magazine–London Runway Mag! It is my personal belief that this love of fashion bleeds into her bookish content as much as her love of books bleeds into her fashionista content!

You have several posts that pair books with your outfits! Do you also have a deep passion for the fashion industry?

This is probably one of my favorite things to do on my page! Incorporating fashion into my page is super fun as I love clothes and accessories. It’s content that I love producing and it’s also content that people on Bookstagram enjoy seeing. I definitely have a passion for fashion, definitely a passion for spending all my money on clothes. It’s just another creative element of Bookstagram that I can integrate into my page which is really nice.

Spending all your money on clothes is something that I can relate to, much to my bank account’s chagrin. But can we talk about your feed for a second? This is rhetorical–of course–we HAVE to talk about your feed. I mean, it’s so bright!

Your account is eye-catching and saturated with color! What’s your special approach to making such engaging content?

I think naturally I’m quite a colorful and creative person, so when it comes to producing content for my page it doesn’t feel like an effort to capture something eye-catching and aesthetic. I like playing around with what content I put out, and seeing what people enjoy engaging with and watching. 

Two photos side by side. 

On the left stands Hannah wearing a bright pink cropped cardigan and a pair of light wash blue jeans. She is holding a stack of pink books. 

On the right, Hannah is lounging in the sun, atop a green and blue striped towel. She is wearing a pink, orange and purple two piece bikini. A copy of Emily Henry's Beach Read sits on her stomach.

Images posted by our Bookstagrammer of the Week, Hannah of @hw.reads
cr. Hannah / @hw.reads

As much as I don’t want to say it, our time with Hannah is soon to end. However, you don’t have to break off your flirtation with her at the end of this interview! Hannah is really active on her Instagram–@hw.reads–so you’re more than welcome to follow her and keep these good vibes going.

Before I ask my serious, final question, let’s do one more fun one! You have over 200 posts on your Bookstagram account, and let’s say–for my sake–that around half of those are book reviews. After reading that many books, after being influenced by your education, your life and upbringing, your position at the magazine, and any other factor that you want to consider, there must be a character–or two–that has stuck with you.

Which fictional character do you feel most connected to, and why?

So, I’m going to answer this from a slightly odd approach. One character which I was pulled toward was Lin, the main man in Shantaram. This book was just amazing in every way for me, and one that I’d recommend to everyone. The reason I didn’t put this one as my favorite book was down to the sheer size of it. It’s a beast. But Lin, I think because of the fact the book was based on a true story, and the writing was impeccable, Lin became one of my favorite characters that I have read. 

Obviously, the reason that I mentioned this might be an odd answer is because in no way are Lin and I similar in our lives, but I was able to connect with his persona in a way that doesn’t happen often for me. It’s a wonderful thing being able to open your book and completely delve into the life of another to the point where anytime that book isn’t in your hands you’re itching to get back to it.
cr. Hannah / @hw.reads on Instagram

We’ve made a habit of asking all of our Bookstagrammers a question about advice. Advice is something vital to aspiring Bookstagram accounts, to accounts that are already thriving, to accounts that have plateaued, and to anyone really. Teachable moments are all around us–this is a motto that more people should adopt.

What we want to ask Hannah is this: what is one thing your Bookstagram–@hw.reads–has taught you?

Bookstagram has taught me that no matter who you are or what you like, there will always be an amazing community of like-minded people waiting to support and celebrate you. I’ve met some incredible people through Bookstagram, and have experienced some amazing opportunities that I otherwise wouldn’t have come across. I’m so grateful for the people that I’ve met, the friends I’ve made, and the people that follow and support my page!

And there you have it, folks! That’s a wrap on Hannah of @hw.reads, our Bookstagrammer of the Week. Be on the lookout for our graphic feature that we’ll post for Hannah on our Instagram–@bookstrofficial! Our Bookstagrammer specialist–Karly Kolehouse–has created some absolutely stunning images that you just have to see to believe!

Are you craving more Bookstagrammer of the Week content from me? Check out last week’s feature here!