I stumbled across Abbie’s Bookstagram page (@ab_reads) a few months ago and was mesmerised by the gorgeous pictures and the obvious passion she has for reading. I also love her amazing captions because they are so well written and honest – always a winning combination. So, it was a thrill when she agreed to be interviewed for our Journal.
Rachida, Founder of Rama Publishing (R): Could you please tell us a bit more about yourself?
Abbie, creator of @ab_reads (A): My name is Abbie, I’m 22 years old and from the North East of England! I’m currently a postgraduate student studying for my MA in Translation Studies in French and Italian into English. And I love books. A LOT.
R: Where did your passion for reading come from?
A: I’ve loved books ever since I could read. I have tonnes of memories from when I was a kid pouring over books, from Enid Blyton through to Jacqueline Wilson as I got older, and of course always Harry Potter. My whole family loved Harry Potter, my stepdad eventually started buying multiple copies of the later books as they came out so that my mam and I could read them at the same time! I was very lucky to have parents who encouraged my bookworm habits from a young age.
R: What author have you recently discovered and thought “Wow, where has he/she been all my life?” What did you like about them?
A: Robin Hobb! She writes the most perfect escapism fantasy I’ve ever read, her books are huge yet I’ve flown through every one because they’re just so immersive. Her Liveship Traders trilogy has some of the best female characters I’ve come across in fantasy, which is very important to me!
R: Could you tell us about a book that helped you get through a tough time in your life? What was it and how did it help you?
A: I’ve been lucky and not really had any really difficult periods in my life. But during my first and second year of university I did overwork myself, I wasn’t managing my time properly (I could have used one of your planners then!) and so my reading fell by the wayside. Then, on a whim, I decided to join a book club and they were reading The Secret History by Donna Tartt. That book reignited my passion for reading fiction, and I resolved to make more time for it.
R: This is such a hard question for a book lover but…what is your favourite book and why?
A: Such a mean question! If we’re excluding Harry Potter which is a given favourite, then I think The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood. Although terrifying, that book is so powerful and important, it blew me away when I read it a few years ago. It’s completely relevant to today’s issues on gender equality, and Atwood confronts those issues with such eloquence and power, as well as creativity.
R: (Another tough one) What is your favourite quote from a book and why do you like it?
A: Oh I’m terrible at remembering quotes! One I can always remember though is from a book I haven’t even read yet! It’s from one of my favourite authors Stephen King’s memoir, On Writing: ‘Books are a uniquely portable magic’. Have truer words ever been spoken? There’s no magic quite like being transported by a good book.
R: Why did you start your Instagram page and what has the experience been like from when you began until now?
A: I started it just over two years ago and the experience has been completely positive the entire time! I stumbled on the bookstagram hashtag one day and I instantly thought, YES I want to do this. So I posted a photo of my current read, and I was away! Book lovers are a different breed of people, they’re kind and compassionate and always interesting. I’ve met some incredible friends thanks to Instagram, including my best friend Johann who I’ve actually met up with several times!
R: What are the top 3 tips you can give to someone who wants to follow in your footsteps?
A: Let’s see. Okay, 1. Post about books you’re truly passionate about. Even if they aren’t ‘popular’ books, your passion will shine through and you’ll meet likeminded bookworms. 2. Engagement is crucial. I always try to comment on the posts of people I follow, because I’m interested in their content obviously, but if you’re not willing to interact with other people, why should they interact with you? 3. Just have fun with it! If you’re not enjoying what you’re posting then it will be obvious and you will likely fall into a slump. It’s not a job, just a fun community of book nerds who want to talk books!
If you are reader, then you need to follow Abbie on Instagram (@ab_reads) and Goodreads. Her passion will make you want to read even more, plus you will get some amazing book recommendations. We love hearing about people who see something they like and just go for it, it's very inspiring. Thank you Abbie for being such an amazing interviewee!