I've recently faced a reading slump and I can assure you that it was no mean fun. I picked up best-seller after best-seller but quickly abandoned them with no real idea as to why nothing was holding my attention. Of course, it's no secret that navigating this pandemic has created a constantly shifting goal post that forces us to find new ways to do things that were once second nature. I have loved reading since I was a child and not being interested in reading felt like being adrift on a stormy sea with no land in sight. I felt lost.
Eventually, I thought long and hard about the resources available to me and realized that I wasn't using them. Sure, books are important but sometimes it's the little extras that make the difference. Think about fries without ketchup or a parade without music... a pretty gloomy picture I'm painting for you, huh?
So I turned to the experts: bookstagrammers.
These readers/photographers/reviewers/amateur librarians are so skilled at what they do that some of them are known to read more than one book a day and even more than one book at a time. I asked seven of my Bookstagram friends for advice and I was surprised by the ingenious ways they've found to help them power through so many great books. All seven of them not only gave me their personal picks for a book recommendation that will get you out of your slump, they also tossed in their secret weapons that make reading twice as nice. I myself eventually came up with my secret weapon: finding a comfy spot outdoors. These fun hammock chairs (30% off until May 11th) are perfect for outdoor reading so grab yours.
Where do I begin with this Antiguan beauty? We met on Instagram a while back and since then she's one of my most ardent supporters and never fails to fill my comments with some mischief. Her photos are fabulous and she's never afraid to give you the low-down on which book she likes...or doesn't like.
Book rec: Hurricane Summer by Asha Bromfield
Reading accessory: Soothing R&B music (don't worry: I managed to score you a free Amazon music subscription)
If you're looking for fiction, personal improvement and a great mix of self-published and traditional kids and adult books, Vanessa's Instagram page is the place to be. Packed with a wide range of books, her feed is testimony to the joys of reading widely.
She's also the creator of the hashtag #babyaustinreads which focuses on a wide range of children's books.
Book rec: The Vanishing Girls by Callie Browning (*blushes*)
Reading accessory: Sudio ear buds (get 15% off with her code VEEREADS) and her 15lb weighted blanket
Shanz Lit Adventures is the home of Jamaican bookstagrammer, traveller, singer and all-around sweetheart, Shanique, whose university degree in English gives her an insightful perspective when it comes to literature. Her beautifully curated photos are an ode to island life featuring pools, swimsuits and freshly cut coconuts among others. She was recently featured by the Jamaican Gleaner so click here to find out more about this multi-talented reader.
Reading accessory: Tea Times or Shirleys
(classic Bajan snacks that are Callie approved!)
Visitors to my Instagram page will surely have heard of BookMeByNatalie by now. My Trini friend has effectively created two TBRs for me: mine and hers. The irony is that I suspect her side is longer. But I digress. Natalie also faced a reading slump recently but she quickly bounced right back. She attributes it to discovering an incredible new Grenadian author and her blanket which she cuddles up with when she reads.
Book rec: The Bone Readers by Jacob Ross
Reading accessory: Blanket
This Browne Girl Reads
Boasting a huge online following, This Browne Girl Reads is one of the most respected bookstagrammers around. Her Facebook page is like a digital literary walk of fame: she's interviewed acclaimed author Bernice McFadden, New York Times best-seller Brit Bennet and even a Bajan author named Callie Browning. So you must know that a book recommendation from this lady is bound to be a good one.
Book rec: Summer on the Bluffs by Sunny Hostin
Reading accessory: Black tea and condensed milk
Dominican and full of joy, Michelle-Lee can be found @sweatingtillimakeittoo and her colourful feed will be a treat for your senses. I am in love with her quick wit and insightful world view and all of this is fully reflected in every photo and caption she posts. As usual, Michelle-Lee upped the ante when I asked for suggestions. She is a huge fan of audiobooks so of course, she gave me an option that showcased her love for this rapidly exploding book category.
Book rec: Grown by Tiffany D. Jackson
Reading accessory: Sudio Ear Buds
Keeping You On Read
Becca runs one of my favourite Instagram pages. Her reviews offer some of the most well-rounded advice I've ever come across, offering followers a breakdown of who might and might not like the books she's read and comparable books to give you an idea of why you'd like them. Our DMs are full of fun, varied conversations and for that reason, she's also the bookstagrammer I'm most likely to start a podcast with (we still have no idea what it would be about...it would be just as random as we are)
Book rec: An Earl, The Girl and A Toddler
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30% off BONUS!
It's summer so outdoor reading is a must. I found an amazing deal on these fabulous hammock chairs but the offer ends at 11:59 P.M EST on 11th May. They're 30% off (yes, really) so hurry before they're gone.