MILANO – Following our interviews with Bookishbronte and James Trevino, we are back with our series of interviews with famous “bookstagrammers” across the world. Today we introduce you to Resh Susan, alias The Book Satchel, whose blog and Instagram profile are just perfect if you are looking for good reviews and amazing pictures. Here is how Susan presents herself: «Resh Susan eats words and creates stories. When she isn’t reading, writing, editing or clicking pictures, she advocates her love for broccoli to anyone who crosses her path. She blogs at The Book Satchel and is often engrossed in creative pursuits where she tries to find the magic in the ordinary».
How did you come up with the idea of using your Instagram profile in order to express your passion for books?
It was a completely random decision. I was toying the idea of starting my book blog as a distraction. Then it came round to taking pictures of books I wished to talk about and my Instagram journey began. I had no idea Bookstagram, as the bookish community of Instagram is fondly called, was such a huge community full of warm and kind people. I began to fall in love with photography and the people; the rest is history.
Do you succeed in getting closer to young people who love reading? Which posts are the ones that create more engagement among them?
Definitely! Instagram and for that matter even Twitter, are super handy because they let you connect instantly with readers. Most people check these platforms nearly everyday which surely helps in staying connected. I’ve discovered so many new books, taken part in read alongs and even hosted a few. We live in a fast world so many have started using Instagram as micro blog posts as well. My best engagement comes from new books, creative shots, classics and also for discussion questions where I try to involve the audience to listen to their point of view. Every March, I host #femmemarch, a hashtag to celebrate women and their work and it has had incredible response so far.
What do you think about the fact that young people are giving up books?
I think youngsters are really enthusiastic about reading even now, just that they consume books in different mediums – as audio books, e-books and physical books. Reading and talking about books has gotten an elevated status thanks to the social media and also the recent surge in TV adaptations from books. Some don’t feel the urge to pick a book because the world is zooming past us at such a great speed that young people don’t find the time to sit and savour a book, which is a time consuming process. Also, we need to let young people discover their tastes in books rather than force them to read what we believe they should. Times have changed and what was relevant to us is no longer relevant to them. So we should give them the space to grow and find themselves.
What do you think about social media as a tool to express such a passion? Is Instagram the best platform to do that?
I think social media is a fabulous way to try out new things and find your passion. It gives you a blank canvas and you can be anything you like regardless of what you do for a living in your real life. I’ve seen so many rediscover their love for painting, arts, books, music, knitting, technology, reading, manufacturing, entrepreneurship and so on after they started exploring themselves on social media. Instagram is a wonderful place and my favourite community because people here are the kindest compared to other social media platforms. Instagram is definitely a great place to start if you are willing to devote some time to taking pictures, because after all it is a visual platform; it has the best kind of people.
You are young. Which books should young people read?
Being young is all about experimenting and discovering your tastes. Read what you love, not what everyone else is reading. Check out books of different genres, books set in different lands and cultures, translated books and under rated novels. Leave aside books that don’t inspire you or lure you into them. They can wait for a later time in your lives; or maybe they’d never cross paths with you again. Read books that draw you in, devour them and all is well. My recent recommendations for young people would be Normal People by Sally Rooney (literary, a love story), The Poppy War by R. F. Kuang (fantasy, set in a military academy) and One Hundred Nights of Hero (graphic novel, about female empowerment and storytelling traditions).
You can find the Italian version of this interview here