If you’re into books and sharing your love of books through pictures, then you might know of Bookstagram – that’s what the bookish side of Instagram is called. I am a Bookstagrammer myself, started off in November 2017 but it was only in July 2018 that I dipped into the vast world that was Bookstagram. Late into my first stint, I discovered someone who loved books and told stories through pictures of books. And I couldn’t believe my eyes. I kicked myself for not having discovered her account before.
Elizabeth Sagan is from Romania and a Bookstagrammer par excellence. Go take a look at her pictures and I’m sure you will love them too!
She quickly became someone who I admire and who inspires me to no end. Not only because her pictures are beautiful, but also because I find her to be a fun person to talk to. She’s sweet and helpful and wacky – things that I love to no end!
So when I decided to start a Bookstagrammer Interview section here, I knew she was the one I’d like to start the section with. I collaborated with her on a reading tips video on my YouTube channel before (lucky me!) and I got lucky again when she agreed to do this interview with me!
Read through what she had to say and you’ll see why I’m gushing so much!
(MB: Melodramatic Bookworm; ES: Elizabeth Sagan)
MB: When did you start reading? Tell us about your love for everything bookish.
ES: My father used to sit me by his side and have me read aloud while he was working. I was reading back then, but I wasn’t a true bookworm. I only did it because I had to.
When it comes to my love for books, that came to me in 7th grade. There are many events that amassed to this, like reading LOTR in 5th grade and Harry Potter after that, finding a drawing of a demon falling in love with an angel in a W.I.T.C.H. comic and thinking it had something to do with the book carrying the same name by Dan Brown (I was wrong), seeing my classmates reading on recess and wondering how they can focus in all that noise. It truly clicked when I stumbled upon Magyk by Angie Sage. They say you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, but the only reason why I wanted that book was because I had already created a story based on the snake eating its own tail that was on the cover. The book ended up being nothing like what I imagined it to be, but it sparked the flame.
When my father saw that, he started buying me books, and I still remember when he came home one day with one meter of fantasy books that he placed on my desk. Eragon and Bartimaeus were among them. I didn’t even know what they were about, but I devoured them nonetheless, and then for a few years after that I read everything that fell into my hands.
MB: When did you start Bookstagramming? How has the journey been so far?
ES: I started Bookstagramming at the beginning of 2016 to re-connect with the publishing world after a long reading slump. I had no idea what was being published anymore and I needed people to tell me what is new and trendy. The journey has been surprising to say the least. I didn’t image I’d get to the point where I am now in the community. But one thing leads to another and here we are.
MB: What do you do when you’re not doing anything bookish/Bookstagramming? What are your other hobbies?
ES: I’m… watching movies? Biking? Jogging? But for the past couple of months I barely did any of that. It seems like my life is 90% books and I’m not even kidding. Almost every activity I’m doing is bookish to some extent.
MB: How do you come up with ideas for your AMAZING pictures?
ES: Every interview has this question – the one question I feel like I can never answer truthfully. To be honest, it just happens. Most of the time I just combine two elements – for example – the pages of an open book look like an open mouth, so maybe I can place them over my open mouth and make it seem like I’m screaming words (I actually did that recently and it was one of those ideas that look better in your head than in reality. I’m not going to post it :)) ).
MB: What is the biggest mantra you follow in your reading life? Consciously or subconsciously?
ES: In my reading life? I don’t I have a mantra I follow in my reading life, but when it comes to life in general, it’s this: keep going, keep moving forward, keep pushing.
MB: Your thoughts on book hoarding?
ES: Coming from a family of hoarders and having suffered because of it, I reject any kind of hoarding, even books. I am totally for holding on to the books that mean something to you. For example, I will never read Magyk again, but it’s the book that started everything and so I’ll keep it, just as I would keep the books written by my favourite authors and some that have been gifted and some that I find useful. And if I have the space, maybe I can be more lax about it. But the general rule in my life is that I can only surround myself with useful elements. If something doesn’t have a purpose in my life, it has to go.
I’m trying as much as I can not to get attached to “stuff”. I could lose all my books and I’d be OK with it and shrug it off (maybe a bit sad, but it wouldn’t be a tragedy). The value of a book isn’t physical, so why should I hold on to something physical?
MB: If there’s one bookish and one non-bookish thing you could tell your younger self, what would it be?
ES: Bookish: continue reading fiction – it’s OK, this kind if literature is just as valuable and it will pay off.
Non-bookish: you are enough, no matter what they make you feel like. No one knows what the f*ck they are doing, especially not your peers, so why would you trust them more than you trust yourself?
MB: What are your favorite Bookstagram/Instagram accounts?
MB: Who are your favorite authors? And why?
ES: Stephen King because most (if not all) of his books are connected, are part of the same universe, the same weltanschauung. There are other authors who are doing this thing, but Stephen King was the first one I found out about and I think it’s so inspiring! To trust the worlds you are building so much that you want them to be connected. I love how all of them revolve around The Dark Tower. It’s like a puzzle and the big picture, the main story, is The Dark Tower, but then each of his books is a small piece, just as important.
Brandon Sanderson for his Mistborn and The Reckoners trilogies. He too connects his works, but in his case it’s not that clear. I love his writing style and his worldbuilding and the magic systems he creates.
Justin Cronin for The Passage series, which blew me away in 2018. It was the first and best thing I’ve read in 2018. It’s so hard to find truly good dystopias and The Passage was like a breath of fresh air.
MB: What are 3 books you think everyone must read, irrespective of whether or not they end up liking them?
1984, The Handmaid’s Tale, and Animal Farm.
MB: And last but not the least, I can’t let you go without a question about James! Everyone knows about your BFF-ship with him. Tell us about how your friendship started. 🙂
ES: It started just when my love for reading started. After reading Magyk and some other books, I went online and I found a bookblog. A short while later James, having done pretty much the same thing, found it too. We started talking there through comments and then we exchanged our Yahoo Messenger IDs (old times haha).
We talked for a couple of years and got to know each other pretty well. We ended up attending the same college and so we saw each other for the first time 6-7 years after we started talking.
He convinced me to start reading again and he’s part of the reason why I started the Bookstagram account.
I had a lot of fun coming up with the questions and reading through Liz’s answers! I hope you enjoyed it too! 🙂
Until next time, keep reading, keep loving, and add melodrama to your life! 🙂