9 Instagram Accounts You Must Follow If You Love Books

Booklove at first sight.
Representative image.
Representative image.

In the age of social media, reading is no longer a solitary pursuit. Being a bibliophile is as much about browsing bookstores, coming home with stacks of books from the library and spending hours with your nose buried in a book (or an e-reader) as it is about letting the world know what you are reading, if there's a particular reason for your doing so, and your reactions to it.

There is scarcely a better social media platform than Instagram to celebrate #booklove. But running a bookish handle comes with its own challenges. How many times can you possibly flaunt your well-stocked bookshelves, a newly acquired title lying next to a steaming cup of coffee, or the to-read pile on your bedside table without worrying about being unfollowed? Putting up beautifully styled photographs of books, with little more than the title, name of the author and the #iamreading hashtag, is also unlikely to score you hundreds of followers.

What makes a bookstagrammer special then? To my mind, it's all about being able to strike that delicate balance between erudition and entertainment — to be able to wear, ever so lightly, the mantle of a connoisseur of good taste and also reveal your vulnerabilities, likes and dislikes, confess to the failure of finishing Finnegans Wake or an immense love for Gone With the Wind. A visually sophisticated eye, a sense of composition and the gift of infusing charm into the most mundane of things could be added bonuses.

Here are nine bookstagrammers we love — not run by magazines, publishers of bookshops, but just crazy bookpeople.

1. @bondimanche_

Bon Dimanche, which literally means "Have a good Sunday", is run by Janet, who is as interested in the arts as she is in books. So she takes you into bookshops, museums and art galleries. She keeps an open mind to every book she picks up. She's not afraid to confess to have given up on a classic or gone back to another she had abandoned a while ago. She will even tell you she does not mind Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged.

| Second copy just came in. Let's try this again.

A photo posted by ▪️janet ▪️ (@bondimanche_) on

2. @sophia_stories

Based in London, Sophia is a scholarly reader in the final year of her PhD. Her posts, whether they are about a novel by Akhil Sharma or a treatise by Susan Sontag, are mini-reviews, which open your eyes to dimensions you had not quite anticipated.

'For snobs and parvenus and social climbers, TB was one index of being genteel, delicate, sensitive. With the new mobility (social and geographical) made possible in the eighteenth century, worth and station are not given; they must be asserted. They were asserted through new notions about clothes ('fashion') and new attitudes towards illness. Both clothes (the outer garment of the body) and illness (a kind of interior décor of the body) became tropes for new attitudes toward the self. Shelley wrote on July 27, 1820 to Keats, commiserating as one TB sufferer to another, that he has learned "that you continue to wear a consumptive appearance." This was no mere turn of phrase. Consumption was understood as a manner of appearing, and that appearance became a staple of nineteenth-century manners. It became rude to eat heartily. It was glamorous to look sickly. "Chopin was tubercular at a time when good health was not chic," Camille Saint-Saëns wrote in 1913.' • After having to grapple with various other strands of research, I've now finally turned my attention back to Sontag and her work on the metaphors that pervade the representation of illness. So far, I'm thoroughly intrigued by the early chapters charting the depiction of TB, which Sontag sees as a precursor for cancer in terms of a disease that captures the imagination and becomes a stand-in for so many other issues, desires, fears and fantasies. Analysing examples from Tolstoy, Turgenev, Joyce, Gide, Kafka, Dickens and many others, Sontag paints such a fascinating picture of literature's (and society's) relationship with illness, weakness, morality and death. This may sound perverse given the subject matter but it's a lot of fun to read, actually. Although I'm slightly perturbed by the notion of TB-chic, which I had NO idea about! Another thing I had no idea about was how ridiculously easy it is to make your own cold brew, which I can't believe I've not done before. Iced coffee is perfect for this weather, too. (Oh and in case anyone is interested, the picture pinned up is of a painting called 'Girl Reading' by one of my favourite artists, Helene Schjerfbeck).

A photo posted by Sophia (@sophia_stories) on

3. @bpbspine

Online magazine Brown Paper Bag has a lovely handle where one of its editors recommends a book each day. The surprise of what you'll find on your feed every morning is charming in itself, but the lovely concepts and bit comments add to the appeal.

4. @theguywiththebook

Faroukh is the guy with the book, "currently not reading," as his bio will tell you, but travelling in Malaysia and Saudi Arabia. But he's never without a book — and boy he can make them look good! His adventures in reading are punctuated with autobiographical anecdotes — such as his struggle to give up smoking.

5. @thebooksatchel

Resh Susan, who runs this handle, makes any book, new or old, look gorgeous. She's a curious reader with an open mind, interactive with her followers, as quick to give reading advice as to seek some. Perks of following her: contests and giveaways.

6. @bazfiction

"Baz Ozturk" is a cool dude stuck to a book. Witty and passionate with his responses, he almost always rates every book he reads, be it classic or contemporary fiction. Sometimes, he wears light blue pajama bottoms with stars.

7. @mybookbath

Hosted by Jude from Vancouver, this handle is the Elle and the Vogue of the book world. Apart from recommending stellar reads, he posts some stunning photographs.

8. @sweptawaybybooks

Alyssa is an English and Publishing graduate who devours historical, New Adult, Young Adult and literary fiction. Her photographs are like potted diary entries into which personal information trickle in, though she almost always brings it back to the book she's reading at any moment.

Found a new little free library in my neighbourhood! 📚 I can't wait to come back and see what other titles it might hold 📖. .

A photo posted by Alyssa | Swept Away By Books (@sweptawaybybooks) on

9. @herpickings

Based in Los Angeles, "H. Kim" loves books and coffee. She also organises frequent giveaways, in association with Riverhead Books for instance, and her enthusiasm for a good read is infectious.