The Allure of Instagram, or Is It Bookstagram?

This weekend I joined Bookstagram, for lack of anything better to do. I needed a break from a brilliant but very long Russian novel. As everybody knows, Bookstagram is a compendium of pictures of books with captions, and I have never seen the point. Somehow my books have a rakish, rumpled look, perhaps on account of the casual shelving. But get a load of the pink Jane Austen set below. All those pretty flowers! This is commercial art. If I put this pink set on a white chair for even a minute, a cat would sit on it.

I want this Jane Austen set.

My eyes were saucers as I studied photos of “book hauls,” which include beautifully color-coded books photographed on the beach, a minimalist stack of books on a lace placemat with a vase and a pair of granny glasses, sets of Jane Austen (so many sets of Jane Austen), and a pair of manicured hands holding up the new Bobbie Ann Mason book.

Let me explain why it was a mistake for me to join Bookstagram. I already have a set of Jane Austen and the new Bobbie Ann Mason. Why did I look up the price of the Jane Austen set? Thank goodness, I remembered had just weeded duplicates of Jane Austen books. Anyway, there is no room for any more books in the house.

Perhaps I have mentioned my house is full of books. But have I mentioned the state of the bedroom? It is basically a small used bookstore, crammed with bookcases, boxes of books, books on the floor–and somewhere, a bed.

I was so tired of the piles of books after looking at Bookstagram that I actually cleaned the room. I brought in boxes, picked up everything from the floor, swept off a row of books I had actually piled on top of double-shelved books, and soon it was neat as a pin–as neat as it will get.

THE BOOKS ARE ALL ON SHELVES NOW. That is the best I can do.

If I’m inspired to clean by Bookstagram, more power to it!

“What if I spent all my money on interior decorating instead of books?” I said dreamily.

“That,” my husband said, “would be different.”

My books are just not “Instagrammable.”

ANALYSIS OF MY BOOKSHELF. As you can see, I like to mix up genres. Above, I have two volumes of Arnold Bennett’s Clayhanger trilogy, Marie Brennan’s thoroughly enjoyable “Draconic Adventure Memoirs,” Doris Lessing’s favorite D. H. Lawrence novel (not mine, though), random NYRBs, and a Chekhov set lin the background.

Are your books Instagrammable? Let me have your Bookstagram hashtag, or address, or whatever it is, and I’ll follow you. Since I am following Penguin, ou know I’m in trouble. It’s a good thing I’m broke. That’s my mantra.

2 thoughts on “The Allure of Instagram, or Is It Bookstagram?”

  1. Hey Kat, I too have mixed feelings about bookstagram. I have been on Instagram for years (@meerelisab) and enjoy sharing and looking at pretty nature pictures. I even met two of my Finnish IG friends when I moved to Finland, which helped me to settle in. Recently I also started a bookstagram for my blog. As an experiment to see if it works. I enjoy making the posts, but in general it’s pretty superficial, and so far my blog isn’t benefiting much. So we’ll see. It’s @arussianaffairig 😊

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