We’ve reached out to Bahraini blogger, @kawthereads, this time for an interview about her experience with being a book blogger on Instagram. Kawther not only takes beautiful pictures of books and is an avid fangirl of literature, but she is the founder of her very own book club, called Bookmarked! Let’s sit back, relax and see what this girl’s all about.
NQD: What does being a bookstagrammer mean to you, especially one based in Bahrain?
Kawther: I started my Bookstagram account in 2015 to give myself an open space to share my love of books and write down all my thoughts on books that I read, be it positive or negative.
It definitely makes me proud to be a part of this community. It has given me a chance to grow my way of thinking, develop my photography skills and get to meet and know really interesting and smart people in and out of Bahrain. I am always in awe of how much talent and knowledge Bahraini readers have, and I am inspired by so many of them every single day.
NQD: What type of genres do you talk about on your page and which ones have taken up a special place in your heart?
Kawther: I mostly talk about fiction, but I really enjoy Historical Fiction, Magical Realism, and Fantasy as well. My favorite books of all time are The Kite Runner by Khalid Husseini, A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara, and anything by V.E Schwab.
NQD: What’s one thing that you didn’t expect when you decided to talk about books online with strangers?
Kawther: I definitely did not expect to find as much of an audience as I did! So many people encouraged me from the start especially since back then, bookish Instagrammers were quite rare in Bahrain and 100% not as popular as they are now. But it grew with time and the engagement still catches me by surprise sometimes.
NQD: How different do you see yourself now compared to when you first started out back in 2015?
Kawther: I still cannot believe it's been 5 years! Well, I'm definitely better at taking good photographs haha! But in all seriousness, I feel like now my reading tastes have matured and I'm more willing to try new genres and new authors. I have sharpened my social skills and it is easier for me to capture my audience's attention through my posts and stories. My English is a lot better as well, so all in all, it had quite a positive influence on me in more than one area.
NQD: You founded a book club and called it Bookmarked Book Club. What is the best part about that book club and why?
Kawther: Oh my God, yes! It's always been a dream of mine to be a part of a book club and I always imagined how it would be if I'd found a book club in Bahrain. But a couple of months ago, I decided to stop hoping and start a book club of my own! I admit to being scared that no one would participate, but the excitement blew my mind! I am so happy to have found a great set of people to share my love of books with and help me grow my knowledge. The best part of it besides getting to know new people is the chance to read new books and discuss them; that helps with seeing the book from different perspectives and take from it more than if you would have otherwise. You get to discuss quotes, notes, ideas and analyze different books of different genres.
NQD: Is creating a blog-site in the horizon for you?
Kawther: Yes, I'm the kind of person who takes my time with things and take everything one step at a time. So it is something I'm planning to create by the end of this year inshallah.
NQD: What inspires you as a bookstragrammer? What are your aspirations for the future?
Kawther: I'm inspired by good books, creative people and brilliant authors. I hope to spread the love of books and the reading culture and publish a book of my own. There are so many things I aspire to do and I'm just getting started.
NQD: What’s the most important ingredient that you always want to give your followers when it comes to your content?
Kawther: I like to be authentic and share my thoughts about a book even if I disliked it. I also like to provide a space for them to express themselves and share their own thoughts, because to me that was the whole point of creating my account; to create a safe space for readers to get to know each other and share their love of reading and books.
I was also proud to present my book club members with a discount on the book of the month from a certain bookstore in Bahrain.
NQD: In your opinion, talk to us about the distinctive importance of reading both fiction and nonfiction.
Kawther: It is always fun to read different types of books, even though I rarely read non-fiction books and that is something I want to fix in 2020 and the coming years. Reading fiction will help broaden your imagination; improve your language and your reading, and a lot of literature fiction books read like a piece of art. Language in general to me is an art piece that you create with words, hence my love for poetry as well. Reading non-fiction books, on the other hand, could help you improve any type of skill you have, it could inspire you to follow your dreams and teach you more about the world. Reading is so so important, it is the source of all knowledge and I honestly hope for more people to fall in love with reading, especially the new generations.
NQD: Do you think the Bahraini book community, which comprises of not just readers and bloggers, but published authors, instapoets, designers and the like, is a successful community? If so, how can it be even better?
Kawther: The book community in Bahrain is still a growing community. There are so many great success stories there and I know there will be many more to come. It faces a little challenge in that reading is usually considered a lonely hobby, something you do on your own. So there are still a lot of people who are oblivious to the existence of the community in general - so the 'marketing' side needs to be improved to help guide people to reading.