The Art of Bookstagram
By Elizabeth Sagen (@elizabeth_sagen)
In my opinion, a book is worth the story that it carries, the message that it sends, the ideas that it spreads. Just like a 100$ bill, you can step on it, throw it on the ground, trash it, but it will still be able to pay your bills. Of course, if you tear its pages or spill coffee all over it it would make reading pretty difficult, but that’s not the point.
The point is that we need more readers (you can never have enough of them anyway). And for that to happen, we need to make reading cool and artsy. I know for a fact that by doing the kind of art that I’m doing on Instagram I inspire people to read. I’m a huge reader and I want to share with the whole world this love that I’ve had ever since the 7th grade. It’s my GREAT INTEREST, as Stephen King would put it – this love for stories, this longing to live more than one life.
So when the first nasty comment about how I’m disrespecting the books showed up I was dumbstruck. Disrespecting? Me? And then the next, and the next. It didn’t happen too often, but it did happen, and I took notice. And I started wondering: why are these people so hateful? Why can’t they see the beauty in what I’m doing?
It was because I wanted to understand why some people have such a visceral reaction that when someone contacted me regarding this issue, I took my time to talk with said person. I didn’t expect the conversation to be as respectful as it was. After so many ugly comments I was on the edge about this subject. But at the same time, that person took the time to talk, and by that I mean really talk with me, so that it made me listen. More than that, I didn’t expect the conversation to grow on me. Not in a way that it stopped me from taking those kind of pics, but in a way that it left me thinking, sometimes even reconsidering the concepts of my pictures.
Apparently, in some cultures all knowledge is considered divine, and touching the books with your feet is considered sinful. Knowledge is power, and books are the embodiment of that power. More than that, when a book is dropped, forgiveness is sought for any disrespect that may have been shown to it. I found that to be interesting, even though in my culture there is no such a thing. But I had a problem with this approach, and that was: why are some parts of the human body considered to be less than others? I worked for years to get to a place of self-love, and the thing with self-love is that it’s an all-or-nothing sort of deal. You can have flaws, traits to improve about yourself, but if you love and accept yourself before anyone else loves and accepts you, you know you’ll be OK. So why should I love and respect some parts of me less than others, since it’s my feet that helped me walk this earth, run and climb mountains?
But, as I said, it did grow on me. And you know why? Because of that one respectful conversation.
This is not a story of how I changed my views, as things aren’t black or white, but something in between. In my opinion, everything is permitted as long as you’re not hurting others; you do you. I’m not hurting the books, as they are 97% paper, 2% ink and 1% glue. I’m not hurting the author either, since many authors asked me to promote their books. And I’m not hurting the readers either. Plus, the intent behind someone’s action helps you see things in a different light. Of course I don’t intend to disrespect the books. I consider my content to have a positive impact, so I’m going to continue putting it out there, telling people about my reads, recommending good books and so on and taking my kind of pics – pics that I know will have a strong reach, so that I have a better chance of inspiring someone to pick up a book and read.
Instead, it’s a story about a person who took the time to talk to me, not shout like a keyboard warrior. And even though both of us agreed with the other one, but not really, we agreed to disagree and parted as good friends.
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About the Author
So I'm Elizabeth Sagan and I'm a fiction junkie. I love the written words and if this would be a fantasy book I'd either be the Storyteller or the Dragon Sla... Tamer. I would never kill a dragon. Now joking aside, I'm an avid reader and I have been since 7th grade. A few years ago I took an unfortunate reading break, but fortunately I managed to come back to my one true love. We've never been happier haha.
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