10 Quickfire questions with Shelbi Starnes

  1. Please introduce yourself in six words... Reader, educator, traveller, coffee/tea aficionado.

  2. What are you currently reading? Shakespeare’s Othello (this could be considered “work” as I am teaching it to my students right now, but honestly, getting to read Shakespeare simply doesn’t feel like work!), Love & Ruin by Paula McLain, The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien.

  3. How many books did you read in 2018 and how many are you planning for 2019? I was terrible at documenting books read last year and am not really sure! I estimate that I finished 20-30 books and didn’t finish many more. I am a slow reader with a very busy life,so am usually only able to complete 1-3 books a month.

  4. When did your love for reading start and which book sparked this passion? My love for reading was instilled by my mother, who is also a big reader. She surrounded me and my siblings with books from an early age, so I can’t remember a time when I didn’t love books. Even before I could read, I would look at illustrations and listen to children’s books on audio, the ones geared towards beginning readers that would tell you when to turn a page or when the book ended.

  5. Who is your favourite author and why? This is always such a hard question for me, because I have several favourites! I’m going to say Jane Austen though, because it was her books that sparked my love for literature. I was twelve or thirteen years old when I picked up an Austen anthology in my library and devoured Pride and Prejudice.

  6. What motivated you to start your Bookstagram and what advice would you give to someone new to the gig? I was into styling clothing/accessories several years ago and was actually using Instagram to share favourite outfits or find style inspiration. I joined clothing challenges where you would wear specific items on certain days, then post about it. I really enjoyed it, but one day I realised that I wanted to share more than just clothing. There were so many other things I loved, like reading, and I wanted my account to reflect that. On a whim, I posted a photo of a book one day and it wasn’t long before I was doing more books than outfits.

  7. What’s your all-time favourite book quote? The final lines of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby have stayed with me ever since I first read them: “So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.”

  8. Do you have any exciting projects planned for the future? On the strength of several suggestions I’ve received, I have been considering a podcast or a weekly IGtv talk where I can discuss books and interview other bookstagrammers.

  9. Your bookstagram account is so aesthetically pleasing would you judge a book by its cover? I must admit to being very guilty of judging a book by its cover, even though I know from experience that you simply can’t do that! My mother and I have had some great discussions about why aesthetically pleasing book accounts are often dismissed by people outside of bookstagram, and criticised soundly if they offer beautiful photos with book reviews. We both believe it is a lingering ideal from an era when women who were pretty were often judged to be unintelligent because it wasn’t believed that a woman could simultaneously be both beautiful and intelligent. In the same way, accounts that are aesthetically pleasing or books with pretty covers can often be dismissed as not being “serious” or “intelligent” - a false conclusion when beauty is often the product of both those things.

  10. Finally, If you were stuck on a desert island and could only take one book, what book would that be? Oh my. I can’t ever answer this question, because I don’t know which one book I would take! There are so many I would want to be stuck with. But maybe Jane Eyre or Anna Karenina, because they both have many things to ruminate on, helping to pass those long hours on a desert island.

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The Nobby Life