Whats better than our love affair with literature books? Finding like-minded souls who we could discuss everything that we want when it comes to our favorite literary pursuits!
Finding a literature enthusiast in Pakistan can be very hard if you don’t know where to look. However, some Pakistani bookworms have taken it upon themselves to make reading more accessible and easy for Pakistanis.
And here’s the thing. Reading books doesn’t have to be boring! In fact, thanks to the Bookstagram Pakistan account, readers can just show off their favorite books, passages, bookshelves, and more like those cool Instagram kids.
Without further ado, let’s take a look at these amazing people who will make you fall in love with books all over again. Let’s get to bookstagramming, people.
Zainab Zaheer is e Pakistani literature lover who ventured into the world of ‘Bookstagram’ with her blogging page on Instagram zmeetsworld. She had already been blogging about her reading experiences since the age of 15, but it was two years ago that she started her Instagram account.
I didn’t know other people cared about and shared books online because reading culture in Pakistan is often so limited.
It felt like a breath of fresh air to find this online space where people read a diverse range of books and discuss them at length.
Zainab Zaheer reads about five to six books in a month and shares intriguing reviews and opinions on her Instagram account. Her interests lie in books that are ‘socially conscious’ and she presents them to her followers in a way that is very eye-catching and impressive.
I aim to discuss the difficult issues I come across in my reading and what that story is teaching us about them. Be it child abuse, sexual abuse, domestic violence, heartbreak, infidelity, love. I try to make reading accessible or to pique people’s interest in books by sharing quotes that made me pause — this opens up the book in a way that people wouldn’t know if they just read a summary.
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The lyrically written letter-in-novel-form, On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous, by Ocean Vuong reads like a string of flowing, musical sentences. The first quote is one that created a powerful image in my mind — of the author’s mother who worked as a nail manicurist at a salon. This made me think of every manicurist at every salon, of every service person I have encountered. I hope to always be kind to those I engage with, and to always be aware and conscious of how my behavior may affect others. #onearthwerebrieflygorgeous #oceanvuong @ocean_vuong #zmeetsworld
She also added that she wants to make these books more approachable to people following her account. Zainab says that by sharing tidbits of what she has learned from the books, she makes these books more accessible for readers.
If I can make reading books more accessible (through bite-sized quotes), then I share what I learn, about how women and minorities experience the world, and share stories of love and loss that others can relate to. I wanted to lower the barrier that keeps people away from books or reading– particularly for adult fiction
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????? ?????? ????? ????: Enslaved people ????? ??? ??????? ????? in any American colony or state. Colonial and state laws considered them property and commodities, not legal persons who could enter into contracts, and marriage was, and is, very much a legal contract. This means that until 1865 when slavery ended in this country, the vast majority of African Americans could not legally marry. In northern states such as New York, Pennsylvania, or Massachusetts, where slavery had ended by 1830, free African Americans could marry, but in the slave states of the South, many enslaved people entered into relationships that they treated like marriage; they considered themselves husbands and wives even though they knew that their unions were not protected by state laws. Some enslaved people lived in nuclear families with a mother, father, and children. In these cases each family member belonged to the same owner. Others lived in near-nuclear families in which the father had a different owner than the mother and children. Both slaves and slaveowners referred to these relationships between men and women as “?????? ?????????.” ? ?????? ????? ???? ??????? ????? ???? ?? ? ??????? ?????????? ??? ????, ??????? ?? ????????? ?????? ??? ???????? ???????? ?? ??? ??? ?????? ?? ??? ?????????? ?? ??????? ????? ??? ?? ????? ???? ?????????? ???? ??? ???????? ?????. —How Slavery Affected African American Families by Heather Andrea Williams University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill National Humanities Center Fellow ©National Humanities Center #thewaterdancer #tanehisicoates #slaveryinamerica #zmeetsworld @tanehisipcoates
There are many others like Zainab Zaheer who are striving to increase the presence of literature in the country. Tamreez Imam is a 35-year-old who works for Emirates Literature Festival in Dubai. She started her ‘Bookstagram’ journey two years ago when she started sharing her love for books on tamreezi.
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"Brock will always be the swimmer turned rapist. He was great and then he fell. Anything I do in the future will be by the victim who wrote a book. His talent precedes his tragedy. She was supposedly born in it. I did not come into existence when he harmed me… I do not owe him my success, my becoming, he did not create me. The only credit Brock can take is for assaulting me, and he could never even admit to that." . Know My Name is Chanel Miller's powerful memoir reclaiming her identity and healing herself as a survivor of sexual assault. The assault that took place in 2015 on Stanford's campus became highly publicized after her searing, but anonymous, victim impact statement was released to the media. The writing itself was sharp and candid and beautiful, so I would fly through the pages but the content would make me stop and take a break, seething in fury. . I also learnt a lot – about my own assumptions about rape and sexual assault that I didn't even know I had. Even those who may think they would never blame the victim, when confronted by details such as the victim being drunk at a frat party and the promiscuity that takes place, questions arise as to where responsibility lies. Even if it seems obvious, it actually takes some mental work to REALLY get that all of those things are immaterial. The only thing that matters is whether there was consent. Chanel's journey to heal herself and overcome her isolation and shame was a long and difficult process, but as I went on that journey with her I also felt strengthened and healed. Know My Name is an important powerful book. Highly recommend it. . "It took me a long time to learn healing is not about advancing, it is about returning repeatedly to forage something. Writing this book allowed me to go back to that place… I learned to stay in the hurt, to resist leaving… As I revisited that landscape, I grew more in control, could come and go when I needed to. Until one day I found there was nothing left to gather." – Chanel Miller #tambookreviews #knowmyname #chanelmiller
Tamreez also has another account where her focus is to promote books written by Pakistani writers. She does so from her second account readingpakistan.
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#Repost @bahrisons_booksellers • • • • • • #Hijabistan by #SabynJaveri✨ . A young kleptomaniac infuses thrill into her suffocating life by using her abaya to steal lipsticks and flash men. An office worker feels empowered through sex, shunning her inhibitions but not her hijab … until she realizes that the real veil is drawn across her desires and not her body. A British-Asian Muslim girl finds herself drawn to the jihad in Syria only to realize the real fight is inside her. A young Pakistani bride in the West asserts her identity through the hijab in her new and unfamiliar surroundings, leading to unexpected consequences. The hijab constricts as it liberates. Not just a piece of garment, it is a worldview, an emblem of the assertion of a Muslim woman's identity, and equally a symbol of oppression. . Set in Pakistan and the UK, this unusual and provocative collection of short stories explores the lives of women crushed under the weight of the all-encompassing veil and those who feel sheltered by it✨ . . #readingpakistan #sabynjaveri #hijabistan #bookstagram #bookstagrammer #bookstagrampakistan #bookish #booksbooksbooks #bookcommunity #pakistanireadersinitiative #unitedbookstagram #bookshop #pakistan #pakistaniwriters
Here’s what Tamreez has to say about her journey:
I randomly came across a #bookstagram account and a whole new world opened up for me. I started seeking out other bookstagram accounts and started posting and sharing about books myself.
She also added that the reason she started a separate account for Pakistani books was to bring light to the talent coming from Pakistan.
About a year ago I started @readingpakistan. I used to try and read everything that was coming out of Pakistan. A few years ago it was only a handful of writers like Kamila Shamsie, Mohammed Hanif and Nadeem Aslam.
Back then I could pretty much read everything that was being written. Now there’s so much new writing, in every genre, that is coming out of Pakistan that it is impossible to keep up. Which I think is so exciting.
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#Repost @hafsaamuneeb • • • • • • “It’s a scandal! Why, a woman only has two things in this society: her ability to bear sons and her reputation! Zeba’s reputation will be what? She will be labelled ‘fast’ and what will happen then?” . Read "How it Happened" by Shazaf Fatima Haider and I love how it seems so relatable in the Pakistani context. Its a very realistic depiction of the arranged marriages system in Pakistan, from the perspective of Saleha who is the youngest sibling in the Bandian house. While "Dadi" struggles to achieve suitable "rishtas" for Zeba and Haroon, they have other plans in mind, to her surprise. Zeba cannot handle the trolley-pushing rishta culture and therefore Dadi fears her name might become a bit of a scandal in their family. A light and humorous read – something that will surely take your mind off this quarantine stress. Stay home and stay safe, everyone. Please pray for this #covid19 virus to be out and gone soon. ? #readingpakistan #staysafeandbeserious #tbtinternational #shazaffatima #shazaffatimahaider #howithappened #book #reading #bookreview #pakistan #lahore #islamabad #karachi #quarantine #quarantineandchill #socialisolation #corona #covid_19 #quarantinelife
Khadija Amer is another new ‘Bookstagram’ account owner who runs the page ‘Chaayekhana‘. She says she took inspiration from other bloggers and Instagram accounts who focus on literature. According to Khadija, at the end of the day, visuals matter a lot on Instagram.
It is still Instagram and it’s about pictures involved in books as well… but a little bit more specific.
So I think people who love reading…or who want to start reading find inspiration on these accounts. They inspired me to follow through with reading more myself.
More and more people in Pakistan are now starting their own ‘Bookstagram’ account to share their knowledge and passion for reading.
Here are some recommendations for ‘Bookstagram’ pages on Instagram that you could follow:
It’s about time that the literary world of Pakistan takes a turn for the better and it is truly refreshing to see more and more Pakistani literature lovers coming forward and sharing their journey.
What do you think of this story? Let us know in the comments section.
Via Arab News