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TDA x BookstagramBD Featuring @theawkwardbibliophile

Usraat Fahmidah, bookstagram handle @theawkwardbibliophile


F E A T U R E – B O O K S T A G R A M


Sultanul Arefeen


Bookstagram is a prolific and sophisticated community of bookworms on Instagram, who engage in mystique & surrealism of the literature, reflected by the components of the books, and try to come up with a world of their own, expressing themselves in a more nuanced way. On this episode of TDA x BookstagramBD, we get to know about the preferences of a bookstagrammer who goes by the name Usraat Fahmidah, aka @theawkwardbibliophile.  

Usraat started bookstagramming in hope of finding people to have book-ish conversations with. And eventually, she fell in love with the innovative spirit of the community. Aestheticising with pictures of vintage materials alongside books, and the warmth of rose brown with a vintage-y touch for a theme — make her whole Instagram feed look both authentic and interactive to the viewers. 

She is more of a sporadic storyteller, sharing her opinions on current issues, politics, and philosophy. Her voices can be heard via her instagram blog. Any obscure opinion that she has, she shares it there. She runs a website where she drafts her news-bites as well. One can sign up for her newsletters at usraatfahmidah.substack.com.

Following are some of her genre based recommendations, which helped Usraat transform into such a passionate bookstagrammer that she is, and also which you can enjoy at your leisure.

Politics/Economics:

Poor Economics by Abhijeet Banerjee & Esther Duflo

The book by two Nobel Prize award winning authors, Abhijeet Banerjee and Esther Duflo, is intellectually satisfying to read and, not to mention, perfect for Economics enthusiasts who prefer their careers in the field of Development Theory. 

Usraat’s statement regarding her experience of the book is as follows:

“My inner nerd was in awe of the arguments presented in this book, while reading it. The entire book is simplified in a manner that anyone can pick up this book and understand what’s going on!”

Historical Fiction:

The Lost Girls of Paris by Pam Jenoff

This book by Pam Jenoff, the author of several books of historical fiction, is a remarkable story of friendship and courage, centred around three women and a ring of female secret agents during WWII. Usraat was so intrigued by the strong female narrative and heart-tugging friendships which are displayed throughout the entire storyline, that the book made all the way towards her all-time-favourites’ list.

South Asian Literature:

The Bones of Grace by Tahmima Anam

The Bones of Grace is the third novel from the Bengal trilogy that too made it to the all-time-favourites’ part in Usraat’s bookshelf. Emotionally captivating the reader’s mindset, this book tells an intertwined story of three generations (before the Independence War in 1971, during the Wartime and the aftermaths of the War), rooted from the same Bangali ancestry.

Fiction:

Rooftops of Tehran by Mahbod Seraji

Usraat is a sucker for coming-of-age stories and Rooftops of Tehran is no exception.

This novel of Iranian Culture, is a story of courage, sacrifices, and the bond of friendship and love. Set against the backdrop of one of Iran’s most politically turbulent times, the characters exude this naive energy which is a reminder of simpler times. The characters offer comfort in the form of their tale of what it’s like being young and in love, and hopeful vignettes of friendship. The spirit of the story and the characters will stay with you forever, even after you’ve finished reading it.

Young Adults:

I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter by Erica Sanchez

Unlike the ‘falling in love will cure your mental health’ trope that is found in a young adult genre, I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter breaks the cliche by delving deep into the realistic and challenging issues like grief and social identity complex, making the whole reading experience both realistic and worthwhile.

Memoir:

When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanthi

What do you think it would be like when you’re walking through a memoir of a neurosurgeon whose life has turned upside down, when he gets diagnosed with terminal cancer? 

One morning, he is treating the patients.
And the next morning, he is one.

When Breath Becomes Air is as heavy as a rain cloud, as tranquil as a night sky. Usraat likes the genre (memoir) for its honest, raw, and compelling components. She quotes,

“It was interesting to see life and death from a different perspective other than my own for a change. While reading the book, I found myself empathising with the author. The biggest takeaway from the book would not be the author’s own anecdotes albeit it was harrowingly beautiful to read. It is, for me, the shift in the perspectives about life and death. I cried buckets after finishing it. The narrative style of the book makes this memoir a very philosophical one.”

Detective Fiction:

A Murder Is Announced  by Agatha Christie

Author of the New York Times Best Sellers, And Then There Were None & Murder On The Orient Express, Agatha Christie, known for her murder mysteries, have two acclaimed detective characters: Hercule Poirot & Jane Marple aka Miss Marple.

A Murder Is Announced is the fourth book from Miss Marple series. This particular book hooked Usraat to Agatha Christie. She expressed that Miss Marple is one of her favourite literary characters ever created. An intelligent, strong, badass woman with a witty sense of humour — who you can enjoy reading about, on your weekends.

All being said, these are a few books that quite participated in the creation of such a promising, effervescent, and persevering bookstagrammer who’s giving it her all to reach the zone

 


Arefeen is an old school ambivert. The thought of wearing classics, the aroma of a new paperback, and the mere idea of visiting a bookstore fires him up.

 

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