Dunholme resident Leona Wyatt (Lennie) is a self-confessed book lover. In 2019, she decided to create a personal blog page on Instagram to not only share her passion with others, but also connect with likeminded individuals.
Known in the community as a ‘bookstagram’ account, they are created as a space to share book reviews, any recent book purchases, a wrap up of the books read that month as well as a place to take part in challenges as a bit of fun and to encourage engagement within the community.
Lennie boasts over 2,000 followers on her account and over the years has cultivated a community of book enthusiasts who have become genuine friends. “Some of the people I have met on bookstagram I have been lucky enough to meet up with in real life. I have an American friend who I met up with in Paris on my hen do, a Hungarian friend who I met up with in London as well as some British friends who I meet up with regularly in York, one of them being as close as Hull. It’s a great community and a way to make actual friends who share your interests, which was especially important during the pandemic. The bookstagram community ended up being a bit of a lifeline for me during that time, and I’m sure I wasn’t the only one who felt that way.”
Reading has always been an integral part of Lennie’s life, and she recalls the importance of books during her upbringing. “All the women in my family are big readers and always encouraged it; my parents used to read to me every night before bed and I’ve always been given books as gifts so I couldn’t imagine life without them. Me and my friends are all big readers too and will often suggest and swap books with each other. I truly believe that reading can bring people together.”
Lennie usually gets through an impressive 6 to 8 books a month, but audiobooks are a great help for people like her who work full time. “I never used to be into audiobooks, but in the past year or two I’ve really come to appreciate how versatile they can make reading. With an audiobook I can even get some reading done whilst I’m working. They’re also a great option for when you are going for a walk or cleaning, and obviously they are great for people with disabilities. My husband has dyslexia and has always struggled with physical books but listens to audiobooks all the time. I’ve also found that the local Lincolnshire library app has been a great way for me to access a lot of books, especially audiobooks, for free and I recommend that people utilise the library as much as possible!”
Rather than replace, audiobooks can complement physical copies, which Lennie agrees aren’t going away any time soon. “When Ebooks became a thing there was a bit of worry that physical books would die out, but if anything, they’re doing even better than before. People love holding a physical book and seeing it on their shelf, especially now you can get so many special editions of your favourite book.” That desire for having a tangible copy of your favourite book to keep, reread over and over and take with you throughout your life is something that is unlikely to fade. Whilst some like to keep their copies pristine, others like to annotate, highlight or even draw in them. No matter how they are looked after, there is still a sense of pride in their ownership that cannot be replicated with a digital copy.
Lennie’s ultimate dream would be to have a book shop accompanied by a little café with resident cats where people could spend the day relaxing and reading, but for now, she is very happy keeping her bookstagram as a hobby and will continue sharing her passion with her community.
If you would like to join Lennie’s community of book lovers, you can find her on Instagram via @lennie_reads