New Year of Reading & Gushing - Reading List

New Year of Reading & Gushing

Friday, December 21, 2018

Read Gush January 2019 Bookstagram Challenge

Happy Holidays lovely Book Lovers!

While I'm sure many of you are hopping on here because you have been participating in Read & Gush challenges for months, I'm hoping a few of you are here because you want to learn some of the basics of how Bookstagram works.

Instagram is still one of the most popular social media platforms around. Which makes it easy to go unnoticed, and feel discouraged. But bookstagram is the community of book lovers on Instagram, and it honestly might be the most encouraging group of people in social media ever.  Bibliophiles, book lovers, have a great amount of empathy simply because of our love of books, and we tend to be great encouragers of all forms of art too. Which is perfect for the world of Instagram where artists of all kinds share their work in different stages. So if this sounds like a community you would like to join, here's your first crash course on how to "fit in" - I hate saying that because all of us bookstagrammers are vastly different - so know that your own voice and style is always much appreciated in the community.

First, all your photos for bookstagram should have something to do with books, or a book, or an author, or poet... well you get the idea.  But know it doesn't have to only be about books... yeah it might get confusing...

Second, when you really want to make bookstagram into a community, join monthly photo challenges.  These challenges will have daily prompts to help you come up with an idea for your photo, or your caption.  Posting daily helps with visibility on Instagram for everyone. When you join a challenge be sure to add the challenge hashtag to your caption, each time you share a photo for that challenge.

Here's a minor note to keep in mind about challenges - some are very specific, and others are relaxed. Feel free to join any you want, or hop in and out as the month goes.  Remember, be you first on Bookstagram.

So if you're still reading, I figure it's because you want to join this specific photo challenge. Read & Gush has been hosting monthly photo challenges since February 2017, and we are very relaxed. Use the prompts to inspire your imagination - Jump in and out when you can - engage with others using the challenge hashtag whenever you want.

And now for January's Challenge...

This coming month our challenge will be a Bookstagram 101 challenge. Below you will find the daily prompts with explanations on what they mean, all very common ideas and hashtags for the entire bookstagram community. 

This month's hashtag will be #readgushJan19 so add that to your followed hashtags, and let's get started!

Before the month starts...

Share the challenge image in your stories, with the hashtag, maybe even tag all the co-hosts so we can shower some love on you. 

Or even, follow the co-hosts!

Marissa: marissa_writes
Natelle: Tall_Telle_Tells_Tales
Alice: Alice_in_her_bookland
Kylie: kylielovesbooks
Irene: Justicereads

Then, if you are a planner, take a few photos in advance so you can post regularly without stressing over taking a photo every day (this is totally optional, maybe bookstagrammers take the photo right before posting - it's up to you!)

And if you have any questions leave them here, or jump over to my Instagram and ask me there.

Read Gush January 2019 Bookstagram Challenge

January Book Photo Challenge


  1. 2019 Reading Goals & January TBR : TBR means To Be Read, this is your list of books you want to read sooner rather than later, for the purpose of Read & Gush challenges, we say limit yourself to 2-3 books you want to read this month (we always start the month with a TBR) & share your personal reading goals for the year.  If you are Goodreads challenge participant, share those specifics here too! 
  2. Meet the Bookstagrammer- #5bookishfacts - This is a double prompt... so for your image think about including your face, if you want... and for the extra hashtag in your caption share five facts about your love of books, then when you post your photo tag some bookstagram friends so they can tell you five bookish facts about them in a future post on their feed. 
  3. JRR Tolkien Day - Author Spotlight - This is a fun silly holiday that honor's JRRT's birthday (silly calendar holidays are always fun, author focuses are double wins for bookstagram) - So feel free to feature anything about Tolkien on this day, his books, the movies his stories inspired, any bookish goodies you might have relating to this great influencer of Epic Fantasy and world building. 
  4. First Book of 2019 - #currentread - Share the first book you finished, or will finish in 2019, and tell us about your current read - so no spoilers... but you can share your reaction to the plot, gush over a favorite character... anything about that book you are probably still reading... or share two books, the one you're currently reading, and the first book you finished. Be sure to add the current read hashtag to your caption.
  5. Book #StackSaturday - Book stacks are super common in bookstagram photos... they can stand up like a tower, or lie showing off their spines, and on Saturdays, they are especially popular... well because alliteration is cool...
  6. #SockSunday - Here's a chance to test your photo taking skills, or ask a friend to help you out because the goal is to get your sock covered toes, or feet... into the photo with your books... it can be challenging, but feel free to be as creative as you want!
  7. #MapMonday - If you are fantasy book fan, you probably love seeing a book with a map in the first few pages, maybe in the end pages, or for some, at the end of the book. It adds an extra fun dimension to the book... Here is a chance to show off one of those maps, or all of those maps... It's up to you really. 
  8. Flat Lay - So this is the most basic of all Instagram shots right?  And to be honest, it might be one of the hardest to master. 
  9. #WaitingonWednesday - another fairly common Instagram hashtag, but for bookstagram, we share a book that is scheduled to release in the future and we are anxious to get our hands on... so is there a sequel you can't wait to read this year? This month? Maybe take a photo of another book by that author, or books in that genre, and then gush about the upcoming release in your caption. 
  10. Stand Alone - Pick your favorite stand-alone book, and tell us all why you love it so much (a stand-alone means there is no sequel or additional stories after the end of that one book, it is a complete story all by itself.)
  11. Duology - Share your favorite Duology today!  And tell us why you love it... remember this is a story that is complete in two books.
  12. Trilogy - Share your favorite Trilogy today... yep you know it, gush over it in the caption... oh and I'm sure you all know this means three books in the series and it's completed.
  13. Long Series - Share a long series you love, even if it is crazy long - yep fit all those books into the photo... and of course tell us why you love it!
  14. Book & Mug - There is nothing like a good book and warm mug of coffee, or tea, or cocoa, so show off your favorite mug today.
  15. Author of a Different Nationality - Share a book written by an author of a different nationality - and in your caption tell us why you liked this author, or talk about reading books to promote diverse cultures and perspectives from your own worldview.
  16. #rainbowspines - Collect all your colorful books, put them together to form a rainbow- I suggest showing off their spines by put together a stack of some kind
  17. Red - Make red the focus of your picture today
  18. Orange - More orange the focus of your picture today
  19. Yellow - Make yellow the focus of your picture today
  20. Green- Make green the focus of  your picture today
  21. Blue- Make blue the focus of your picture today
  22. Purple- Make purple the focus of your picture today
  23. Pink- Make pink the focus of your picture today
  24. Black- Make black the focus of your picture today
  25. White- Make white the focus of your picture today
  26. Fairy Lights - Add in some fairy lights or twinkle lights to your photo. This is a fun opportunity to play with light and shadow in your photo.
  27. Books & Candles - reading with a candle burning is a favorite pastime for many, so bookish candles are very popular - grab a candle, even if it's not bookish themed, and add it to your photo- feel free to be creative, light it... blow it out so the smoke tendrils are part of the shot, or try out some fancy editing tools to add a flame or smoke...
  • Book Spiral - this is an advanced style of the book stack- instead of lining up the books on top of each other, twist each book a tiny bit so the stack spirals around like a spiral staircase. 
  • Bookish Embellishments - Show of pretty end pages, or deckled edges, or stained pages, or any other fancy embellishment publishers add to books. 
  • #bookhaul - Most bookstagrammers share their bookish purchases in their stories throughout the month, but at the end of the month, we tend to take a picture to show of some or all of our goodies from the month - new books you bought, or were gifts, bookmarks, anything that has to do with books, or fictional characters really.
  • Wrap Up- On the last day of the month, plan on sharing all the books you finished, and maybe give them a star rating or show of your favorite.  This is a chance to check your TBR from the first day and see if you followed it.  

  • That's it!  I hope you had fun this month, and that you'll join us again in February!

    Do we need to set up a Bookstagram 201? Is there another theme you'd love to see on bookstagram? Share your ideas in the comments!

    Are you new to Instagram? And the challenge?  Make sure you leave a comment below so I can search you out!  I love to spread the love for my fellow bookstagrammers!

    Do you love Instagram photo challenges? Are you a book fanatic?  Leave me a note, I'd love to chat with you.

    Marissa Writes

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