Of all the social media outlets that exist, I am most active on Instagram. While I love Facebook, my use is mostly personal, though I do have a Facebook for the ShelfishlyAddicted blog. I used to be very active on Twitter, back when my blog was running under BlookGirl, but Twitter is too fluid for me. On Instagram, not only can you stalk someone's beautiful photography feed, but there are also SO MANY wonderful book-loving people on Instagram! One such person is Sumaiyya Naseem of Sumaiyya.Books -- yes, she's related to Faroukh Naseem, who was featured on the most recent #ShelfieSunday.
Sumaiyya is a lovely Bookstagrammer from Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. She is a recent university graduate in English Literature, and she currently writes for Destination Jeddah. My book wish list and To-Be-Read pile has grown exponentially since I met Sumaiyya on Instagram! She always has insightful posts about her current reads, and bonus - she posts the most adorable photos of her kitten, Lady Gatsby. Please read on for a brief interview with the lovely Sumaiyya!
Quick, give us a Twitter-style bio!
Reader. Dreamer. Crazy Cat Lady.
You are an English Lit major. How has this experience shaped the way you approach books, as well as the way you experience and interpret them?
Studying English Literature has been such a blessing. It gave me a deeper insight into many layers within stories and words. It's also helped me become a better observer of literary trends and how the social and political moments of the current times influence the direction that stories take. I've enjoyed every minute of studying Literature and really wish more readers could experience this particular journey.
You recently started writing and editing for Destination Jeddah. Do you have any advice for those who want to follow in your footsteps?
Always work hard for what you want. My internship at the magazine and subsequent months as a freelance writer made it easier for me to get a fulltime position. I discovered my passion for editing during my internship. I was that annoying intern who constantly asked for more work because I was genuinely interested in being productive and learning. So for anyone who's interested, start with an internship, and even if it's unpaid make sure to focus your efforts into the job.
You have the most adorable kitten, Lady Gatsby, who is featured in quite a few of your Instagram posts now. How and why did you choose the name Gatsby?
When I first read The Great Gatsby I was really moved by Gatsby's unconditional love for Daisy and *spoiler alert* her eventual careless disregard for his love. He became my absolute favourite in modern American lit. Even before we adopted our kitten I decided the name would be Gatsby, regardless of gender. To me, Gatsby's name represents grandeur, love, and extraordinary hope.
What is your most treasured book and why?
This is a tough one, but I think I'll have to go with the Harry Potter series, these were the first 'proper' novels that I read (usually in one or two sittings) and they're such a huge part of my childhood. Before Harry Potter I would read Nancy Drew, Agatha Christie and Goosebumps, but the Wizarding world took my imagination to a whole new level.
My copy of The Secret History by Donna Tartt is also another favourite, it got me back into reading after the difficult barely bookish years of high school!
Where do you feel most comfortable while reading?
I love reading in bed, but I'm most comfortable in our sitting room which is usually quite empty in the afternoon hours. I love snuggling with Gatsby while reading!
Why is reading important to you?
It makes me less ignorant about other cultures and lifestyles. In books I've found that regardless of the cultures we come from, we respond to life with similar emotions, hopes and needs. That intrinsic quality that makes us all human is ever present in literature, it's like a reminder that should make any reader more humble and less self-absorbed. I think literature helps me easily accept people who are different on the outside because it shows me how similar we all really are.
Would you mind sharing a picture of your favorite reading spot?
This was my favourite reading spot at uni, I definitely miss reading there.
How about a shelfie?!
Spot Gatsby playing with a ball!
To connect with Sumaiyya, please visit: