1) Can you tell us about yourself?
Hello, I am Cindy, I am a Jamaican who’s been living and working in Trinidad & Tobago for over five years. I am an avid reader, Bookstagrammer, Book Club host, and creator of Read Caribbean. I created the BookOfCinz platform with the mission of getting people to read, read more, read widely, and Read Caribbean. In June we are celebrating year three of Read Caribbean.
2) Is it easier or harder for Caribbean Bookstagrammers?
I have been a Bookstagrammer for over three years and I would say it is extremely hard at times because of access to books. A lot of publishers do not ship to the Caribbean so us getting access to newly-released books is an uphill battle. There is also the fact that some local bookstores do not stock newly-released books or the books in stock are limited. The library system is somewhat outdated as well. So there is the issue of access on both fronts that makes it hard for a Caribbean Bookstagrammer.
3) Do you see Bookstagrams as being distinct from “book reviews”? What are some of the differences, if any? Should any of this matter?
I do think that being a book reviewer is different from being a Bookstagrammer. Yes, you have some Bookstagrammers who are book reviewers in real life, but I do not consider myself a book reviewer. I do share my thoughts and opinions on the books I read but I definitely would not call myself a reviewer. In the end, I think a lot of people follow Bookstagrammers for their taste and preferences in books.
4) What recent reads would you recommend?
I have read some amazing titles lately that I am so excited for more people to read, including:
Things I’ve Withheld by Kei Miller
Waiting for the Waters to Rise by Maryse Condé
The Year I Flew Away by Maria Arnold
5) What advice would you give to anyone who wants to start Bookstagramming/reviewing?
I would say GO FOR IT! We need more people talking about books they love. Two pieces of advice I always give are: Firstly, know why you are starting it and know that it will be a passion project. And secondly, remember to read the books you love and post about those.
Cindy Allman is a Jamaican living and working in Trinidad & Tobago. She is the founder of the BookofCinz platform which advocates for greater engagement with literature. She’s been Bookstagramming for over three years and in this space of time started the now internationally-known Read Caribbean campaign. Additionally, Cindy is a top Goodreads reviewer, runs a book club, administers a free library open to residents of Trinidad, and has written about or been interviewed on Caribbean literature in diverse publications.