instagram chooses my TBR | mini reviews

30 October 2018

There are so many different bookish communities and resources with the advent of the internet and it's a beautiful thing. I could make a whole other post about my thoughts on how the internet has enhanced and changed the way we read because it's so interesting to me.

There are several downsides to social media, which have been talked about extensively by so many people so we're not getting into that today, however, I think one good thing that has come from my own personal social media experience is it has made made me grow a lot as a reader.

Due to my never ending search for books to read, social media has become my main source of book recommendations. And that's not something I'm ashamed of. Sometimes it's hard for me to understand how people used to find books to read before there was social media.

I spend a good amount of my time in the Bookstagram corner of Instagram. I have discovered Bookstagram is an especially great place to find new books I've never heard of before. As you scroll through the explore page, it's so easy to add about a hundred books to your TBR without even realizing it.

Because of my obsession with Instagram and books, I decided to do a fun experiment. I took the first six books that came up on my explore page, and inspired by BooksandLala (one of the most creative booktubers), I read all of them. I went into them all completely blind to see how trustworthy the bookstagram community really is with its recommendations.


Home Fire had a premise I probably could have never guessed even if I tried. I expected a contemporary thriller of some sort from the title, but what I got was a modern day retelling of Antigone. When I started to connect the Antigone parallels I thought it was a clever idea. It had a lot of potential, but I didn't think it was executed well. If it had either been longer, or if it had only focused on one character perspective instead of four I would have enjoyed it much better. The way it was it felt too sped up. I didn't have time to process or understand what was happening, especially since it deals with subjects about the Islamic faith, which I don't know much about. I also found the writing very pretentious and so incredibly boring. I was disappointed because I feel like it could have been more thought provoking than it was.



This was the only book recommendation that was on my TBR before I began this experiment, and when I saw it pop up in the feed I was super excited! I'm a huge fan of Shirley Jackson's short story The Lottery, and have been dying to read some of her other work. I was not disappointed! I read this one in a single day. It had me hooked from the first chapter and kept me the whole time. The atmosphere of this book is incredibly haunting and eery, and Shirley Jackson's writing style makes you feel as if you've lost your mind in the same was as reading Sylvia Plath. The characters, Merrikat, Constance, and Uncle Julian, are interesting and mysterious. They keep you wondering what secret they've been hiding for so long. The ending wrecked me and left me thinking about it long after I finished the last page late at night. I'm obsessed! And I definitely think that this will be one I will return to as a favorite!



This book is not at all the type of book I would've picked for myself at all in any normal circumstance. Domestic thrillers are not my forté, but I was open and willing to try something new when I picked this up. But from the first page, when the main character starts explaining her strange childhood obsession with the elves on the Rice Krispies cereal box, I knew it was going to be a bumpy ride. The writing in this book is some of the worst, most juvenile writing I've ever read. Everything is over explained with too many unnecessary details, and the plot is extremely forced. The characters are so annoying, whiney, and two dimensional. The dialogue is so unnatural, and I'm pretty sure that the author has no idea what contractions are. Needless to say I hated this book, which is not something I would normally say. I usually have an open mind about every book I read, but this one was special and is definitely one of the worst books I've ever read.


I have heard a lot about Kate Morton's books on the internet, but I had never thought to pick up one of her books for myself. The Forgotten Garden is one of the loveliest books, though, and I'm definitely going to be reading more from Kate Morton in the future! I love multi-generational stories that weave together to revel some mystery, so this one had me hooked from the start. I will say it took awhile for the plot to pick up, the first third of the book works to set up the rest of the story, but it was almost too much. I also wanted a little more development with the relationships of some of the characters, specifically Eliza and Rose. Other than those two complaints though I really loved this story. The characters, the historical setting, the mystery, and the subtle relation with The Secret Garden were all so enjoyable, and I would recommend!



The Goldfinch is one of those highly acclaimed books I knew nothing about and didn't really have any interest in. At over 700 pages, it's a big commitment and it's a little intimidating. I decided to listen to this one on audiobook since it would have taken me forever to physically read. In the end, I thought the themes of grief and the consequences of actions were very interesting, the narration of the audiobook was very well done, and Donna Tartt is one of the most talented writers ever. The way she puts words together is so masterful. My only complaint is that this book was far too long. I'm a reader who loves long books, but even so this one needed to be cut back by about 200 pages at least. There was a lot that didn't see necessary. I did like this book more than I was expecting to, but I think I liked Donna Tartt's other novel, The Secret History much better.



This has been a hyped book since it came out earlier this year, so I had high hopes going in. I don't usually have good luck with mermaid/siren stories. I was pulled in by the buzz with this one, though, and expected to finally have a mermaid book to enjoy. I unfortunately felt bad that I didn't end up liking it. The writing was decent enough, however, I grew bored, annoyed, and underwhelmed as the book progressed. The characters were so forgettable, and the dual perspectives of the main characters both sounded exactly the same. Also nothing happened at all. The first half of the book was exposition and world building, and the second half was all over the place. The characters changed their goals and motivations so many times that my brain just stopped keeping track.


Out of the six books I read, half of them were one-star reads, which is unfortunate. But I think it also shows how different everyone's reading tastes are. I'm sure if I had just taken recommendations from the people I follow I would have different results. 

I would still recommend these books if they interest you. We Have Always Lived in the Castle is an amazing book, and I probably wouldn't have thought to read Kate Morton or The Goldfinch otherwise. Because of that I would call this "experiment" a success! And I'm sure someone would even like the ones that didn't fit with my personal tastes. 

Even though I didn't have a great experience with some of these reads, I'm still glad I gave them a shot. I read things I never would have before. Exploring and opening your horizons to different stories is what makes reading so special. And that's why I loved getting a chance to read these books.

What's the best book you've read because of social media?


  1. This is such an interesting concept!! I haven't spent much time on the bookstagram side of things, but social media HAS given me some of my favorite book titles. Like you, I consider that one of the best parts of the internet. : )

    The best book I've read because of social media? I'd start with The Storyteller. It's the first book I ever remember reading because it was recommended by social media. Since then, there have been so many titles and I'm grateful to have friends who share their tbr on social media so I can find great books too!


    1. Oh I've never heard of The Storyteller so I'll have to look into it.
      It's really so interesting how the internet has changed the way our generation read!