We caught up with 2018 English graduate Christina Storey to talk about her brand new book club bringing a new book community to Instagram.
We asked her about the The Storey Book Club, her favourite books and her time at Queen Mary.
Tell us about your new Instagram book club. What should people expect when they join?
For ages I’ve been jealous of my mum’s ‘real life’ book club, and with everything going on at the moment I’ve seen lots of literary events move online so I thought, why not create an online book club?
I’ve been posting my own book reviews on my personal instagram for a while and got a few messages from friends and random followers saying that they liked my book recommendations and wanted more. I decided I wanted to create a little community on the internet that people can just discuss their favourite books and most recent reads.
I’m going to be posting recommendations a lot and plan to have a weekly post of a favourite book from childhood. The main point of it is, of course, the ‘club’ element of it! A book is picked every two weeks, it’s announced on the Saturday evening, and two weeks later there will be a post on the feed with some questions which (I hope!) will create some discussion in the comments! The first book is Everything I know about love by Dolly Alderton and we’ll be discussing it Sunday 26th April at 8pm.
It’s an incredibly new venture for me but I’ve had some great responses so far so I’m excited to grow it further!
What are your 3 favourite books and why? (too hard? Maybe 3 recent books)
Yes that is a very hard question! I definitely can’t pick favourites but I’ll pick three that I love.
1) Everything I know about love by Dolly Alderton
- The reason I picked this as my first book club pick is just because I simply love it. Dolly writes so candidly about her experiences with everything – boys, alcohol, family, friends, loss – and it genuinely had me laughing one minute, crying the next. When I finished it all I wanted to do was text all my friends saying how much I love them!
2) The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
- This was the book that I always mentioned in my first year on university when I was asked what my favourite book was! It has such a unique tone of voice and narrator’s perspective, it tells such an interesting story and is very moving.
3) A Sky Painted Gold by Laura Wood
- I love young adult books so much (I even wrote my dissertation on them) and this is one of my favourites. Set in the 1920s it has the glamour and wistfulness of The Great Gatsby, is beautifully written and also has great character developments and relationships.
Tell us about your time at QMUL. What were the books that made an impression on you?
My time at QMUL was great, I split my time doing my English degree, being in the cheerleading club and working at drapers so I definitely had the full university experience. I am quite set in my ways when it comes to what to read and university definitely pushed me out of my boundaries and opened up so much great literature for me that it’s hard to pick specific books. Some of the modules I loved were the Arthurian module, Dickens and Jane Austen modules. My favourite module was definitely Reading Childhood/ Writing Children as we analysed so many books from my childhood in a literary sense and I I found it really interesting and thought-provoking!
What advice would you give to current students at Queen Mary about life after university?
Well, my first piece of advice would be to travel! I travelled solo to Australia the January following my graduation. I travelled and worked there for a year and just had the best year of my life. I met so many people, experienced so much and although now some of my friends are ‘ahead’ in their careers compared to me, I don’t regret it at all as I had lots of great life experiences!
However, I realise in the current state of things travel may not be an option and the job market (or lack of) seems even scarier – and I get that, trust me I do! I started looking for a job in publishing when I returned from Australia, and then Corona happened and companies stopped hiring. It’s hard, it’s really hard but you have to try and make the most of it. I’ve been doing some online courses – FutureLearn and Google Digital Garage, which are both really good, and I’ve started up my book club! I’m trying to improve my employability skills so that when companies do start hiring again, I can show them what I’ve been doing with my time and try to be the best candidate possible!
I won’t lie to you, life after University is tough but it’s exciting as well. There is so much out there. Whether that’s career, travelling or your personal life – just try to look for the positives in everything and work as hard as you can!