Alone with a Book is an excellent piece of creative nonfiction which we are very proud to have published in the Winter 2023 Issue of Spellbinder. Overall, Alone with a Book is really lovely, well-written and funny, but it doesn’t stop there. In this piece, the author Stephanie Shi beautifully examined the loneliness and connection that comes with reading and posting about books in the digital age. The characters are both lovable and relatable, while the story captures the reader with its directedness and verisimilitude.
This incredibly well-written piece begins with the protagonist thinking about starting a bookstagram account during lockdown, after rediscovering her love for physical books and probably as a consequence of the extra free time. These reflections open up lots of nostalgia and unexplored emotions, which make the protagonist realise there might be more to it than a few taps on the touchscreen.
“These memories tempt me to create a bookstagram too.
But my fear of being judged, as well as my hunger for human connections, could realize my other fear: saying what I think will win approval and engagement, never mind if I believe it or not. I would lose myself.”
Opening a bookstagram to share a love for books is just the starting point for the author to explore how literature lives on in the age of social media. This is a really contemporary theme and, as we thought as editors when choosing this piece for publication, relevant to Spellbinder’s journey as a literary magazine with a presence on social media. In this piece, Stephanie Shi was able to merge a reflection on literary themes with an extremely relatable, funny and sweet bookish story. The result is a timely piece which explores the delicate entanglement of a love of books, friendship and social media. It’s a must read!
Linda Arrighi, Nonfiction Editor
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