Instagram Accounts to Watch: Meet Megan, Creator of What Megan Reads
This week's Instagram feature is the hilarious and wonderful Megan of @whatmeganreads. I can not remember when or how we connected, but she is one of the funniest and most down to earth people I have met in the book community. I love these interviews because I find out all kinds of things about people that I would have never known. For instance, Megan is the book community Katniss! How badass is that? Competitive archery anyone? Also SHE HAS A PET PIG! She is a GINORMOUS animal lover like myself and has opened her home to all sorts of feathered and furry creatures. It was an absolute delight to interview Megan and I know you will enjoy getting to know her as much as I have.
1) Tell me what a day in the life of Megan looks like.
A hot mess. For serious. My husband is a career firefighter, so he’s either sleeping or on shift at the fire station when I start my days around 5:30 am. Wait, that’s not entirely accurate. The alarm goes off at 5:30am…but I hit the snooze until it stops and then wake up in a panic somewhere around 6:15. I run through the house barking orders at my Littles (a boy-11 and a girl-7) like a drill sergeant - tossing Pop Tarts toward the table, pushing the dogs out the door, finding lost shoes and sniff checking kiddo breath (WHAT, I ask you, is so hard about brushing one’s teeth?!), zipping backpacks and running everyone out the door. I put my makeup on in the car. We are most usually always late. I work full time as a business analyst for the state government. It is not my dream job, but the work is interesting and my coworkers don’t mind when I sing (or sometimes rap) song lyrics in response to their comments or questions. If I don’t have errands, I spend my lunch break reading at a local park. After getting home in the evenings it’s dinner, making sure homework is done, getting the kids showered, reading time, bedtime prayers, and making sure everything is ready for the next day. Then, ME TIME! I always read before bed, most of the time staying up WAY too late...which likely contributes to my difficulty in waking up on time. :)
2) With all that you do, how do you make time for reading?
I’m very intentional about it. Plus, I have a book with me all. the. time. Purse shopping is a bear because I have to make sure it’s big enough to hold a book. Or three. I read in the checkout line at the grocery store, during my lunch hour, while waiting to pick up my kids from school or their activities, while I’m cooking dinner, at night before bed. I listen to audiobooks on my commute to and from work or while I’m doing chores around the house. Reading is my habit and my self-care. It keeps me stable and happy. And that’s totally worth it for the people who have to live with me.
3) What genre are you most drawn to and why?
Historical fiction! I’m an escapist reader, so I love being transported far away from anything resembling my everyday life.
4) We recently talked about how passionate we are about reading and everyone having a book in their hand. Why do you believe that books can save the world?
Books break down boundaries. You and I have talked before about how it’s so easy for some to hate what you don’t know. If you have no personal connections, no way to relate to someone, you can be happily ignorant and comfortable in an “Us versus Them” mentality. And in that mentality, the “Us” is always given more value, the “Them” much less. And it doesn’t bother you a bit. But when you read books that take you to other countries, expose you to other cultures, beliefs, lifestyles….it isn’t so easy to dismiss or discriminate. It’s harder to feel ambivalent about the battle for LGBTQA rights if you’ve read This is How It Always Is and been in the mind of a transgender child. If you’ve read The Book of Unknown Americans or Behold the Dreamers, or Salt to the Sea, you begin to think a little bit differently about immigration and the refugee crisis. Books take away the ignorance - they teach empathy. That is why books can save the world!
5) I read where your mother would read Bedtime for Francis to you at night ( I loved this book when I was growing up too!) Is she responsible for your love of reading?
Absolutely and unequivocally. My mama championed reading with my brother and I, checking out dozens of books from the library, reading first to us and then with us as we grew older. She would seek out our reading passions and then feed them, which made us love books even more. One of my most treasured possessions is the actual copy of Bedtime For Frances that Mom read to me as a child. She rescued it from our local public library before it was discarded and then gave it to me when my daughter was born. It is well loved - rips, Kool-Aid stains, and crayon marks galore. It is perfect. My mom has taught me many things in life, but two of the most important are to never stop reading and always look for magic in the world. She has Roald Dahl’s “glittering eyes”.
6) With all the electronic devices and instant access to information that we have in our society today, do you find it's easy/difficult to get your children to read? Why or why not?
Yes and no. My kids love electronics like most do - my son is nuts over Roblox and my daughter could watch those YouTube toy unboxing videos for DAYS, and I do get my share of huffing and puffing when I ask them to step away from the screens, but electronics can also help with reading. I love the ease and convenience of a Kindle - both my kids have a Kindle Fire. it’s so nice to be able to not only set controls for how much screen time they can have, but to check out lots of reading material from Overdrive/Libby for them and not have to worry about them losing actual books! I just paid for my third, yes THIRD lost library book. My daughter loves to read, but is a true Anne of Green Gables level daydreamer -books end up under her bed, in the sock drawer, under the floor mat in the car, in the basket of her bike...it’s chaos. I can GPS track that Kindle down, though. We haven't lost it yet!
7) What is currently on your nightstand?
On top are my current reads/books I’ve recently finished - The Brutal Telling (January’s book for Penny Pushers), my Kindle (grabbed copies of Stillhouse Lake and Unsub from Overdrive/Libby!) and Ginny Moon. Under those are the next few in the hopper - The Music Shop,, The Woman in the Window, and Beasts of Extraordinary Circumstance.
8) What is your guilty pleasure?
Definitely time to myself. There are so many things that call our names and need our attention in everyday life - jobs, bills, housework, school, families. We have obligations out the wazoo! I have realized in the past few years that I am a much better human if I have a little time to myself every day. Time to decompress and read, stream some good tv shows, or just be inside my own head for a while. The world is so loud and we all need to be able to find some quiet in it. If I don’t get at least a little ‘me’ time, I go beast mode - nobody has time for that. :) Also, IKEA. I am obsessed with IKEA. We live about an hour away from one and I have to go at least once every few months. Even if it’s just to look and drink the free coffee!
9) What is something about you that people would be surprised to know?
I am an experienced (and competitive) archer. Everyone in my immediate family shoots compound and/or recurve bows, even my youngest! It’s sort of a family activity - there is a park about 30 minutes away that has a 3D archery range we love to go to. The kids also shoot competitively with 4H. Our family is huge into animals and animal rescues- we currently have 3 Humane Society/adopted dogs, 2 parakeets, 2 guinea pigs, and a house pig. Nope, don’t adjust your screen, you read that correctly. Maisy was adopted from a farm rescue as a Juliana “mini potbelly pig”. She now weighs 146 pounds. Not so mini, but we love her! And, on the upside, she’s way more particular about cleanliness than the dogs! I think a lot of people would also be surprised to know that I’m a pretty big introvert. I talk a good game, and do pretty well with small groups, but I’d honestly prefer to be curled up by myself at home rather than be at a crowded restaurant or party. Hands down.
10) If you could have dinner with three authors (living or dead) which three would they be and why?
Easy peasy - I would want a joint dinner with L.M. Montgomery and L. Frank Baum because they wrote the books that were the backbone of my childhood. The Wizard of Oz and Anne of Green Gables taught me to dream and began my lifelong love affair with books! I’d want to have coffee with Fredrik Backman, because FREDRIK BACKMAN. I’d probably just sit there stirring my latte and be too awed to speak. I have adored every flipping thing that man has written.
11) What advice would you give someone just starting a book account on Instagram? What has been your best experience on Instagram? What has been your worst?
Be yourself. Be yourself. Be yourself. One of the most striking things about Bookstagram I've heard recently was from our mutual (and fantastic) friend Kourtney, from @kourtneysbookshelf. She said “there is room for ALL of us here”. And there is. Bookstagram is big and wonderful and accepting - there are corners for every genre, personality, series and fandom. There’s room for us all, so be YOU! My experience here, by and large, has been so enormously positive, but I will say that it was hard for me, especially in the early days of my account, to not feel stressed about gaining followers, reading crazy amounts of books so I could post photos every day, or feeling like I had a voice in the community. But when I laid back and just said ‘to heck with it’, forcing myself to stress less about generating content, stop worrying about whether or not my photos were good enough; when I realized no fairies would die if I didn’t post every day and nobody really minded if I did one challenge or no challenges or twenty challenges; when I realized all those things and opened my eyes to look past the end of my own nose, I found my best experience on Instagram - I found a whole hilarious, supportive group of new friends that I didn’t have six months ago. That’s the best part of it all.
12) What books are you most excited to read in 2018?
My stars….I have a list a mile long! Here are some up and comings I’m REALLY anticipating - Girls Burn Brighter, The Room on Rue Amelie, Unraveling Oliver, Hold Back the Stars, Limelight, The Map of Salt and Stars, The Glass Forest, and The Last Equation of Isaac Severy. Heavens...and that was the abbreviated list!