Faroukh Naseem is the creator behind the Instagram account, @theguywiththebook, and the 2018 winner of LBF’s Bookstagrammer of the Year Award. Naseem describes himself as such: “a 30 something passionate reader who tries and fails at his Goodreads reading challenge every year. Other things he fails at are making jokes, but he’ll never give up on that. He does win at a few things though, like making friends with stray cats and having chocolate for dinner.”
What was the last book you read?
The Only Story by Julian Barnes. Would you believe it’s the first book by him that I’ve read! I wanted to read The Sense of an Ending first but the title would make it very ironic, so…
What did you read it on?
A physical copy from the publisher, A.A. Knopf
What’s next on your reading list?
Next is Haruki Murakami’s much awaited Killing Commendatore which was kindly sent to me by Penguin UK. They know I’m a HUGE fan of him!
Which writer would you have loved to have met and why?
Definitely Haruki Murakami. After college I stopped reading for pleasure for a few years, kept running after work and life got in the way. Then, on a long flight between Hong Kong and Dubai, I started reading his 1Q84 trilogy (I picked it up because I wanted to look smart reading a 1,500 page book, I’m sure my fellow passengers noticed that). Jokes aside, I was hooked to the book, but when I reached home, I handed it over to my sister who had asked me to buy it for her, but the book kept calling me and I borrowed the book and finished it within a month! So, I owe a lot to Haruki Murakami for reigniting the love of books in me!
You are stranded on a desert island. What three books would you want with you?
The Holy Quran, The Travelling Cat Chronicles and How to build a boat and escape from an island for Dummies.
Name your favourite app and why.
Definitely Instagram, I think it’s a great medium for people like me who want to connect but are very camera shy. I can express myself without having to be in front of the camera like on YouTube.
Who has been your greatest inspiration and why?
My grandfather with whom I lived for a couple of years when I was in high school. He was a true inspiration, he was bed ridden for almost 15 years but I never heard him complain. He always looked at the brighter side of things and whenever I feel a bit down I remember him and he cheers me up. Unfortunately he passed away a few years ago; he would’ve been very proud of the award I got from The London Book Fair.
What was the first book that made you cry?
A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini, it’s such a great book and I know most people have read it, but if not, I would highly recommend it.
If you could tell your younger self one piece of advice, what would it be?
This is tricky, I don’t have any regrets because what I am today is a combination of all the fails and wins in my life. But if I could, I’d go back in time and tell myself not to take other people’s opinion of me too seriously.
What was your favourite childhood book?
Danny the Champion of the World by Roald Dahl. That book made me realise the sacrifices of my father to keep me and my siblings happy. Unlike most other children’s books, Danny wasn’t a fairy tale and that’s what really made me relate to it and love it!
Entries for our 2019 UK Book Blog Awards will open shortly.