Our Friend is Here! Latinx Heritage Month – An Interview with Carmen, the Fashion Bookstagrammer; On Her Bookstagram Inspirations and How It Shaped Her Identity

latinx heritage month carmen tomesandtextiles

Our Friend is Hereis a guest feature at The Quiet Pond, where authors, creatives, and fellow readers, are invited to ‘visit’ the Pond! In Our Friend is Here! guest posts, our visitors (as their very own unique character!) have a friendly conversation about anything related to books or being a reader — and become friends with Xiaolong and friends.

Our Friend is Here: Latinx Heritage Month Edition is a month-long event at The Quiet Pond, where between September 15th and October 15th, Latinx authors and bookish content creators are invited to celebrate being Latinx and Latinx books. Find the introduction post for Latinx Heritage Month at The Quiet Pond here.

I’ve been having so much fun hosting Latinx Heritage Month guest series – and I hope that you are all enjoying our posts! One of my favourite things about hosting these Our Friend is Here: Latinx Heritage Month guest series, like our Asian Heritage Month and Pride Month, is having the honour and privilege to have some incredibly cool people visit us here at the Pond. On a more personal note, I’m so happy with the wonderful guests we have had for Latinx Heritage Month, as many of the guests we have had are shining lights in the book community, especially for their advocacy for Latinx literature.

Today, I am so excited to have Carmen, the bookstagrammer behind Tomes and Textiles, visit us here at the Pond today! Our friend, Maria, who interviewed Paola, who organised Latinx Heritage Month Book Fest, helped us by interviewing Carmen and I’m excited to share the interview they had with you all! Carmen visits us as a leopard in a jumpsuit that might be familiar to those of you who follow Carmen on Twitter!

As always, before I share Maria’s interview with Carmen, I want to share with you all Carmen’s amazing bookstagram – if you have never come across her bookstagram before, then you’re in for a real treat.


Carmen: Bookstagrammer at Tomes and Textiles

If you asked me about who are some of the most creative bookstagrammers out there, one of my first picks would definitely be Carmen behind Tomes and Textiles. It goes without saying that I love Carmen’s bookstagram – it is such a beauty to behold, her hard work and thoughtfulness in every photo is evident, and it’s a great place to find a book recommendation. 

View this post on Instagram

CAZADORA: UNDOCUMENTED. UNPROTECTED. UNBREAKABLE. ❤️ We’re almost halfway through Latinx Heritage Month and I am wondering why you haven’t read Lobizona by @rominagarber yet??? I hope you will celebrate by putting Lobizona on your TBR (at the very least) and then preordering Cazadora when you’re done. ❤️ I just listened to the audiobook to Lobizona as a reread because I had read the arc so long ago and first of all, @sol.madriaga is an incredible narrator! ❤️ Secondly, this book is amazing and here is an emoji list of things I loved about the book: ❤️ ✊🏼 SO FEMINIST 🔥 BURN THE PATRIARCHY WITH FEMINIST BOYS AS ALLIES 🏰 ESCUELA DE MAGIA 💪🏼CHINGA LA MIGRA 🧙🏼WITCHES 🐺 WEREWOLVES 🌖 LA LUNA .👯‍♀️GIRLS WITH COMPLICATED BUT LOVING FRIENDSHIPS ✒️THIS BOOK IS FULL OF AMAZING EMPOWERING QUOTES ❤️ If you’re wondering why I didn’t do a cover recreation of Lobizona? That’s because I have not only shared one already, but I also shared some process shots in a separate post! I will share these posts again in my stories for you! ❤️ COVER ARTIST: If you are not familiar with the cover artist’s work, @dariahlazatova’s designed the cover of Lobizona as well. I am obsessed with their witchy art nouveau style that captures a special type of magic—not just in these covers but in every single illustration. I urge you to follow Dariah for your dose of daily whimsy. ❤️ END NOTE: wow! So many new followers in the past 24 hours. WELCOME!!! I have posted my rules of engagement in my stories for you. I am excited to have you all here and am looking forward to interacting with you all! ❤️ POST SCRIPT: THIS IS A MAJOR HIN FOR SOMETHING SPECIAL COMING TOMORROW 👻🎃 . . . #lobizona #cazadora #rominagarber #WolvesOfNoWorld #CoverArt #illustration #CoverArtist #CopyThatCover #BookCoverRecreation #RedBook #blackBook #BookishLife #bookrecommendations #BookCoverArt #WhatToReadNext #BookcoverDesign #WednesdayBooks #BookPic #BooksAreMagic #LatinxBooks #LatinxBookstagram #EscapeInABook #ReadWithUs #LatinxHetitageMonth #CoverLover #CoverLove #BookishGirl #CreativeBookstagram #BookAesthetic #813Reads

A post shared by Carmen 🇨🇺 Read Latinx Books (@tomesandtextiles) on

What I love about Carmen’s bookstagram is that she combines her love for books, fashion, and feminism to deliver original and gorgeous content. Honestly, if you find yourself scrolling through Carmen’s bookstagram feed for ages, I wouldn’t be surprised – as I said, every photo is striking, thoughtful, and beautiful.

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"I have heard all of the stories about girls like me, and I am unafraid to make more of them." ⁣-Carmen Maria Machado, Her Body and Other Parties 💖⁣ Hello, while I am not the leader of the Latinx Bookstagram community, I would like to use my platform to let you know what we are NOT here for:⁣ 💖⁣ ➕Give you MORE book recommendations via DM⁣ ➕Give you ideas for posts and content⁣ ➕Do the emotional labor of educating you⁣ ➕Argue with you⁣ ➕Promote your Latinx Heritage Month giveaway or posts⁣ ➕Give suggestions on who else to follow ⁣ ➕Be a spectacle of admiration because you just found my page on the first day of Latinx Heritage Month. I’ve been here for FIVE YEARS. I wasn’t hiding.⁣ 💖⁣ Latinx content creators provide what we choose to make available within our feeds and it is up to YOU to do with it what you may. Please READ FIRST and ASK QUESTIONS LATER. Don’t count on the Latinx book community to do the heavy lifting for you.⁣ 💖⁣ Want me to do labor for you? Considering buying me a Ko-Fi or Venmo me a few bucks. I will post the link in my stories as a swipe up for you.⁣ 💖⁣ This little post took me an hour: Lifting and arranging these books into this pattern, taking a photo, editing the photo and then posting and writing a caption. It’s all I have time for. I educate a lot in my captions and try to save the most useful items in highlights, so look there first. I AM NOT YOUR LATINX GOOGLE.⁣ 💖⁣ It’s day 2 and I am tired and I already see other people are tired. Try to do better. ⁣ 💖⁣ Today is my first day off in over a month, so I am going to go and enjoy it. Also? I have a very exciting post for tomorrow that I can’t wait to share with you!⁣ 💖⁣ QOTD: See any books you love or are in your possibilities pile for this month? Tell me what you are reading.⁣ .⁣ .⁣ .⁣ #latinxbookstagram #latinxbooks #latinxreader #iamlatinx #bookstagram #bookstagrammer #newbookstagram #booksbooksbooks #tbr #latinxheritagemonth #ilovebooks #bookpile #bookedit #BookishlyEngaged #MagicInBooks #latinxshelf #waitingonwednesday⁣ #whatareyoureadingwednesday #bookishcommunity #yabookstagram #readersofig #bookpile #bookgram #bookstagramista #diversespines #bookflatlay #bookishfeatures

A post shared by Carmen 🇨🇺 Read Latinx Books (@tomesandtextiles) on

I particularly love this post – not only are there some truly wonderful Latinx reads, Carmen also shares some important words about the labour involved of being an advocate in the book community. 


Maria’s Interview with Carmen

Maria: First of all, you probably get this a lot but I adore your Instagram feed! And congratulations on 10K!! That’s amazing!! Where do you draw the inspiration for your pictures from?

Carmen: Thank you so much, Maria! It’s been a fun ride in this bookstagram community and this feels like such a huge accomplishment. 

I mostly draw inspiration from a couple of places–the most obvious is the book cover (I love creating cover recreations), but sometimes words or a scene from a book may inspire a photo as well. The second place I draw inspiration from is my closet because I often read a book and think: I have an outfit that matches the aesthetic or theme of a book, especially the cover.

Maria: I know that choosing will probably be super hard but is there a particular picture that you are super proud of how it turned out?

Carmen: I love most of my pictures for various reasons, but can always find a fault in all of them. If I had to chose my favorite one it would be the Mexican Gothic paper doll dress photo, mostly because there were so many coincidences that had to pull together to create that photo.

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“She wished for eternal youth and endless merriment.” —Silvia Moreno-Garcia, Mexican Gothic 💚 PREACH, Noemí. 💚 Happy Monday, friends! 💚 Mexican Gothic is the Random House Book Club selection for August. I read my arc a while back, so I am currently immersing myself in the audiobook narrated by the extremely talented @francescacorzo to refresh and take in the final copy. There will be a Zoom Happy Hour book club discussion lead by the one and only @allegedlymari on 8/25 at 7:30pm EST. 💚 Real talk: I'm not going to lie to you, I didn't even know what to write in this caption because this is my favorite bookstagram edit I have ever done and I couldn't wait a moment longer to share it with you. I used the paper dolls from the Random House website and sort of guessed where my arms might be and, I kid you not, THIS WAS MY FIRST PHOTO. OUT OF ONLY THREE TEST SHOTS. I was going to try to figure out the mechanics of the double exposure and work backwards into posing my body and distance of the camera from my body, but as luck would have it, everything magically combined into this. The one major thing I had to do was flip my photo because I had the arms reversed when I posed. Also, editing was a little more detailed than usual I kept having to use double-exposure to get the overlay just how I wanted it. I think I can provide some in-process photos, would you be interested in seeing those? 💚 PS–I threw in a couple of tiny little Easter Eggs from the book (very subtle and small, no spoilers). Don't point them out in the comments, but you can just nod your head in agreement if you see any. 💚 QOTD: Ask me anything about photo editing or just say hi and tell me how your Monday is going. . . . #MexicanGothic #SilviaMorenoGarcia #RandomHouseBookClub #RHBC #InstagramBookClub #PaperDoll #CreativeBookstagram #BookEdit #NoemiTaboda #BookClubOfInstagram #ReadersOfInstagram #ReadLatinx #LatinxReads #PhotoEdit #Booktography #BookPhotography #BookPhoto #bookworld #bookwormsofinstagram #bookcommunity #igreads #books #Readstagram #ILoveBooks #BookishlyEngaged #mybookfeatures #LatinxInPublishing #fantasybooks #GothicNovel #GothicHorror

A post shared by Carmen 🇨🇺 Read Latinx Books (@tomesandtextiles) on

The paper doll was in a hand-on-hip pose and so I was shooting some tests to see how I could come close to the pose and I got it on the first shot! Also, I wasn’t even working on the lighting and it was great. So this photo that looks so grandiose was actually very simple to pull together, like it was fated to be. I love that rewarding feeling of everything coming together like that.

Maria: Do you feel that being Latinx has influenced your style when you take pictures?

Carmen: I’ll let you in on a little secret: bookstagramming has really helped me come to terms with my Cuban identity. Be it through helping me find books to deal with the complex emotions I feel being both Cuban and American, helping me meet more Latinx friends outside of my family and circle of friends and see their experiences, finding more activism within the Latinx community, I feel like bookstagram has actually influenced my Latinidad considerably and not the other way around.

Maria: Is there a particular genre or trope that you would like to see more of but with Latinx characters?

Carmen: Personally, I would love to see more classic story retellings and remixes featuring Latinx main characters. Also, I would love to see more stories centering Black and ethnically diverse Latinx characters because we are not a monolith.

Maria: If you could go back in time, what are three books you would recommend your 13 year old self and why?

Carmen: My 13-year-old self would have loved Don’t Date Rosa Santos by Nina Moreno–forbidden romance and curses would have appealed to me at that age in a BIG way. Also, that story was like looking in the mirror at how I was raised. Also, Ruth Behar’s Lucky Broken Girl and the way she experienced her childhood with strict parents would have been extremely meaningful to me. Finally, I think Running by Natalia Sylvester would have helped me understand how important it is to speak up for myself.


About Carmen

carmen photoMy name is Carmen. I’m a Cuban-American residing in Florida. Outside of my passion for books and my undying love of my local library, I adore vintage fashion, music, film, supporting the local arts and my dogs. I’m weirdly obsessed with skincare and will have a sheet mask recommendation for you at the drop of a hat.

Find Carmen on: InstagramTwitterFacebook

5 thoughts on “Our Friend is Here! Latinx Heritage Month – An Interview with Carmen, the Fashion Bookstagrammer; On Her Bookstagram Inspirations and How It Shaped Her Identity

  1. Oh, I haven’t seen her account before but I will definitely be checking it out! I love how she comments on bookstagram influencing her Latinidad, I’d never considered the way it could interact so strongly with identity in that style. ❤ Love the interview!!

    Liked by 2 people

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