Hi WCBC! My name is Ashley Hasty, I’m the author behind Hasty Book List – a personal blog disguised as book reviews. I have a Ph.D. in fashion history so my genre of choice is historical fiction, but I also enjoy memoirs and murder mysteries.
When did you start blogging and what inspired you to start your blog?
Hasty Book List started as a hashtag on Instagram. Initially, it was a way for me to keep an archive of the books I read and to help me remember what each one about. I posted a picture of the book cover along with two to three sentences about the book with #HastyBookList. I never expected these posts to get much attention, but I slowly noticed lots of my friends were asking me what book they should read next. I began receiving requests to write longer reviews and to add a rating system. I resisted for years. I love to read but I didn’t want writing about the books to take time away from reading more books. I couldn’t deny the happiness I got from sharing my love of reading. There is nothing better than when someone stops me and thanks me for recommending a book to them. Or when someone tags me in a photo on Instagram saying they chose this book based on my review. The community that developed around my little hashtag is what inspired me to start my blog.
What is your favorite blog post that you have written?
I don’t have a favorite blog post, although I’m pretty happy with the comparisons I made in a recent review of Exit West by Mohsin Hamid. I listened to this book on Audible and found that his reading voice and writing style was very similar to that of Ernest Hemingway. I like the post I wrote comparing two of their quotes and I included a clip of Corey Stoll’s version of Hemingway in Midnight in Paris. I love it when I can pull clips from pop culture and relate them to books I’ve read.
More than favorite posts, I have favorite books! I am a Senior Lecturer in the School of Art and Design at Indiana University (I teach fashion merchandising courses), so when my students ask for book recommendations I always suggest The Woman I Wanted to Be by Diane von Furstenburg. I read it several years ago but it really stuck with me. Her story inspires me to be a better woman. I wrote my dissertation on World War II war brides so I love reading historical fiction set during WWII, a few of my favorites include Lilac Girls by Martha Hall Kelly, The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah, and Secrets of a Charmed Life by Susan Meissner. Lilac Girls is inspired by the true story of Caroline Ferriday, who helped Polish women who had been political prisoners at Ravensbrück; The Nightingale is about a woman who does her best to make the most of a terrible situation when a German captain requisitions her home while her husband is called to fight on the front lines. Secrets of a Charmed Life is about two sisters separated during the war. The older sister has dreams of working for a fashion designer while the younger sister still needs looking after.
What do you love about blogging?
Hands down, the reason I love blogging is the community that it builds around a subject. I’m a member of four book clubs and I still can’t satiate my interest. The thing I love most about blogging is that there is such a wider world I get to share my love of reading with. I have authors contacting me about books they’ve written, friends texting me to ask what book I recommend they read next, even my Trunk Club stylist asked me for book recommendations at my last appointment! I was so excited when strangers tagged me in their Instagram photos thanking me for a book recommendation. I love seeing books I’ve reviewed show up on “to-read” lists on Goodreads. I love reading and blogging allows me to share that love with more and more people.
What are some brands that you have worked with, or some brands that you would love to work with?
I’m currently collaborating with a food blogger who will be baking a pie inspired by a book I read – I love these nontraditional collaborations that require some creativity and a little bit of fun (I can’t wait to try this pie!) I would love to work with brands that have nothing to do with books and see what creative ideas we can come up with – fashion brands, perhaps we can put together an outfit for the main character? Coffee shops – who doesn’t love sipping on a cappuccino while reading a great book? Restaurants – maybe we could design a menu based on a book plot? The possibilities are endless and I love collaborating with creative individuals!
Be sure to check out more of Ashley’s blog here!