Sophia Ann is Filipina booklover and bookstagrammer behind the Instagram account @iya.reads. A college student taking up financial management, she is a huge fan of contemporary and fantasy reads and  brings her kindle wherever she goes. She loves books and K-drama, and can also be found on Goodreads.  

Here's Sophia Ann, also known as Iya, from the Philippines! Read along to find out more about her favourite picks, why she loves second-hand books, and what she recommends you to read. Be sure to head to our website to browse her curated collection! Happy reading🌱

Tell us a little bit about yourself.

My name is Sophia Ann, but you can call me Iya. I was born and raised in the Philippines. I’m a college student taking up Financial Management.  Other than reading, I love watching K-dramas! Some of my favourites dramas are Crash Landing on You and True Beauty.

Why/when did you start bookstagramming? How has your experience been?

I've always enjoyed reading, having begun at the age of 14 and being encouraged by a friend who shares the same passion for books. I used to post my reading updates on my personal account before I created a bookstagram. It has been an interesting experience - I realised my non-reader friends were not very interested in books and that not everyone is your target market. I started to create my bookstagram account way back in 2015 to showcase my love for books. And who knew that it would be a successful one? I’m glad I did it because I gained friends.

What keeps you motivated?

My family and all the people that surround me are my biggest motivation. They are the reason why I wake up in the morning and strive every day. Also what drives me the most is helping others and empowering individuals. It instils in me a sense of self-assurance and the belief that I can contribute in some way. The thought of being able to help someone solve their difficulty inspires me to work hard. I make an effort to maintain a positive attitude. This enables me to inspire the same positivity in others when they are in desperate need of it.

What is your favourite book genre, and why?

Contemporary. It is where I find comfort because for me Characters in this genre appear to be individuals with whom I can "connect." I don't always understand what they're going through, but there's something about them that I can relate to. It also gives me ‘kilig’ vibes. I also love reading fantasy books because I like exploring a new world, with new characters, and new ideas.

What is your desert island book/ favourite book?

The House in the Cerulean Sea. It is beyond beautiful. It was so hard to put this book down. It is full of life quotes that will fill your soul. Every line affected me. It taught me lots of lessons especially, acceptance, caring, and opening your heart and soul. It’s also about being grateful and respecting the differences of others. It's a constant reminder not to judge people by what we see, but we need to look beneath the surface and the beauty in it.

Tell us more about your collection topic.

I love reading. I enjoy reading stories that include strong female protagonists. Gender stereotypes are still present in today's society. This will be a reminder that women can rule. We're embracing women's power with this handpicked collection: fiercer feminism, which has its roots in women's history and current contributions to society, and braver leaders. We can overcome the chains of gender stereotypes, and we must stand together to fight injustice.

What are your top 3 picks from your collection, and why?

Invisible Life of Addie LaRue - The story of Addie is unique and magical. At the same time, it’s unbearable. I like the idea of a character who is cursed to be forgotten by everyone she meets; it was unique yet devastating. I can't imagine the loneliness Addie felt, yet she remains strong. Also, I love the way that the author wrote the characters. It is full of emotions, and it felt so real. You can feel Addie’s sorrow with every word she speaks.

City of Bones - Clary Fray is the main character, and she has a long and tough path ahead of her. She allows herself to be not okay on occasion. Clary has been through a lot of tragedy and grief, and she doesn't try to hide it. She bears the emotional wounds and accepts them as part of her identity. As she learns how to become a Shadowhunter, what it takes to be brave, and how to defend those she cares about.

Cress - One of the main characters in The Lunar Chronicles is Cress. She is a naive, lovely, eager, fearful, secretly courageous, incredibly inventive, and very lonely Lunar hacker and coder who formerly worked for Queen Levana and Sybil and is now working with Linh Cinder. She's a Lunar shell with no knowledge of the outside world, having spent ten years confined in a satellite, performing her terrible mistress's nasty technical bidding. I liked how she had a lot of her preconceived notions about people and life destroyed. In this book, she truly comes into her own. She is my favourite among the characters in the series.

How did you hear about Thryft?

By word-of-mouth and bookstagram.

Tell us more about your sustainable lifestyle journey.

In school, we are reminded that everything we do in our daily life has an influence on the planet. I practice sustainability through the basics. I practice the 3Rs: reduce, reuse, and recycle. If possible I save paper, I opt to receive letters through email and only print documents when absolutely necessary. It's a small step but it means a lot to our planet Earth.

Do you shop from sustainable stores or avoid certain brands (i.e., fast fashion) to practice sustainability?

I rarely shop for other things except for books. Here in the Philippines, most shops are practising sustainability by reducing plastics. We now use paper bags and eco-bags when we shop. There are certain brands that I avoid such as those cosmetic and beauty brands that still practice animal cruelty.

What are your experiences with second-hand books, and why would you choose second-hand?

I love second-hand books. The smell and feel of the pages of an old book are something else altogether. Buying second-hand books is a sustainable practice because we can help the environment by reducing paper usage. I’m still a student and second-hand shops are my go-to when buying books because it's cheaper and I can find some rare books too. To have the same reading experience, we don't need a brand-new book.

Anything else you’d like to say to our readers?

Thank you so much, Thryft for reaching out to collaborate on this wonderful project. It was such a privilege collaborating with you. I hope you’ll like this curated collection of mine. Feel free to share your thoughts with me on my bookstagram.

We hope you loved learning more about Sophia Ann and her collection, Strong Female Characters! Head over to our website to browse her whole collection!