Episode 132


Aleenah Ansari (she/her) is equal parts storyteller, creative problem solver, and journalist at heart who’s rooted in the stories of people behind products, companies, and initiatives. She writes about travel, entrepreneurship, mental health and wellness, and representation in media for Insider, The Seattle Times, Byrdie, and more. You can usually find her searching for murals in Seattle and beyond, reading a book, and planning her next trip to New York. Learn more at www.aleenahansari.com.

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Host: Julie Strauss

Aleenah Ansari
Website/Twitter/Instagram/Linked In

Discussed in this episode:
Maybe You Should Talk to Someone by Lori Gottlieb
The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid
The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller
Aleenah’s article about the best indie bookstores across the United States
Footnotes from the World’s Greatest Bookstores: True Tales and Lost Moments from Book Buyers, Booksellers, and Book Lovers by Bob Eckstein
Word on the Water – The London Bookbarge
More Than Enough by Elaine Welteroth
Attached: The New Science of Adult Attachment and How It Can Help You Find – And Keep – Love by Amir Levine and Rachel Heller
Dear Therapists podcast with Lori Gottlieb and Guy Winch
Crying in H Mart by Michelle Zauner
Funny You Should Ask by Elissa Sussman

(Note: Some of the above links are affiliate links. If you shop using my affiliate link on Bookshop, a portion of your purchase will go to me, at no extra expense to you. Thank you for supporting indie bookstores and for helping to keep the Best Book Ever Podcast in business!)

Julie Strauss: Hi Aleenah! Welcome to the Best Book Ever Podcast.

Aleenah Ansari: Thank you for having me. 

JS: I had such a great time going over your beautiful website.

AA: Oh, thank you.

JS: I cannot help but notice how your professional life really intersects with a lot of very core concepts of psychotherapy. And it occurred to me as I was reading your website that I don’t know the last time I saw a tech-focused career that is so human-focused, and that is all about humans connecting and expressing themselves. Will you tell our listeners a little bit about the different things that you do and how you happened upon this career path?

AA: Yeah, that’s a great question. It’s interesting that you say you noticed. You know, I talk about tech and things being human-centered because I actually studied human-centered design and engineering, or HCDE, that was actually the name of the program. And the whole premise was making technology and experiences more intuitive. And I think that’s really interesting because we want products and services to be intuitive and human-centered. That feels like a no-brainer, but not everybody is centering that in their work and really leading with empathy of how will an end user experience this? And in particular, when would they feel excluded? When do they feel included? How can we make things more intuitive for every single user, including people with disabilities, children of immigrants, people who may be learning English as a second language. And so my program had really reinforced this idea of humans first and then creating experiences that empower and support them. But to be honest, it’s always been my ethos. I just happened to find an entire community that led with that as well. So that’s kind of what I studied. But alongside studying engineering in the college of engineering at my college, I also discovered that I loved journalism. So in my first year of college, I meant to apply to be a photographer for my college newspaper. And then once I applied and I heard back, I realized I had actually submitted the journalist application and it was a total accident. I had never considered myself a writer, but I just decided to run with it. They had an eight-week course on how to become a journalistic writer, and I just decided to give it a shot and it was the best thing that has ever happened to me. I loved how much I discovered, how much I loved interviewing people. And in that work, it reinforced that I loved getting in the room with people and understanding not just what they work on or their job titles, but who they are. And in an interview, I could ask questions like, what gets you out of bed in the morning? Or what do you want people to know about this project that you’re working on that hasn’t been said up until this point? What do you want me to ask you? And so in my career, I’ve been able to bring this love of authentic, human-centered storytelling and bridging it with tech. I don’t do that kind of writing in my day job anymore, but I continue to bring that approach to my work as a marketer. And now I also have a freelance writing and speaking business where I do a lot of this empathy driven storytelling. But now it’s focused navigating the job search and also representation in media. I think it’s such a special place to be.

JS: Do you ever think you’ll do a long form manuscript, either a novel or a memoir or something like that?

AA: Yeah, definitely. I’ve actually known that I want to write a memoir for a long time. I think I told somebody that when I was like 20, and I’m only 26, I’m really early in my career, but I remember I mentioned it to somebody and they were like, oh, you’re much too young to want to write a memoir, like you haven’t lived enough life.

But I would posit that I actually have lived a lot of life and there’s no cutoff for when you’re ready to write one. So definitely a memoir and maybe some kind of like choose-your-own-adventure book with like writing prompts. Something that can help people ideate and get into storytelling, because I feel like it’s come naturally to me. I was raised by storytellers. 

JS: Tell me what that means. 

AA: Both of my parents are doctors, actually. They met in medical school in Pakistan and then they made their way to the US, and now live south of Seattle near me. But I think storytelling is kind of, I think for children of immigrants and immigrants themselves, it’s how we pass on our heritage and our culture. So I remember when I was born, well, I don’t remember this, but I’ve been told that when I was born, 30 days later, my grandma came from Pakistan to the US to take care of me. And so when my parents were working all the time, because they both had their own practices, I spent a lot of time with my grandma, and she’s the one who really raised me on stories about her life in Pakistan. You know, she would tell me about everything. Sneaking into her neighbor’s yard to steal their mangoes off their tree to being in the India-Pakistan partition when soldiers came to her door and told her to leave everything behind, and they literally walked from what is now India to what is now Pakistan because they were Muslim. Everybody Muslim predominantly went to Pakistan. And I think seeing her lead with so much vulnerability and ownership of her story has always been an ethos that I carry, whether it’s in my job title or not. I think what I love about journalism now is I can create space for other people’s stories and maybe stories that are not often featured in the media, which is why I focus on BIPOC authors, entrepreneurs, and creatives, because I feel like those stories are not always told or prioritized, and I want to be the one to seek them out and say, Hey, you really have a place here in the Seattle Times, in Insider, in these places that have taken me so long to get into. And it’s such a joy to amplify and support those stories, but also facilitate people telling exactly what they want to on a larger platform.

JS: I really hope that in all of the books in your future that you’re going to write, I hope your grandmother’s story’s in there somewhere. That’s one I would really like to read.

AA: Yeah, I know. She’s a big part of what has inspired me.

JS: Tell me about your reading life. Were you always a reader?

AA: I spent a lot of time in public libraries. The public library where I grew up is one that I still think of fondly. And my library would have reading challenges every summer. My school would have challenges and I would always set the page number or reading minutes possible. And like I wanted to win, like, the notebook with the calculator on the front, or I wanted the ribbon, or whatever it was. And so I think this combination of like almost gamifying reading, but also having a safe space has meant that I’ve been a reader my entire life. And I feel like when I was younger, I don’t think I was reading the most interesting or posh books. It was a lot of, like Mary Kate and Ashley, Junie B. Jones. But as I got older, like once I got to college, I realized that a lot of the stories I read weren’t from people who look like me. I identify as a queer Pakistani woman. And I think growing up I didn’t see a lot of those stories. It wasn’t what we read in the schools that I attended, especially because I attended a lot of private Catholic schools. And so when I got to college, I realized that I hadn’t read a lot of books by authors of color in particular, and that really shocked me as somebody who believes in authentic representative storytelling. So in 2019 I was like, I’m only going to read books by authors of color as much as possible this year. And I started seeking them out. I started writing my own lists of like, here are books you may not have heard about from BIPOC authors. And in the year since then, I’ve interviewed some of them. I have a small area of my shelf that is books of authors I’ve interviewed for the Seattle Times. I just love amplifying their stories to be that person that can facilitate bringing those stories in after going on this mission to read them. It has been such a fulfilling journey so that that desire for representative stories has reinvigorated my love of storytelling now in my adult life. I think with the advent of TikTok, in particular, there’s so many more ways to discover books than just what is on your shelf or what is being taught to you in the classroom. So I’m thankful for that.

JS: I’m not on TikTok, cuz I’m middle-aged, but do you think it highlights marginalized voices better than maybe traditional media does?

AA: Especially as someone who works in tech, I think bias is built into many of the algorithms, including the feeds that we see. And so I think even though a lot of books are getting a chance to be seen that may not, otherwise, it doesn’t necessarily mean that all of those voices are very diverse and representative. A book that went viral is The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo, which is a really, really great book. Song of Achilles as well. But both of those, I believe both are written by white authors. And what’s interesting about Song of Achilles is that book came out I think five to 10 years ago. So I sort of got this resurgence and this chance to be shared with a new audience. So that’s kind of the give and take of TikTok in any social media platform is that. Bias will never fully be gone. Bu,t on the flip side, it is an opportunity to reach your audience and to reach more people than you could before. So I’ve seen a lot of books by BPOC authors, promoting their own books and saying, I’m coming out with this. It’s my first book. I really want you to see it. And there’s an opportunity to reach people beyond your following that fall into your niche. That, I don’t think, was possible before TikTok, and even before Instagram reels or YouTube shorts. We used to only see people that we followed and now there is so much more opportunity for discovery. So I think that is a good thing, though It’s certainly not a perfect thing yet.

JS: So what do you do now when you go into a bookstore? You do you go in with a list that you’ve curated based on what you’re seeing on TikTok or what have you? Or are you sort of a serendipity book finder?

AA: Yeah, I kind of do a combination of both. I spend a lot of time at local bookstores. I’ve written about my favorite local bookstores across the US. So, anytime I go to a new place, I’m always like looking for a bookstore as like a portal into a local community. I actually have a book called Footnotes from the World’s Greatest Bookstores, and it has illustrated storefronts. I’m on a mission to visit all of them, at least the ones that are open.

JS: So if I said, here’s all the money you need and you’ve got the next week off, what bookstore, what’s your next one you would go to if money were no object?

AA: Oh, that’s a good question. You know, I think the tough part about this book is that it was written and illustrated in 2016. So many of those bookstores have closed due to covid, which I think is just incredibly heartbreaking. So, one of my favorite ones that I’ve visited is Word on the Water. It’s a boat in London. It’s like literally in the water and it’s like full of books.  So that has been a great way for me to discover new places. Usually, I’ll find like each bookstore has its own markings of like what is a recommended book. A lot of times they’ll have their top sellers and I use that, but I also will just use like recommendations from friends who are experiencing the same things, which is how I found Maybe You Should Talk To Someone. I’m pretty open about how I’m in therapy. Therapy’s a really big part of my life. I actually had a friend who was on a similar journey who mentioned it to me, and we are very alike in that we are creatives in tech who are always building something for ourselves. So, I trust what she says very deeply and pretty much anytime she’s recommended a book to me, I’ve gotten it. So I think ‘Maybe You Should Talk to Someone’ had been slightly on my radar, but she loved it so much that I immediately went home and rented the book immediately and I knew that I wanted to read it. That that kind of personal recommendation helps.

JS: I think this book is kind of classified under self-help. I tend to not like self-help books and I don’t know if you would call it that. But in general, are you someone who would read self-help books or therapy-based books?

AA: Yeah, I had never read a book quite like this, because it also feels kind of like a memoir to me. But with like, elements of self-development, because Lori Gottlieb is a therapist. But I do read quite a few business books and mostly memoirs that have some kind of message. One that comes to mind is More Than Enough by Elaine Welteroth. It is her life as a journalist, as a writer, but also her journeys to find love and self-acceptance. So it has a lot of these elements of a traditional self-help book where it’s motivating, it may have advice for you if you feel like you’re an “only” in the room. She talks about that concept, but it’s illustrated through the story of her life, which makes it so much more impactful. Versus a book like Attached, which is all about different attachment styles. The authors don’t talk about their personal life at all. But I found it really enlightening, though not as memorable beyond understanding the concepts. So there’s kind of a place for both, but I think memoirs and stories that also have some kind of message or takeaway is the sweet spot for me.

JS: Why don’t you tell our listeners what this book is about. 

AA: The way that I think about it is that the story kind of drops you in the middle where Lori Gottlieb has recently been broken up with by her boyfriend. So she’s kind of reckoning with this, with this experience that she’s having, because she thought she was going to spend the rest of her life with somebody, and now that’s changed. Simultaneously, she is a therapist herself. The story kind of goes back and forth between her own story, getting a therapist, working through this breakup and these feelings of love and rejection, while also the stories of her own patients who are reckoning with various things. Some of them are: one patient has terminal cancer and is reckoning with that and, and what life will look like. I think there is one patient who is kind of struggling with their will to live, and various struggles that they’re having. She’s simultaneously supporting these people in very intimate and vulnerable places, but she’s also trying to find support with her own therapist. I think the reason why I really like this book is because at the time I was really struggling to find the right therapist for me. And I don’t really identify as Type A, but I did kind of feel like maybe I was bad at therapy. I had no idea what therapy actually looked like, because people don’t often talk about it. How do you know what traditional therapy sessions should look like? So I remember reading the book also thinking maybe I can get a sense of what therapy should or could be. hwat should I be asking? What should I be expecting a therapist to potentially say to me? So I was also reading it with that lens of, what could therapy look like? And it actually helped me realize that the therapist I was with wasn’t the right fit for me, and I ended up switching to somebody else who I’m still with, who has been a much better fit for the way that I feel supported. So I’m glad that this book could help me see other ways of what therapy could look like.

JS: Why is it so important to you to be so open about therapy?

AA: I just think that life is hard, honestly. And mental health can be so stigmatized, mental health therapy in particular. I can say like with utmost confidence that I wouldn’t be who I am without therapy. Therapy is the one of the hardest forms of self-care, in my opinion. And I, I also do want to acknowledge like there are many barriers to getting therapy in terms of cost, and finding a therapist that has the same identity as you, or has an experience you resonate with. I was actually really lucky that my company provides 24 free therapy sessions a year through this internal program. And I think without that I may have never tried. But the cost barrier at least had been lowered to the point of not existing, and I knew that I needed to try something. That is such a real privilege. But I think if you have the means and the ability to network or to access a therapist, it is a place where you can fully process things that you may not get the space to otherwise. And it’s also really hard, like I feel like everyone should go to therapy, at least a lot of people in my community. But we don’t often talk about what does it mean to get the most out of therapy? What does it mean to actually open up about your trauma and your experiences and ask for help? How highly vulnerable is that? And I was kind of on this journey and, and realized that I wasn’t really being open with my therapist at first. I was doing what I thought I was supposed to be doing versus actually telling her what needed to be discussed, which was sort of this underlying childhood trauma that I was managing, and my own coming out journey. There were pieces that first I had to be vulnerable about, and if I didn’t have therapy, maybe I wouldn’t have healed some of the relationships in my life, but I needed this kind of trusted expert who knows how to support people in these vulnerable situations. I didn’t want to put my friends and family in a position to support me when they felt like they couldn’t give me the tools that a therapist might have.

JS: Tell me what you like so much about the way she tells her story.

AA: First of all, it was really funny and it was really relatable, and I think that’s not what you would expect from a therapist, of all things. I mean, when I think of a therapist, I don’t think of somebody who’s funny who’s going through heartbreak. So I think what I loved about it is just like how vulnerable Lori is with her own journey. It’s not just: here’s what my patients are going through and here are all the clinical terms. It’s more like: here’s what heartbreak looks like for me. Here’s what it looks like to actually reckon with loss, or how to unpack my relationship with my family, and what I want to be different. A lot of the things that she was unpacking, I was going through myself, but through the lens of somebody who also had these insights on therapy and the human experience that I feel like I didn’t.  So I just learned a lot from her vulnerability, her humor. And I just also think she’s a great writer. I mean, maybe that doesn’t need to be said, but it’s the kind of book that I’d put on a shelf of: this is what I want my future memoir to feel like. I want people to feel that connected and related and like inspired by it. Like definitely the type of book I want to write.

JS: Yes, like that feeling of, I feel like she’s a lot smarter than me and funnier, but I also feel like we’d be great friends. It’s such a fun feeling when you’re reading a memoir, like, I really wish I could just know her.

AA: Yeah. With my current therapist, I will still reference Lori, cuz I’m like, I love this book. She has a podcast too. I’m such a big fan of her approach, but also just her vulnerability to put it all into a book.

JS: Yes, the more she admitted her own vulnerabilities and weaknesses, the more I trusted her. It’s such an empathy-building book to see that the person who is n the position that our society puts up high, is they’re just a human. It makes me trust them very deeply when they can be honest about it. I wouldn’t want it during a therapy session. I would be like, we are not here to talk about your boyfriend. Sorry, I’ve got things going on.

AA: I did have a bad therapy experience where my therapist, I only had one session with her, but she started crying. She said, you talking about your relationship with your family reminds me of mine. And I was like …

JS: No, no, no,

AA: And then I learned that’s not normal, but like I’ve seen that too. Like it’s just almost too, too resonant, too connected.

JS: Oh, absolutely not. Cuz then you’re in the position of comforting her.

AA: Exactly.

JS: No, no, no. I would never have gone back to that!

AA: Yeah, no, I didn’t. I said I felt worse actually. Like, not in a way that I processed anything.

JS: . And the other thing that I have never once in my life thought of, but that whole thing where the therapist that she was going to deal with her breakup, and then she realized, it’s tough to find someone that you can really open up with when you might be business associates with. Then as she’s in therapy, she realizes that – I think I’m gonna remember it wrong – her ex’s new wife is also going to that therapist?

AA: Yeah. I forgot about that. Yes.

JS: I’ll tell you what: my petty side would take over. I could not be trusted with that situation. 

AA: Yeah. That’s like the point when you’re reading a memoir and it feels like a TV show. I’ve definitely felt that way about my own life. Like, am I in a movie? That’s what that felt like. I think that’s why I write a lot of the stories that I do, is that I kind of write the stories I needed to hear when I was younger, or I write for other people to read that and think, oh, I’m not alone. That’s actually not just me. And even when I talk about therapy, it’s not just saying, you know, not just bringing it up, but saying like, oh, therapy is really hard. It’s hard to find a therapist. Even normalizing how challenging it can be to find someone that’s right for you,that is not a unique experience, either. Many of us have actually had that experience, but we don’t talk about it. We don’t talk about having to switch therapists when we move to a new state, or a new employer, or new insurance. And so that’s what I’m trying to do with a lot of my content and even the stories that I talk about, is to say, actually, you’re not alone. Even if this is the only time you’ve read somebody else saying what you may be feeling or thinking. It doesn’t mean others aren’t, they’re just not expressing it. But that’s the benefit I think of places like TikTok, for example, is that people are creating this content more outwardly, so there are more opportunities to find that connection. It kind of starts with that vulnerability and that opening, and then that person receiving it.

JS: Yeah, it’s so empathy-building, and that’s what I did not expect of this book. 

AA: She’s definitely a master in that. Lori has a podcast with another therapist, and you can kind of see that empathy at play when she’s talking to a patient, in these very shortened sessions. It’s not just reacting to what they’re saying, but sort of validating, which I think is a lot of what therapists do. They’re actually not presenting you with new information; they’re reflecting back what you’ve said. Which, to me, is actually what I do as a journalist.  I’ll say, Okay, so what I’m hearing is X, Y, Z. Sometimes the other person will say, Oh, you said it way better than me. And I’m like, I’m just telling you what I heard. These are your thoughts, this is your idea. I’m just reflecting them back so you can hear them too. And that’s really powerful. A lot of what Lori does is just like reflecting back, being a mirror for what you may be experiencing, or being a window into something new that you haven’t thought about before.

JS: That is almost always such a great moment. Almost always. Not always. Sometimes it’s really hard. But when someone, a friend or therapist says to me, so what I’m hearing you say is this, And I go, oh dang, I didn’t know that’s what I was saying. And sometimes it’s awful.

AA: Yeah. It can be a tough pill to swallow sometimes to hear that reflected back. Something really interesting about this book is I have a list of quotes that I write down from books that I read. One of the sentences that has stood out to me is “Follow your envy, it shows you what you want.” That has really stuck with me, because it actually changed the way that I think about jealousy. And I actually gave a TEDx talk about it, I liked it so much. I was so inspired by it. Basically, what it made me think about is that jealousy is often framed as a negative thing. It’s this thing we want that somebody else has. But I think Lori and others like Brené Brown, talk about how envy or jealousy doesn’t have to be bad. It can actually be a moment for reflection to say, what do I actually want? What do I envy about this person that I can emulate in my life? And for me, jealousy has sort of become this catalyst for changing my own life because when I’m jealous I say, Maybe this means something in my life is missing. What can I change about myself? Let that person succeed, let me be inspired by them, but let me take action in my own life so this jealousy or envy doesn’t overtake me and prevent me from moving forward. I appreciate Lori acknowledging that. It’s sort of changed my perspective and it allowed me to re-channel energy that is jealousy into reflection and then into action. You acknowledge the moment and then you say, oh, that’s not actually what I want. Because I think conversely, jealousy can be consuming. I’ve had periods in my life where I’ve felt like nothing was working out for me, and it feels like everybody else gets an opportunity except me. That can consume me, because then I start to spiral. Well, why don’t I deserve it? Why am I not doing enough? Why did they deserve it more? But when you can reflect to say, Hey, let’s step back and think about what does this actually mean for me? What do I like about this? And, also, what is potentially not right? An example is sometimes I see people becoming parents. I’m not even jealous, but I’m like, oh, should I want that? Like every time? And I’ve done the reflection to realize I don’t want to have kids. That’s not something that I want. But every time it comes up, every time someone assumes that about me, I have to tap into that reflection and respond. But I have that foresight and that ability to listen to my internal voice. But I think comparison will I, in my opinion, it will never fully go away. Comparison and jealousy is more about what we do with those moments and those thoughts and reactions.

JS: It’s particularly difficult when it feels like everyone in your certain subset, or everyone your age, is doing this one thing. So, do I want to do that? Or am I just being told that’s what I’m supposed to be doing right now?

AA: Mm mm-hmm.

JS: It really does take a lot of self-knowledge and self-reflection to separate those two things: my wishes and what I’m being told to wish for. They can be very, very tightly enmeshed if we’re not careful.

AA: You sort of have to separate the expectations and beliefs of other people from what you want. And I think that’s something that I’ve thought about too, like I don’t think my parents ever thought that me, the child of two doctors, would become a writer or be in tech. That’s not what they expected. But it’s only happened because I’ve really listened to myself and my guiding light has always been, what do I love to do? What do I feel like is my calling? What makes me feel like I’m connected and empowering others? And because that has guided me versus like expectations or comparison, it’s actually the reason that I’m successful. And when it’s getting hard, I remember why I’m doing it because it’s for me, that can keep me motivated.

JS: So tell me, what is on your nightstand right now?

AA: I just finished Crying in H Mart by Michelle Zauner. Let me tell you, I tried to read that book a year ago and it was just so heartbreaking. Obviously her mom dies of cancer. Sometimes I feel like I’m too empathetic of a reader, and it just hits me. I didn’t finish it then, but I finally came back to it and finished it yesterday. That was a really beautiful book. And now I’m going to read Funny You Should Ask. I picked it up solely because I liked the cover. It was pink and red and white, very art deco. I don’t know anything about that book. I just know it’s called ‘Funny You Should Ask.’ So that’s next on my list.

JS: Yeah, I think ‘Crying in H Mart’ was the hardest I cried. Top five, maybe, of the books that made me cry harder than any other book. 

AA: Yeah. She really captures the idea of food as a love language, especially for children of immigrants. Your family may not say “I love you,” but they’ll bring you a bowl of cut fruit and give you leftovers to take home. And I think it, for me, the sub commentary was sort of like what’s said and what’s not said and how our parents love us. Especially when they pass away when we’re young, maybe we don’t get the time to change that. Or something like that is a forcing function for us to see our parents not just as parents, but as peers to us, people who have made mistakes and are fallible. So I thought it was a really beautiful exploration. I’m trying to read even more every year. I’m incrementally trying to read more books. Gamification works well with me, so hopefully I’ll have a lot more choices to tell you about.

JS: What are you doing to increase your reading time?

AA: You know, I think the benefit for me is that I don’t have a car, so I rely on public transit. The bus is always my reading time. I used to read even more than I do now because I would bus to and from my job in tech, which is in the city nearby. So I’m trying to kind of recreate moments of that. Like reading 30 minutes before my first meeting on buses, before bed, like these more opportunities to read. And also like having the library as a forcing function to say, your book is due in five days, has also accelerated my timeframe too.

JS: My library, a couple years ago, switched to this “no due date” system, where they automatically renew it for you after three weeks. And I had to go in and ask them to manually turn that off on my account, because if I get it indefinitely, I’m never going to read it. When I get that notice that says, it’s been three weeks, you need to return this book, I immediately finish it.

AA: Exactly. 

JS: That indefinite, just-take-your-time? No, no, no, no. That does not work for me. I will take forever.

AA: Likewise. I also have physical books here so I’m trying to go between my digital books and my physical books, and then when I interview an author, that book goes to the front of my pile and then I have to finish that before I interview them. So there’s all these like checks and balances that make me read more than I would usually.

JS: Aleenah, will you tell our listeners where they can find you and your work?

AA: Sure. The benefit of my name is, it’s very unique. I have great SEO If you look for an Aleenah Ansari, it’s probably me. You can learn more about my work at my website, on Twitter, on Instagram, and TikTok. If you want check out my work a lot of my stories, interviews with authors and bookstores that I visited are on my site. And if you ever want me to interview an author for your site or your publication, feel free to reach out. My email and everything is all on my site too.

JS: Wonderful. Well, it is really been fun talking to you, and I hope you’ll come back anytime you have a book you want to tell me about.

AA: Of course. Thank you for having me.

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