Are you completely, irrevocably, head over heels in love with books? Do you gush over every nook and cranny of a beautiful book? Do you find yourself talking about your favourite books for hours on end until your friends either slowly walk away or suggest that you get help? Do not despair; you are most definitely not the only one.
Growing up, I too barely had friends who loved reading and discussing books as much as I did. This upset me for a long time, until I came across what was then just a small community of young YouTubers making videos where they reviewed and recommended mostly young adult novels. They satisfied my thirst for literary discussions and ignited a new found enthusiasm for reading.
Over the years, this YouTube subculture has become much bigger and better, with people of different ages and races talking about books from a variety of genres. The community is now referred to as BookTube. So if you're interested in joining the community, here's a little guide for you:
REVIEWS & RECOMMENDATIONS
These are the most popular types of videos on BookTube. Sometimes the reviews and recommendations are based on books that the BookTuber has recently read. Other times, they might be based on the monthly or yearly wrap-ups. The wrap-ups are basically videos where BookTubers review books that they have read over a certain period of time and recommend their favourites. They often make specific recommendation videos like “favourite classics”, “reading poetry: where to start” and so on. These can be very interesting to watch if you want to be introduced to books that you might have never heard of otherwise.
BOOK HAULS & BOOKSHELF TOURS
Now these videos might come off as slightly obnoxious for most of us who do not have the access or the luxury to buy books on a regular basis and struggle to make our bookshelves look half decent. However, from a completely aesthetic point of view, it is difficult not to be mesmerised by beautiful editions of one's favourite novels or bookshelves arranged by the colours of the rainbow.
These are fun videos featuring books. Some are downright silly while others are intellectually engaging - starting from the Domino Challenge where books are arranged intricately in the form of dominoes, to the Tower Challenge where one has to build towers out of books. Book Tubers host these challenges by engaging their audience through giveaways or tag other BookTubers. You could even try some of these on your own or with fellow bookworms. For example, the “First Sentence Challenge” is a game you can play in a group. One person reads out the first lines of his/her chosen books while the other blindfolded members have to guess which books have been read out, and whoever guesses right earns a point. Other tags like the Book Sacrifice Tag, Guess that Character, and Rapid Fire tags are just as entertaining.
Discussion videos are my personal favourite. In these videos, BookTubers talk deeply and passionately about various literary topics. This is where I first learned about the importance of separating a book from its author and also how hard it is not to do so. I learned about fanfiction and how it is not necessarily an abomination to the original story. BookTube has exposed me to debates on topics such as ebook vs physical books, book-to-movie adaptations, rating books, over-analysing books, literary cannons, etc.
These are just some of the countless bookish videos you will find on BookTube. If I have made a convincing case for you to start following the community, here are a few channels you might want to begin with:
* Ariel Bissett https://www.youtube.com/user/ArielBissett
* Jen Campbell https://www.youtube.com/user/jenvcampbell
* Peruse Project https://www.youtube.com/user/PeruseProject
* Booksandquills https://www.youtube.com/user/booksandquills
I thought I should write a little bit about each of them, but I'd rather you found out for yourself. Happy BookTubing!
Farah Masud is a humanbean and that is all you need to know about her. Please don't try to contact her anywhere, especially not in person.