Behind the scenes of a Booktube debut, and a review of Bone & Bread by Saleema Nawaz

I reviewed Saleema Nawaz’s Bone & Bread for Hello Hemlock this month. While it’s not the very first book video I’ve ever made, it is the first one that includes music, and titles, and editing of any kind. So, I’m calling it my BookTube debut. Check it out, then read on for my behind-the-scenes revelations.

Reflections on BookTube:

  • I may have over-prepared. I wrote lots of notes, and I hate that I looked down at them so much. Maybe if I hadn’t written it all out, it would have seemed more natural.
  • It is hard to make a short video! My first attempt at 20 minutes long. My final attempt was still 12 minutes long, and cutting it down to nine was tedious. Cutting it to under ten minutes was important to me because I rarely watch a BookTube video that clocks over ten, and five is even better.
  • Lighting is important. I was in a hotel room at 11:00 pm which was not conducive. Just try to imagine how much better I would look with a proper lighting scheme.
  • The biggest difference between writing a post and recording a video is that I will never, ever watch the video again. It was excruciating to watch myself while editing. (I shamelessly read and reread my own blog posts.)
  • I had to re-record the end from home, so I did it at 6am in my car before leaving for work. It was perfect. Natural light (in the summer, anyway,) quiet… perhaps I will do another one of these!

The stuff I cut to get down to 9 minutes:

  • I was feeling pretty apologetic, because I feel like I should have liked this book more than I did. There wasn’t anything technically wrong with it, and I normally love teenage pregnancy stories. So I talked about how much I loved Nawaz’s essay in The M Word (my review) about being a stepmother, and how I will give her another shot. You know, typical Canadian politeness!
  • I cut out my whole discussion of the ending. Many Goodreads reviewers loved the story up until the ending, and said the ending ruined it. I didn’t feel that way at all, probably because I was more invested in the characters than in the “mystery.” I guess if a reader was expecting some big revelation or twist, they would be disappointed.
  • I didn’t talk about the political angle at all, and didn’t even make notes about it, because I am still not sure what I think. Beena’s high school boyfriend disappears when she gets pregnant. 17 years later, Beena can’t avoid him, as he’s running for office on an anti-immigration platform. Meanwhile Sadhana is working with refugees, and there’s a family harboured in a church basement to avoid being deported that comes into play. Some readers loved this, some found it clunky.
  • “Um” and “you know,” but surprisingly few “likes.” I wasn’t even looking for “just” because this article wasn’t out yet.

Bloggers, do you dabble in YouTube? What do you find most challenging? 






  1. Hanna @ Booking in Heels

    Congratulations on your video 🙂 I’ve always wanted to branch out into videos but I’m just not brave enough to try and learn about lighting and editing, and all that stuff.

    I think you look and sound great – don’t be too hard on yourself.

    For what it’s worth though, I actually prefer the lighting in the hotel to the one in the car.

  2. Carole Besharah

    This was fun to watch! Reading your blog posts will different now that I’ve heard your voice. I’ve been wanting to read this book for a while, so I’m glad that you were discussing this book. Thanks for sharing.

  3. Elle

    I’m so glad someone else admits to shameless self-rereading 🙂 (How else are we meant to spot the infelicities in our phrasing?!)

  4. Geoff W

    I look at it this way, at least you made the bed and there was nothing embarrassing in the background so that’s a successful video! And I know what you mean about having to see yourself over and over while you edit. Editing my podcast is excruciating at some points because I have to hear it 2-3 times before it’s ever released.

  5. ebookclassics

    I thought your video was wonderful! I thought you were quite natural and needed that time to make all of your points about the book. The guitar music was so mellow and complemented your hotel lighting (I’m totally serious). I would love to see a whole series of “In My Car Book Reviews” by you.

  6. Pingback: BBAW: The Books I Bought Because of Other Bloggers | Consumed by Ink

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