My Booktube consumption took a bigger hit than my book blog reading when the pandemic hit. Not only were my usual contexts for watching gone (putting makeup on in the morning being the main one), but there was something about it, as a medium, that felt more frivolous than blogs. It certainly didn’t fit in with my new daily YouTube schedule, consisting of Justin’s morning chat at 9:00 am, and the Chief Medical Officer’s daily scolding at 3:30 pm.
For the first few months, I would mostly just peek at random channels, to see who was keeping up with the grind of wrap ups and TBRs despite it all, and who was adjusting their content. Now, I’m slowly getting back into watching, but the urge to create is pretty much gone. Never say never, but… it might be a never. There are plenty of reasons for that, most of which have nothing to do with the pandemic. Here are some of the channels that I’m still watching:Continue reading
It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. The Oilers made the playoffs, but got eliminated in the first round. The Sopranos was on the air, but I had to watch it with my parents because I still lived at home. I was reading chick lit and dude bro memoirs, but not Harry Potter. Let’s take a closer look at the books of the year 2000!
Mel of the booktube channel Mel’s Bookland Adventures created a tag that’s more of an open invitation to explore books from a year of your choosing. Many on booktube are choosing their birth years, but there’s something quaint and strange about the year 2000 that I wanted to revisit.Continue reading
In a book blog/booktube cross pollination initiative (sounds very official!) headed up by Rachel and Claire, this is a tag that originated on booktube, now making the rounds in blogland. If you have pivoted to video, you may watch me blather on for 17 minutes here:
And for reference, the original version of this tag is by Jasmine’s Reads:Continue reading
The Man Booker International Prize is a slightly more obscure prize than, say, The Women’s Prize, The Giller Prize, or the plain ol’ Man Booker Prize. That’s partly why I am keen to follow it – it’s not as overwhelming. There are plenty of other #mbi2018 readers, though. Here are a few I’m following. If I missed you, let me know!
The Man Booker International Prize Shadow Jury
These are the cool kids of #mbi2018. They are already posting longlist reviews! Actually, I’ve followed several of them for years, and they are super nice. Here is the full list of shadow jurors. In particular, I recommend Dolce Bellezza for thoughtful reviews and reading challenges galore; and Tony’s Reading List for his sense of humour and commitment to translated fiction (and the best book blog tagline in the game: “Too lazy to be a writer – Too egotistical to be quiet”). Continue reading
I was so inspired by compiling my favourite Booktube channels that I made another contribution to my own. This is my very first “tag” video, which is kind of like Top Ten Tuesday except people do them for months or even years after they’re created. I like that. This one was created three months ago by Marie Berg and has spread like wildfire through the literary-inclined Booktube community.
Here are the tag questions:
1. What book is on your nightstand now?
2. What was the last truly great book that you read?
3. If you could meet any writer – dead or alive – who would it be? And what would you want to know?
4. What books might we be surprised to find on your shelves?
5. How do you organize your personal library?
6. What book have you always meant to read and haven’t gotten around to yet? Anything you feel embarrassed never to have read?
7. Disappointing, overrated, just not good: what book did you feel you were supposed to like but didn’t? Do you remember the last book you put down without finishing?
8. What kinds of stories are you drawn to? Any you stay clear of?
9. If you could require the president to read one book, what would it be?
10. What do you plan to read next?
A new feature in which I tell you about my book-related media consumption in a conspicuous manner.
I can’t imagine a scarier scenario than being forced to sit down and watch, listen to, or read every single thing I subscribe to: every video on my YouTube feed, every new podcast on PocketCasts, every blog post on WordPress.
Okay, scary is a but much. Excruciating? Exhausting? Can’t-even-ing?
My feeds are way out of control. While there’s plenty of incentive to “curate” media that forces you to consume everything – think scrolling through Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook- it’s all too easy to stay subscribed to stuff you don’t care about when you can just stop clicking. Eventually, though, it gets to be too much and steps must be taken.
Let’s stay positive. While I curate my feeds (i.e. unsubscribe like whoa) here’s what’s made the cut, starting with Booktube.
The must watches
Steve Donoghue: Daily videos, reads everything, fastest Booktube-drama outrage-to-redemption cycle I’ve ever witnessed (#fakereadergirls, what?) and most of all, he has so much fun with this. He’s always on the verge of a laugh. Happy one thousand subscribers!
The Poptimist: High production values, hilarious, great taste, and (extremely important to me) a soothing manner and voice. His videos are the only ones I watch twice in a row, because they are that entertaining; and so packed with goodness, I miss things the first time around.
WhatKamilReads: Great taste (in books and style) and seems so warm and humble. His book recommendations are genuine and heartfelt. His video always make me smile.
exlibris: Makes classics seem just as vital and relevant as the new releases everyone else is reading.
Virginia Woof: As the kids say, I am “here for” everything she does: book hauls, book unhauls, condom hauls… yep. CanLit and LGBTQ focused and her makeup is always “on point.” (you watch too much Booktube and you just start talking like this, sorry.)
Jason Purcell: Guess who’s back? Take everything I said above and combine it in one Booktuber and you’ve got Jason.
- Amanda Centre: Delightfully off kilter. Become one of her fellow cyborgs, you won’t regret it.
- Emma Tobias: The only #fakereadergirls response I deigned to watch and it was a gooder.
- Brixton: A brand new channel, endorsed by Jason Purcell.
- Books Beauty Ameriie: It’s just one thing that’s got me subbing… if you get that reference, you should get why I died when I realized who this Booktuber is.
If you’re reading this, you’re probably a blogger, so tell me, is Booktube a big part of your book-related media consumption? Who are your must watches?
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.
Three months ago, I didn’t know what “booktube” meant. I was aware on some level that vlogging existed, and some vloggers must talk about books; and that sometimes book *bloggers* made videos, but I didn’t realize it was its own thing. That it’s not just an offshoot of book blogging, but has its own (much discussed, of late) culture.
Since making this momentous discovery, I’ve found a few booktubers that I really enjoy. It’s hard to keep up, though. Book blogs are easy to follow because it’s quiet, I can do it surreptitiously, and I can quickly scan a post to see if it’s of interest. With booktube, it’s loud, I can’t multi-task, and a five minute video takes five minutes to watch. I can’t browse it or scan it.
Despite these drawbacks, I feel like the medium is gaining momentum. I don’t have any stats to back me up, but I get the feeling that book blogs have reached some critical capacity; there are too many for the system to support. Booktube, on the other hand, is new and shiny and YOUNG. My goodness it’s young. And judging by the drama that’s going around the community, it’s growing.
A few more random observations:
1. Flailing. My number one criteria for following a booktuber is a soft, calm speaking manner. I don’t need you to be Ben Stein, but I watch booktube late at night, after a long day with a toddler and a preschooler, so the last thing I want is to be SHOUTED at, squealed at, or flailed at. There’s… a lot of flailing on some of the popular channels. Be warned.
2. Book reviews are tough to find. Booktube is big on “hauls,” but I’m more interested in how booktubers translate reviews, which I’m used to reading, into interesting videos. I really like videos that fall somewhere between a haul and a review: a themed group of mini-reviews.
3. Booktubers have tons of followers and videos get a lot of views. More so than blogs, I would say. I’m not sure if that’s because the blogosphere is saturated and booktube is new, or what.
4. Diversity. It’s no secret that that book blogging is dominated by young white women. I’m noticing more diversity on booktube, maybe because it’s, well, visible. I think booktubers skew even younger than bloggers though, and I don’t think I’ve found ANY parents yet. There are plenty of us book bloggers with young kids, but not so much on booktube. It makes sense; the logistics of having the time, space, and quiet to make a video, let alone look presentable, are pretty daunting.
5. Booktubers tend to have GREAT hair. And skin. And make up. I think there’s some cross-over potential with Beauty YouTubers. I would totally watch a “get ready to film your next book haul” hair and makeup tutorial.
Bonus #6: I hate the word “booktube.” It sounds gross. “Booktuber” is even worse, it makes me think of a potato.
Booktubers you should follow immediately:
Bazpierce: Hilarious, snarky, obsessed with classics. He went on hiatus just as I subscribed, and I may have audibly squealed when I saw this come back video. Oh, and his commentary on the recent booktube drama-llama is perfect.
The Heavy Blanks: Great hair. Great voice. Tons of CanLit. Very thoughtful. Oh and he’s local! I promise you haven’t seen a haul like this:
Ron Lit: She is hilarious and smart and talks about all the dirty bits in the classics. Here’s a good example:
Words of a Reader: Great taste in classics. Owns the A Tree Grows in Brooklyn t-shirt. Just hit 10K subscribers and is doing some cool stuff to celebrate:
Climb the Stacks: Solid reviews and discussions of contemporary books. This recent video makes me want to read all these books and cry for days (well not The Poisonwood Bible, didn’t like that one at all!)
Librarian FanMail Another CanLit superstar! I loved her review of Edi Edugyan’s Dreaming of Elsewhere.
Oh yeah, remember that time I made a video? Also, tell me about your booktube experiences!