Today I`m going to
rant talk about booktube! All these questions came from Jen Campbell`s new video, which you can watch here:
I decided to write my answers in blog format, because of reasons. Mostly because this is easier. This way I can just type long responses without having to stop listening to my music or change from my PJ`s after a long day at work 😉
Do consider yourselves warned though: this is a long post.
I decided to do this anyway, despite some very long-winding answers that could probably be shorter if I wasn`t so very tired and rambly, because I enjoy answering questions and giving ~Opinions~ and I like the opportunity of getting to say what I think about this strange community that I`m still not entirely used to.
I would also like to add that I, in fact, don`t feel 100% at home in this community (yet?). I feel very out of place, because I don`t read as fast, I don`t have a background in literature, I don`t like most fantasy, and just overall feel like I read the “wrong” things for booktube. It`s mostly a self-confidence issue that I`m working on, but it`s also something that bugs me about the community in itself.
But this is not the time and place to whine about this 😉
SO, without further ado, let`s answer some questions about booktube:
LET’S TALK ABOUT BOOKTUBE
1. How did you discover Booktube and how long have you been watching it?
I`m not entirely sure how I discovered Booktube. I`d been subscribed, unsubscribed and then re-subscribed to Booksandquills, the same with Carrie Hope Fletcher, and I`d been following the Vlogbrothers for 2 years by then. Yet somehow, despite Booksandquills being an actual booktube channel, I`d managed to completely miss the existence of booktube. Around December last year this changed, very likely because of a collab or a booktag or just randomly running into a channel, but from there on I went on a subscribing-spree and started watching a lot of booktubers. So really, I`m still quite new to booktube as a community!
2. How old are you, where are you based and what kind of books do you like to read?
I`m 25, I`m from the Netherlands, and you just asked a question I`ve been wondering about for a very long time. I`ve actually discussed this with another friend, who is probably even more bookish than I am, and she said the same thing: we`re probably both searching a bit for what is exactly that we like. We`ve both gone through a lot in the past couple of years, and things have been settling down a bit and we`ve both emerged as different people with different tastes in things, but our minds have not fully caught up yet. It`s all still a mystery! For now, I`m reading anything that sounds even remotely interesting, ranging from sci-fi to actual science to children`s books to epic Russian literature.
What I do know right now: I`m kind of edging towards liking mystery and adventure, so detectives, Agatha Christie, The Three Musketeers, Sherlock Holmes, anything where there`s a big problem that needs solving. I also enjoy very epic books where things spiral completely out of control and the problem turns out to be bigger than anyone expected ever, like the Chaos Walking trilogy and the His Dark Materials trilogy, and I like books about friendships and learning to be better people, like A Hero At The End of the World. Preferably combined with the Big Epic Adventure Mystery.
I also know I don`t really like too much fantasy, so don`t give me too much swordfights and knights and dragons and anything that resembles Game of Thrones in the slightest. (Though I do really like Harry Potter, I`m still trying to reconcile these opinions in my head. It hasn`t worked yet.)
3. How many Booktubers are you subscribed to?
I just went through all my subscriptions (there`s a 108 in total!) to count the booktube ones, and I counted 16. So just to be sure, I`d say “somewhere between 15 and 20” because my opinions on “what is a booktuber” changes almost daily.
4. Why do you watch Booktube and what is your favourite thing about the Booktube community?
I like booktube because it`s a place where it`s totally okay to be a booknerd. I like how it keeps me more up-to-date on whats happening, on new releases and what`s popular.
But more importantly to me: it`s teaching me how to read more critically. I`ve talked about it before, but I`ve never had proper literature classes. My teachers in high school were terrible at teaching literature, and I`ve always been left to fend for myself. Combined with an environment that did NOT encourage reading actual literature or getting more out of it than just the plain storyline, I miss out on a lot of the social commentary and extra layers often present in books of any genre. I just don`t see it. And booktube is, very slowly, helping me gain a better sense of literature.
5a. How many books do you buy/take out from the library a month, and how many of those are influenced by Booktube?
I have a budget of roughly 40 euro each month to spend on books. I don`t really go to the library, because I live in a tiny Dutch town with an ever diminishing library with very few English books and I don`t like having to bring back books within a certain amount of time.
All in all, because I do buy a lot of books very cheap on markets and in thrift stores, I average 5 to 10 books each month. Sometimes there`s only 1 book, sometimes there`s more. This month I had 7, which is pretty decent with a small budget like that.
Only a part of those are really influenced by Booktube. Some of them I find in other ways, through Goodreads or recommendations from friends or even Tumblr. Or just because I stumble across them and they sound interesting. About half of my budget each month specifically goes to “whatever I find at a bookstore that sounds interesting” without looking up any reviews or anything on the internet. This way I make sure to keep finding new, unexpected books without getting biased before I can even read of it, because of the internet`s opinions.
5b. Out of those books influenced by Booktube, how are you influenced? Do you buy a book based on a single recommendation, or is it normally if you see a book several times on different channels?
It differs, really. I`m very careful about how booktube influences me. I know that I don`t agree with the general opinions a lot of the time, there are some very popular books that I absolutely hate, and I still struggle with the whole literature thing.
Some books do immediately catch my interest, because of a pretty cover or an interesting summary. But I almost never buy a book based on a single recommendation from booktube, or even if I see it multiple times (the more I see certain YA books the LESS likely I am to buy them, to be honest). I always look them up on both Goodreads and Bookdepository, see how much they cost and what the summaries are and how they`re rated, and then based on all of that information and whatever budget I have, I either put the book on my wishlist, in my basket, keep it in mind for when I next visit a proper store. Or I decide I don`t want it.
6. What other sources do you use for recommendations?
Goodreads, IRL friends (or at least one specific one), sometimes Twitter/Tumblr.
7. Which Booktubers would you recommend?
There`s so many! I`m skipping a couple, because I want to keep this list short and manageable and I follow some very popular ones anyway. All of these women make amazing, thoughtful videos and they`re all smart and nice (seemingly, at least, I don`t know any of them personally), and I highly recommend watching all of these channels. And of course Jen Campbell, who is linked up above and who inspired this blogpost to begin with.
Alright, here we go:
8. What are your favourite type of Booktube videos to watch?
I like watching booktags! One of my current favourites is the Classics Book Tag. And one I feel strangely “guilty pleasure”-ish about is Bookshelf Tours. I just really like seeing what`s on other people`s shelves (I am one of those people who will walk straight to someone`s bookshelves when I visit their home, and who will squint at the background of videos to try and figure out which books they have there, so Bookshelf Tours are pretty amazing for me).
I`m actually not a big fan of reviews of single books, and book hauls/wrap-ups to me depend on the person who`s making the video.
9. Are there things about the community you would like to change/things you would like to see more of?
YES. Oh god, don`t even get me started on the issues I have with booktube. I like booktube, don`t get me wrong, but boy oh boy are there massive issues that need discussing. My thoughts on the problems with booktube deserve a blogpost of their own, even if just because there`s several of them that need some more thinking and proper explaining (and definitely not writing at 11.30 PM while being very tired and ranty).
I`ll try to summarise real quick for you guys: I need more LGBT awareness, less “diversity means reading black authors who write about the struggles of slavery!” (a very legitimate topic, I`m not questioning that) and more “diversity means reading anything from anywhere!”, less elitism of classic booktubers and less arguing between the classics/literature side and the YA side, less elitism in general. Also movies are great as well people, stop thinking you`re better than moviewatchers just because you read books.
Also I`d like to find more booktubers who don`t really like fantasy, because almost 100% of booktubers seem to really enjoy their high fantasy and I`m just not into that and I`m starting to feel guilty and wrong about it.
10. Any other comments?
Not that I can think of right now, outside of wanting to thank Jen Campbell for being a great booktuber and all-round (again, seemingly) amazing person!