top of page

OPINION: Thoughts on BookTok

During the COVID-19 lockdowns people were required to stay inside their houses with not much to do, which led to some people turning towards reading to fill their time. This resulted in an increase in new readers over the course of the pandemic according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics that continued after the lockdowns. New people discovering reading and supporting authors is fantastic in my opinion, but being new to the reading community can be overwhelming. How do you walk into a Barnes & Noble to pick a book to read when you do not know what genre, author, length or book in general that you want when there are literally tons of options? A lot of times when we don’t know where to start, we turn to the internet and social media for help.

I have found that a surplus of confused and lost new readers lead to a new group of people listening to what book content creators and influencers were saying. I think listening and learning from content creators who are a part of the community of a topic you are interested in can be really helpful. However, if this is the only perspective in the reading community that you have, then your opinions and views on books can be limited.

In the past year or so, a lot of Barnes & Nobles have created a table displaying “BookTok popular books” to showcase books that have become popular solely because of influencers on BookTok. This is in reference to TikTok pages that discuss books. This table can be a good place to look for books, but I suggest you take a look around the store too. Don’t only look at the BookTok popular books table. Walk around the bookstore and look for covers, titles and summaries that interest you. Even though it is generally said to do the opposite, I suggest that new readers should judge books by their covers to at least get started. Afterall, we all start from somewhere, even book content creators.

Book content creators can be a great avenue for new readers and other readers to learn and listen to others opinions. However, I feel that the community becomes toxic when the opinion of book content creators is held as being written in stone. I was recently watching a Sara Carrolli video where she was giving reviews on her books she read in the month of July. I clicked on this YouTube video because a particular book was in the thumbnail. That book was The Grace Year by Kim Liggett, in which Carrolli went on to rate 3 out of 5 stars. I think that this isn’t a negative rating since it is in the middle of the typical 5 star rating scale but what Carrolli says about the book is interesting. Carrolli describes how she did not connect to the book and it fell flat for her. She mentions that there are deeper messages in the book, but stops there with her explanation. To me Carrolli could have spent some more time thinking and reviewing those deeper messages. Personally I would give The Grace Year 5/5 stars or possibly even 6/5 stars. The Grace Year to me is a violently blunt romanticism of feminism in a disgustingly wrong society, which is exactly what the book presents itself as. I feel that maybe Carolli missed the point of the book and it concerns me that readers would take her opinion to heart and miss out on at least trying out such a great and perspective changing book.

*The Grace Year does have content warnings; such as implied sexual matters, descriptions of death, bullying and more.*

I can respectfully disagree with an influencer on any topic but my quarrel begins when others determine their lives based on what that influencer said. I think that oftentimes people tend to take to heart anything that a content creator says online or on social media. In this day and age of news in a society with advanced technology, anyone can be an influencer. Influencers have influence over the people who are consuming their content, which means that they should be careful and mindful of what they are saying online. People do things based on what they have seen on the internet and choose not to do things based on a negative opinion of an influencer.

My whole point is that everyone should share their opinions, but other people's opinions shouldn’t rule over the decisions that you make. If you are a reader, or even if you are just interested in reading, I highly recommend reading The Grace Year and being able to form your own opinion on it. This is merely one example, but establishes a much larger point about how we consume content and media. I think that no one should gatekeep or hide away books. So, as a person in the reading community, remember to expand your opinions as greatly as possible. We should encourage reading of any and all books to have more people learning. I suggest always broadening your horizons and trying something new.

By Kailey Wurr, Contributing Writer



bottom of page