I enjoy watching Youtube videos about reading and books. Do you?
Creators of such videos refer to themselves as “booktubers,” and post videos with themes like reviews, hauls, current reads, DNFs (“did not finish”) and TBRs (“to be read”), along with various other features such as anticipated new releases, unhauls, and reading marathon vlogs. For book lovers, these videos can be fun and informational. I learn about a lot of new releases and popular books from watching these videos.
Some of my favorite booktubers are: Books with Emily Fox, Lauren and the Books, Jean Bookish Thoughts, Peruse Project, and Chelsea Palmer (there are many others). Booktube leans heavily toward the YA (“young adult”) genre, but these particular creators tend to read more widely.
While I enjoy these videos, I find that watching too many can “mess with my head.” Many booktubers post monthly hauls of 20 or more books, which they never seem to get around to reading (and ultimately unhaul). Many post ambitious TBRs that are impossible to finish. Some talk about feeling guilty about not reading more, or post stats of how many pages they read during the month.
All of these things seem to take the joy out of reading.
This is why I don’t believe in huge hauls (I plan to show a few books at a time), and why I don’t believe in TBRs (every book I own is a TBR). When I finish a book, I consider whether it deserves a permanent place on my shelf, or if I will pass it along to someone else who would enjoy it. I have a large “pass along pile,” which will ultimately be given to my university’s book sale when it comes around each spring. I believe that books should have a life – either through re-reading (we are a different person each time we approach the same text), or by sharing with someone else.
I also feel like a strict and lengthy TBR list doesn’t allow for whims. Sometimes I feel like reading something light and fluffy (usually after I’ve read something dense and difficult). Or I learn of a brand-new release that I’m willing to buy in hardcover because I know I will love it, and I want to read it right away. Or something comes across on Kindle Unlimited that looks like fun, so everything else gets pushed back.
Reading should bring you joy. Booktube videos are fun to watch. But if you ever start to feel guilty, or inadequate, or caught up in comparison with these voracious readers, it might be time to step back.
Do it for fun. Do it for you.
Winnie and the Professor