Reading Ranting – We Just Love Books, Barry!

I want to preface this by stating that I’m a Xenial, meaning I’m on the cusp of Gen X and Millenials, so I grew up with very little technology, and social media wasn’t a thing until I was an adult. I can tell you it was nothing like the fast-paced multi-thematic platforms like Instagram and TikTok, so I’ve seen it grow and evolve. It’s part of life and the way we communicate and share. It’s not perfect, but it can be such an amazing thing when you know how to navigate it and find your people.

In the shallow world of BookTok, being ‘a reader’ is more important than actually reading

GQ article by Barry Pierce. Find the full article here.

I don’t think I’ve ever been so insulted or angered in my life over complete and utter drivel that wasn’t even aimed at me personally from former BookTuber Barry Pierce. How this overly opinionated and obviously unresearched piece made it to GQ magazine is beyond me. What’s worse is that his Instagram followers approve of this article and the incorrect portrayal of an amazing community. Click here to see more responses. They make similar points to me but some funnier.

BookTok isn’t about sharing books. It’s about sharing experiences.

Let me breakdown the many ways this article has taken a fraction of the BookTok community and generalised it and turned it into nonsense, because if Barry had interviewed real BookTokers or had seen other responses to this, he would have learned there’s so much more to us. I say “us” even though I’m a very small fish, probably more like plankton, in a huge ocean of amazing creators, but I feel strongly about this community, so here I am, giving my 2 cents. 

“watching the same twenty books being flaunted again and again”

Well, many BookTokers (not all) read multiple books per month and share thoughts on said books, so to see the same twenty is impossible. There are definitely popular books that get more attention from fans and multiple creators. In between those posts are countless other book recommendations that constantly feed my reading habits. I read at least 4 books per month and I share posts about them as I read, so each week, you’ll see a different book on my page along with other books I read a while back and I’m sharing again for anyone who missed them the first time. 

people openly confessing to owning hundreds of unread books

Hundreds? Really, Barry? I definitely see people with a TBR pile, but as consumers of a highly creative medium, we’re not always in the mood for something we planned to read a few weeks ago. Also, if we start a series, we might lose ourselves in that series or similar books because we go through a phase. If we looked into Barry’s wardrobe and pulled out his clothes, could he honestly say he wore them all equally, or do some get bought with a plan to wear but never the right mood or opportunity? Same thing, Barry. 

the flagrant abuse of sticky tabs in novels that absolutely do not require that much citation

Oh, Barry. You clearly don’t understand the idea of theorising or analysing or just making notes for a review or points to remember for the next book in the series. Again, not your fault that you didn’t think about how others have different thought processes.

bookshelves that are so perfect that arouse suspicion

Suspicion over what, Barry? That we (but not all of us) like pretty covers and organised bookshelves the way someone might display a collection with pride or art that costs thousands or more? I’ve also seen shelves that are all haphazard and don’t think anything bad about them because “to each their own” and all that jazz. Some don’t even have shelves. But you didn’t look long enough to see those, did you, Barry?

something called New Adult?

Yes, Barry. Because YA is from 12-19 ish, and yet some YA books have suggestive scenes in them that aren’t appropriate for the younger end. So New Adult covers a whole group of adults 18+ (college age) who are the appropriate age for those scenes, but it’s still on the younger side of the adult spectrum. It helps us grown-ups choose a book since some prefer about adults with some sense of their lives together while others prefer the younger but still mature (to a point) end of adulthood. 

I think I’m responsible for this.

Big ego you have there, Barry. But let me deflate that for you. I used to watch YouTube for book reviews, but they often got into spoilers and analyzing the book, which is absolutely fine, but it wasn’t good for a review. Also, I’m busy and don’t need that long to decide if I might like a book or not. I’m the same with written reviews too. So a short 30 second to 1 minute video is much easier to digest, especially when I want varying opinions, and help me decide. 

(books hauls, unhauls, challenges, reading wrap-ups) 

Again, this is a small fraction of the community, and reading wrap-ups are just as much for the individual to keep track as they are for the viewers. Sometimes we like to share for ourselves too, Barry. 

Actual reviews became few and far between and many of the smaller, genuine readers on the platform jumped ship. It feels like BookTok has got to the same place, only much faster.

You’re clearly not seeing what I’m seeing because I come across reviews or quick recommendations that act like reviews all the time. It’s also called digital evolution. Life changes, Barry. Move with the times. 

I noticed it had a whole bay dedicated to these BookTok books.

Well, Barry. BookTokers don’t have a say in this. The bookshops do, and I’ve seen fellow BookTokers complain about one or two authors getting all the attention when it’s not a realistic representation of the books we share. 

someone has wrapped every unread book they own (over 300!) in brown paper. Or the dude who says that one of his tips for learning to read more is to “romanticise reading” by finding a cute outfit to read in. Or the person who has made miniature versions of every book they read in 2022 and displays them in a frame. Or the person who has “re-tabbed” their books because the tabs stick out too much and they want the colour match the tabs to the books’ covers. 

I don’t even know where to start with this one. You’re going to get people who going to the extreme with any personal activity, so again, this is unfair generalising over something I rarely see. Also, these people are sharing something with an understanding and like-minded community. Sure, we don’t all do these things, but most of us get it. If you don’t get the reasoning behind these things, then you can’t possibly appreciate that the reading experience goes far beyond the book in your hands. 

Every book is like making a new friend, going on a new adventure, or having a wild dream. We love sharing the ups and downs of everything about those books along with the build-up and the come-down. Some stay with us because they made us feel so deeply, and yes, we’re going to share about that feeling with people we know felt it too.


2 thoughts on “Reading Ranting – We Just Love Books, Barry!

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