These days, most people only read when they have to for school or for work. Some even feel an external pressure to read in the form of self-guilt (i.e., they feel like they “should” be reading but don’t enjoy it).
The social media video sharing app TikTok has put a different and new perspective on reading. “BookTok”, a portmanteau of “book” and “TikTok” has become exceedingly popular.
BookTok is a community where people come together to post and talk about different books that they enjoy or believe that other people should read. Accounts such as @anyalovesbooks, @isabellagerli, and @v.justanotherbookworm and many other tiktoker’s are all part of the BookTok community. Almost every day they post review videos on new books they have found and read. Viewers comment their thoughts under each video, creating a community of readers.
Some videos address major plot points to spark the interest of potential readers. One creator on TikTok ,named @agirlwithtoomanybooks, makes videos rating new books she has read. She also makes videos about all the books she buys and her corresponding expectations of them from previous TikTokers who have recommended them on BookTok.
Some young adults love to read, while others have no desire to. Health studies student Mia Costanzo gave her input on BookTok and what she thinks of it. Costanzo admits that she rarely reads, but when a book is good it can spark her interest. She thinks that BookTok is a wonderful community to have on TikTok because if people are posting about it, it may catch younger people’s eye. Costanzo thinks that if kids see BookTok as a trend, younger kids who spend most of their time on a screen might think that reading a book is a cool thing to do.
A Monmouth alumna, Samantha Cavalli ‘20, gave her input on the topic. Cavalli loves to read so much that she can read a new book every week. She believes that BookTok is amazing because she gets to see videos about books all over her feed.
Barnes and Noble now has a BookTok table that contains popular reads recommended by the largest creators on TikTok. Cavalli said that “BookTok” is a great thing to be a part of because it keeps bookstores in business and keeps young people excited about reading.
Two such people who have been energized by the recent BookTok trend are The Outlook’s own Samantha Walton and Melissa Badamo, both of whom were encouraged to find a new favorite series. In Walton’s case, she found a new beloved author in the form of V.E. Schwab, whose magical reality novel The Invisible Life of Addiline LaRue is a BookTok favorite. Schwab’s other work takes on a higher fantasy tone that Walton never would have discovered without “BookTok’s” interference.
Badamo discovered gripping reads like The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid, They Both Die at the End by Adam Silvera, The Midnight Library by Matt Haig, and One of Us is Lying by Karen M. McManus while perusing Barnes and Noble’s BookTok table.
Her favorite out of these is The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo, a historical fiction novel about a famous actress of the 1950s who relates her life story—and the toils of Hollywood—to a journalist. “I was elated to find that Barnes and Noble had an actual display for the popular books on TikTok,” said Badamo. “I bought some of my favorite books from it. It’s nice to see young adults forming a community surrounding a love of literature on TikTok.”
Whether you enjoy the high fantasy of The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon, the dramatic mythology of Song of Achilles and Circe by Madeline Miller, or the modern LGBT+ love story of Red, White and Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston, there is something for every type of reader (or aspiring reader) to sink into.