What I’ve Learned After a Month on Booktube, and Why I Need Your Help

 

At the beginning of January I started a YouTube channel to talk about books, and full disclosure: after publishing three videos I’m figuring out what isn’t working a lot faster than what is.

But before I let this get bogged down with negativity, let me say why I wanted to switch to video in the first place:

Even though I’m more comfortable as a writer than some kind of weird hybrid of presenter/reviewer, I realized that most of the book content that I myself was consuming was coming via YouTube channels rather than blogs. Most of my favourite Booktubers are pretty well known*, but over the last few months I’d been lucky to discover smaller or more obscure and grown-up channels, as the millionth review of the millionth book about dystopian future teens battling space tyrants was getting old fast.

And even though I had many of the obvious concerns — Why does my face look so weird? Why do I sound so weird? Am I an ancient crone to the teenage world of YouTube? — I figure at the end of the day that the content you create should reflect the content you want to consume.

But I’m a long way from creating the kind of videos I want to watch. My edits still need a lot of work, I need to figure out a good length that people can actually watch (one of my videos is 42 minutes long. Who is going to watch that?), and I need to figure out a presentation style that engages viewers without requiring a lot of annoying jump cuts.

So here’s my awkward little pitch: if you want to help me shape this into something you want to watch, then I’d love for you to head over to my channel, subscribe, and leave me a comment telling me what’s working for you, what isn’t, and what you’d like to see.

One thing I have decided for sure: I’m going to try to use this space for individual book reviews, and the channel is for round-ups, tags, and author spotlights. In general, I feel like people don’t necessarily want to hear someone ramble on about one particular book, but they might like to get an overview of a list of books to see which appeals to them. Or which of an author’s books they should start with if they’ve been meaning to read their work.

Either way: leave me a comment here or on one of the videos. Constructive criticism and feedback is always a welcome thing, and if you ultimately consider yourself more of a blog reader than a video watcher, I’d love to know that, too.

Thanks in advance,

Tea Leaves & Dog Ears

* If you aren’t that familiar with Booktube and want to check out some people who are clearly way better than me, my top recommendations at the moment are:

Jen Campbell

Books and Quills

Mercy’s Bookish Musings

Jean Bookishthoughts

Rincey Reads

Words of a Reader

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The Magician’s Land Reaffirms Everything I Don’t Like About Grossman’s Trilogy, but It’s Pretty Solid

magic

I’m back! It took a few months to recover enough of a sense of what constitutes a “good” or a “bad” book following Grey since pretty much everything in comparison was amazing as long as it didn’t contain a) glorified rape, b) glorified eating disorders, and c) DJs.

But I’m back with another one of the mainstays of my blog, which is Lev Grossman’s fanfic-y Magicians trilogy (recently turned into a not-terrible show by SyFy).

It’s no secret that I’ve been iffy about Grossman’s series in the past, both here and on the Mary Sue, though I will say my reasons for iffyness have changed a bit — particularly following the third and final instalment, The Magician’s Land. My old gripes had a lot to do with the fan service aspect of the books, the way that they felt like some new take on fanfic where it both was fanfic itself, and then used those fanfic elements to examine the whole concept of fanfic. Which is a great premise if you have any prior experience with that subculture, but one that I felt the book ultimately didn’t execute well enough for my liking.

That’s less of an issue in this final book, and it allowed me to zone in on what was really bothering me: Quentin. God he’s awful.

I want to make this a relatively short review, but the things I want to talk about will include spoilers, so if you’ve been dying to read this book and don’t want to have anything ruined for you, then don’t read any further than this:

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An iPad is Forever: Chapter 25 of EL James’s “Grey”

santa

Previous Post.

This is it, everyone. This is the final chapter of Grey.

For those who’ve asked, yes, EL James is planning to re-write all three books from the original series so there are two more to go. Yes, she probably will call them Greyer and Greyest because she’s awful. And yes, I probably will recap them when/if they come out. Maybe. No promises. But… probably.

I don’t want to weigh everyone down with a big pre-amble. I suspect I’ll want to make a separate post talking about this experience, anyway, so let’s dive right in.

If you recall from last time, we ended on a THRILLING CLIFFHANGER.

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Christian Grey Hates Condoms, Loves Condiments: Chapter 24 of EL James’s “Grey”

plain chicken

Previous Post.

So. We now have two chapters and 12 pages left to go, but this next chapter is 11 pages and the final chapter is one. I feel that you’ll be okay with me splitting the page count right down the middle and ending somewhere around the six-page mark. Because I promise you the very last chapter is absolute garbage anyway and not worth its own post.

Anyway, let’s wrap this up.

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The Grammar Wizard: Chapter 22 of EL James’s “Grey”

hapee

Previous Post.

Oh, forgive me. In the last post I said that every chapter opens with someone just waking up — but that’s not true. Because each chapter, like a shitty textual Cinderella, must end at the stroke of midnight. So if Christian hasn’t gone to bed by midnight, we instead pick up at random moments in the early morning even though that makes no sense from a storytelling standpoint:

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Christian the Tragic Spank-Happy Hamlet: Chapter 21 of EL James’s “Grey”

tragic

Previous Post.

We open, as always, with Christian waking up. Every chapter opens with people waking up, every chapter closes with people going to bed. What a fantastic way to tell a story, EL James.

Back to Christian. Guess what? He’s tormented:

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Christian Builds a Glider Like a Big Boy: Chapter 20.2 of EL James’s “Grey”

model

Previous Post.

We pick up in swirling post-spanking aftermath, in which Ana realizes that she really, truly isn’t into BDSM — or at least isn’t into what Christian wants from her. Which isn’t BDSM so much as straight-forward abuse.

Ana begins crying and calls Grey a “fucked-up son of a bitch” who needs to “sort [his] shit out,” which… I mean, he does. But I feel like they both have to stop acting like it’s the BDSM that makes him awful. Spanking her with a belt when she clearly wasn’t ready, and clearly wasn’t enjoying it, was bad form on his part. Mostly, though, he’s just a really shitty, manipulative person and it’s that — rather than the sex — that should compel Ana to walk out the door and leave him.

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STEPHANIE MEYER V. EL JAMES, ROUND 2!

Ding ding!

So instead of completing her “Twilight from Edward’s perspective” book, Stephanie Meyer just dropped a brand-new Twilight re-write on the world, and if you don’t think this is Meyer thumbing her nose at James, you’re… probably right, but let me dream:

Life and Death: Twilight Reimagined brings us the gender-swapped story of the human, Beaufort (yes, seriously) and the vampire Edythe (hahahahaha whatever) having to go to high school and making sad eyes at each other.

Will Beaufort get pregnant with Edythe’s vampire child? I mean… Meyer probably didn’t think this all the way through, but let’s all enjoy the increasing delicious silliness of this feud I just made up, and marvel at how much two female writers are absolutely showering in money in an industry that’s constantly on the verge of collapse.

Because seriously, you do have to love that the publishing industry is being almost entirely propped up by women, even if you don’t like the books that they’re using to prop it up.

Am I going to read Life and Death? Good God, no.

But please do follow Cleolinda Jones, the original Twilight recapper, who is livetweeting her read-through right now.

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