Why do young people not read books? Long live young!

Her best friend challenges the owner of a food website who struggles for her self-image to reach 2,000 followers in six months. Have you had any trouble with the previous sentence, no mercy, deal with it: This is the language of BookTok, the book section of TikTok.

the young man is hot and happening among young people. The target group is approximately 15-28 years old, and the characters are the same age as the readers and face the same questions as teens. This is pretty much the only requirement. Moreover, youth spans all genres, especially love stories and fantasy, as well as thrillers, historical novels, dystopian science fiction, you name it. This type has been around for a long time with the current generation, hunger Games (2008) and twilightSeries (2005 onwards) as prehistoric landmarks.

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what or what in he or Outside In young adults it is just as variable as the daily prices on the stock exchange, but here are some names for you to join the conversation. There’s Sally Rooney, whose Marxist heroes dissected capitalism and each other’s emotions (beautiful world where are youAnd the Ordinary people). Colin Hoover (“CoHo” to Friends) brought the Doctor’s time-honoured novel to life with It will never happen again (He also wrote maybe ever And the maybe never And the maybe now). Remember: CoHo paints jubilant infatuation as well as heartbreak, astounding eroticism, and violence in relationships, and is surprised by unexpected twists in the plot. There’s also Madeline Miller, who shares song for Achilles Same-sex love between the two Greek heroes Achilles and Patroclus. Dating back to 2011, this book got a new lease on life when it was driven by enthusiasm on BookTok.

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Accessible and original

Because that’s the driving force behind the latest hype for young adults: Booktok. These are the videos on TikTok where a book is shown, discussed, advertised, recommended, or simply unpacked. (“Out of the box”). This happens filled with fire, with a joke, a discovery, a laugh or a tear. Duration: Six seconds to one minute.

Watching a video like this as someone who is not a beginner takes some getting used to, because a lot is happening at the same time. What someone says (always with background music) is subtitles, although not necessarily with the same text, and book covers appear in reverse, because videos are recorded in selfie mode.

in Mekkah ‘loonies library’ Lippens (14,000 followers) is one of the most popular book publishers in Flanders: “People in their twenties like me don’t want to read a long description before starting a book. BookTok shows in an instant what’s out there and what to expect. You can come back again in a few seconds. beautiful is not it? She has a point there. Previous formats for linking digital media and books lack the stopping power of BookTok. BookTube offers a series of long and boring monologues, Bookstagram is basically a huge photo album with books as a permanent support (a book with a cup of coffee, a book in the closet, a book with a bouquet of flowers…). On the other hand, BookTok is simple, spontaneous, accessible, authentic and emotional.

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stupid and shallow

BookTok has tremendous mobilizing power, and not just on the Internet. On November 5, Jasmine van den Mersch is already organizing her third BoekTok event at Standaard Boekhandel in Geraardsbergen. Many people come to it every time, and I know it from previous times. Sometimes there were up to a hundred people in the store. The library is then filled with books for young people, authors come in to sign, and there are book bundles to win. Van Den Meersch: “You can find these movies stupid and superficial. But they bring people together around books and encourage them to read. Community is shaped by BookTok. BookTok shows how fun it is to read.”

Awakening bookstores and libraries have recognized the power of medium, and are creating a perpetual altar of popular BookTok titles. There are always many English versions. Because young people apparently prefer to read in English. Bee digital natives The English language is so well established that it does not matter that it is not their mother tongue. Moreover, the English books are cheaper than the Dutch versions. You don’t have to wait for the latest buzz from America to be translated either. Plus: reading in the original language is great.

unbearable picture

And finally, in the field of our language, the range of youth is much smaller. In Flanders, Emily Arents and Rani de Vader wrote YA fantasy and Doreen Hendrikx for the first time salty Aligned with current young adult themes. Hendrikx: My novel is about social pressure and social media, and how my hero suffers from an eating disorder as a result. What I want to convey is that it is okay to be what you are. It’s also okay to ask for help if you get stuck. Just according to the times there trigger warning – Warning that some scenes can come violently. “I think this is my responsibility to the readers.”

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Needless to say, BookTok and young people form a strong alliance regarding Hendrikx. Before TikTok, Reading was having an image problem. The image you get from reading in high school is terrifying. Just thinking about the reading lists we got… Even I, who actually love reading, thought: What does this mean? It wasn’t so much about my world. Want examples? wind shadowby Carlos Ruiz Zafon. The unbearable lightness of being, by Milan Kundera. I respect these authors and today I was reading those novels differently, but then I cursed them! “

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Nerdy fanboy

One question remains: Where are the men? It seems that all of the above happens on a female planet. jonas “Theboywhoreadsbooks” De Backer (20,000 followers) is the only known bookseller in Flanders. He also says he does not know what he owes him this monopoly. It is a social fact that boys, from an early age, read less than girls. And when they read, they prefer to have access to a delicious book or an informative book. Fantasy has a distinctly feminine image, except for fantasy, which has a broad male fan base. But then the manly version. Someone calling themselves NerdyGeeky Fanboy puts it this way on his blog: ‘Big chunks of feelings? Do not do it. Is the main character overwhelmed with feelings of admiration? Get rid of it.’ But even young people who read are staying away from BookTok. NerdyGeekyFanboy: “Men don’t tend to express the love of their book as much as girls do.”

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Aside from that: Years ago, the lament was heard that young people no longer read, because they thought their phone was more important. It now appears that they, and young women in particular, have reinvented the pleasure of reading for themselves. Courtesy of Chinese Fun Channel.

Standaard Boekhandel offers Book Feast: autograph sessions, small and large events and discounts, from Friday 28 October to Sunday 6 November.
More information at www.feestvanhetboek.be.

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