A few weeks back, I saw something new in my local bookstore. A sticker labeled “The TikTok sensation” graced the covers of various titles. I never associated TikTok with book recommendations but decided I needed to take a look. And so, I promptly fell into a rabbit hole of YouTube “BookTok” compilations.
It makes sense why this is so effective! The creators promoting these books are a lot closer in age to their target audience and seem authentic and relatable. It creates the feeling of a friend telling you “You need to read this book it changed my life!”. The presentation is visually stimulating, each recommendation only being seconds long. However, that begs the question of how much information about the book can really be conveyed in such a short amount of time. Is it about the story, or about the feeling the presentation and cover create? That said, the categorization of books into tropes helps the viewer decide whether a book could be the right fit. There’s no shortage of genres represented on TikTok, from mystery and non-fiction to romance and fantasy. Below, I’ve listed some of the TikTok bestsellers I’ve read recently and loved!
- We Were Liars by E. Lockhart: This mystery novel allows the reader to get familiar with the concept of unreliable narrators. It opens up room for discussion surrounding topics like mental health, class systems, and privilege.
- Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo: Set in a fantasy world reminiscent of Amsterdam, five outsiders set out on a journey to stop the spread of a drug lethal to humans and addictive to Grisha, people with magical abilities. If you enjoy morally grey characters, this fantasy adventure novel has a lot to offer!
- The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller: In the realm of modern retellings of Greek mythology, this one is remarkably fast-paced and captivating. Set in the era of the Trojan war, this novel tells the heartwrenching love story of Achilles and his companion Patroclus. Due to some explicit scenes, this novel is best suited for older readers.
So that leaves the question, are we in a new age of book marketing? What about the New York Times bestseller lists? Or is this just the current version of book bloggers and YouTube recommendations? I think in the world of literature, there’s room for all types of recommendations! Sometimes, stepping out of your comfort zone and exploring a different source of book suggestions is just what you need. Or perhaps social media can provide literary input to students who otherwise wouldn’t be browsing bookstores on a regular basis.
Where do you find inspiration on what book to read next? The bookshop next door? Current bestseller lists? Social media? Maybe TikTok helped you find your current favorite? Let us know what you’ve been loving lately!
All the best,