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Tumblr kicks off official book club with Rainbow Rowell’s ‘Fangirl’

Tumblr's Reblogbookclub sure knows its audience!


Aja Romano


Posted on Sep 10, 2013   Updated on Jun 1, 2021, 6:53 am CDT

Acclaimed Young Adult author Rainbow Rowell has been making waves across the Internet, so it’s no wonder that when Tumblr chose to start up a new book club, it did so with the most demographically-appropriate title ever: Rowell’s new book, Fangirl.

Reblogbookclub announced Tuesday that it had “selected some very passionate Tumblr bloggers” to lead Tumblr’s first officially sanctioned book club. While by no means the first book club on Tumblr, this one has something few other book clubs can boast: an official sanction, as well as the capacity to reach thousands of readers who are already part of a community. 

As a book that appeals to Tumblr’s general userbase, Fangirl is the perfect match: featuring cover art by Tumblr’s own celebrity artist Gingerhaze, and a plot about a girl who grows up immersed in the world of fanfiction, cosplay, and the Internet, it’s gotten rave reviews from around the book blogosphere. Rowell also has a professional connection to Tumblr—she was a featured author at Tumblr’s Book Expo meetup in New York in May. 

“I’m incredibly excited,” Rowell told the Daily Dot via email. “I spend an egregious amount of time on Tumblr—it’s the place on the Internet where my friends and I hang out/geek out together—so it’s sort of like finding out that a bunch of people in my hometown are reading my book.”

Rowell, who has spent plenty of time in fandom herself, is the ideal author, according to Rachel Fershleiser, Tumblr’s Literary Community Organizer. “Rainbow is an active and beloved member of the Tumblr community,” she said, speaking to the Daily Dot via email. “She interacts with readers, but she also shares her own fandoms (Sherlock, Harry Potter, Star Trek) and talks about life and writing.”

Rowell made a splash on the YA scene when Tumblr royalty John Green wrote a guest review of her debut novel, Eleanor and Park, for the New York Times, saying that it reminded him “what it’s like to be young and in love with a book.” You might say she and Tumblr were fated to be mated from thenceforth. Fans and readers both lined up to praise Tumblr both for the idea of the book club and their debut selection. 

“Tumblr continues to be exceptionally awesome at supporting authors and readers, and I’m pumped that Rainbow Rowell’s Fangirl is the club’s first book,” gushed authorstalker.

“I’ve never been a fangirl, but this book just might turn me into one!” quipped club contributor Dennis Ross.

Rowell is covering all her bases in her efforts to reach her fannish constituents—she’s also featuring a Fangirl contest at Wattpad, another social network that’s built itself squarely upon the backs of fandom energy and enthusiasm.

“There’s still an idea out there that publishers fear or dislike web culture,” Fershleiser says. “I’m really convinced of the opposite:” 

The social web is where we talk about writing and feelings and ideas, where we share the things we’re most passionate about, and where we create our own responses to the work we love best. Look at the fan art, the fan fiction, literary cross stitch, pub date manicures — we’re the most engaged and enthusiastic audience authors have ever had.

“Also,” Rowell added, “I’m looking forward to the GIFs.”

Knowing Tumblr, she won’t have to wait long.

Photo via reblogbookclub/Tumblr

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*First Published: Sep 10, 2013, 4:04 pm CDT