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I have long maintained that carrying a book is much more practical than hauling around a phone.
What if your prom date falls asleep on the bus, and you get stuck in traffic, and all the smartphones stop working? What if Sally’s fiancé gets drunk and lost on the way to the wedding and you have to wait a couple hours for the ceremony to start? What if the subway stops on the way to work and I’m stuck underground for long intervals without reception? Book time, people. That’s why, if you were to rifle through my bag at any point in the past 15 years, you would be bound to find pens, unusual quantities of chapstick (I blame the snowboarding sunburn incident of 2007), and a novel.
My latest ally in this bookish battle? YouTube’s Ariel Bissett.
My love of literature has always drawn me to Bissett, whose channel focus is books, books, and more books. Her videos cover a wide spectrum of topics, from hauls (VidCon Book Haul and George Orwell: A Haul), critiques and analysis (Is Fanfiction Literature? and The Hunger Games Hypocrisy), and general bibliophile thoughts (How to Read More and Growing out of YA?!).
With a head full of knowledge and an enthusiasm that outweighs the thousands of books she owns, Bissett is changing the way people think and engage with literature. The Canada native is currently an Honors English student at the University of Guelph in Ontario and recently took her passion for literature to England, where she studied abroad for six months, capturing every detail of the trip on YouTube. In just under three years, Bissett has gained a loyal following of over 78,000 subscribers and become one of the great influencers behind the growth of the literary-focused vlogging community known as BookTube, which consists of hundreds of creators like RonLit and Bazpierce.
And if creating videos for her own channel wasn’t enough, Bissett is also the founder of BookTubeAThon, YouTube’s official weeklong readathon. Now entering its third year, BookTubeAThon will take place Aug. 3-9, 2015, and each day, viewers and creators will be given reading challenges ranging across tags, genres, and subject matter. And at the center of the reading madness sits Bissett, who not only participates but also runs all the social media platforms, organizes different hosts on the BookTubeAThon channel, and gives readers her much-beloved pep talks.
So thanks, Ms. Bissett, for making my bookshelves a little more beautiful and a lot more full. You continue to give all us English majors the warm fuzzies.
Screengrab via Ariel Bissett/YouTube
Carly Lanning is a journalist who covers social media. Her work has been published by Psychology Today, NBC, Thrillist, and Ms. Magazine.