For the past few years, reading has become a trend rather than a hobby. With TikTok challenges, aesthetics, and even, “BookTok,” a genre of TikTok videos where people recommend authors and novels, making sure to tag the specific hashtag so their videos have better chances in the algorithm, people have been encouraged to parade their newfound pleasures with all of their followers. As a reader myself, I am not sure what to think about this trend, because I think that the authenticity of what some people convey to be their favorite hobby in the world might be overshadowed by a social expectation. I do not know what to think about this double edged sword that, on one hand, encourages the implementation of an intellectual habit in someone’s life, but also a culture of literature that glorifies mental health issues, infidelity, and domestic violence.
One of the authors who has been featured the most on BookTok is Colleen Hoover, the author of the popular novels, It Ends With Us, and, Ugly Love. I have read these books because of the overwhelming support of it from people all over my For You Page, but by the time I finished the novel, I took away the romanticized version of domestic violence and also the glorification of cheating on significant others. Another BookTok book, Girl In Pieces, is an extremely graphic and explicit novel by Kathleen Glasglow that depicts sexual violence, self harm, suicide, drug abuse and alcoholism. While I am certainly not advocating for the banning of these books from shelves or even from TikTok, I think that these novels should not be the front cover poster of the movement to make reading a trend again. It is a murky message to many teenage girls when they are told to pick up this new habit, then read that they should indulge themselves in content that is dangerous and normalizing dangerous behaviors. Each of these books are well written and certainly captivating, but audiences should know and be warned about their sophisticated nature. While it is an unpopular opinion, I believe that people like teenage girls should take these book recommendations with a grain of salt. Reading is one of my favorite things to do to settle down before I go to bed, or even when I wake up. It has a special place in my heart and I am happy that others are tapping into this part of their inner lifestyles, but it could be harmful if not handled cautiously.