How BookTok Made Reading Trendy….And Then Made It Not Trendy

There was once a time when I shared that I loved reading and I'd get brutally roasted by my friends. Throughout my entire life I tore through novels at lightning speed. Some may even say I’m an avid reader…

I’ll devour any novel, but especially thrillers with astonishing twists and unpredictable endings. But, most likely, if you say the book is good, I’ll read it.

With the rise in popularity of TikTok, I’ve discovered that reading is no longer considered a nerdy way to pass time. It’s cool. What an incredible honor for bookworms like me who are trying to make it in this world.

Unfortunately, BookTok has gone viral for all the wrong reasons. When it comes to reading, the people of BookTok have broken the first cardinal rule: plugging trendy, fluff tomes from authors who maybe had one hit novel.

BookTok recommendations have absolutely gotten out of hand. They should come with a warning: not all BookTok book lists have your best interests in mind.

And yes, I get it, It Ends With Us and The Summer I Turned Pretty are trending right now. But I can recognize a tacky plot when I see one. What truly makes reading fun is escaping to another reality that isn’t on a screen for once in your life.

Books allow you to step into the thoughts of a character and plummet into an imaginary world and fully immerse yourself. You should have trouble putting the book down and falling asleep - kind of like how you binge TV shows all night?

So now I’m facing a new wave of anxieties surrounding how people perceive reading. The era of trendy reading is upon us, but at what cost?

Recently, I’ve been devouring female authors thanks to spending my entire life with the Pattersons and the Kings of authorhood. Female representation in the writing community? Who knew?

BookTok sold its soul to the Book Devil, so I’m here to suggest some “trendy” female authors that won’t dull your brain and completely suck the life out of you.

1. Taylor Jenkins Reid 

I will never shut up about Taylor Jenkins Reid. I die for fabulous Hollywood fiction that tells a salty yarn about an old, very real, rockstar’s life. My favorite book of all time right now is Daisy Jones & The Six, which is a fictional version of what a tell-all novel from Stevie Nicks and Fleetwood Mac would entail.

TJR has written a mix of fictional old Hollywood novels and romance novels that give a little something for everyone. Two of her books are being made into adaptations for a show and a movie: Daisy Jones and The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo.

I am not lying when I say Reid has created the Holy Trinity of novels: Evelyn Hugo, Daisy Jones, and Malibu Rising. If I’m making suggestions to someone who isn’t a huge reader, it’s going to be Taylor Jenkins Reid every time.

2. Madeline Miller

If you’re a fan of Greek mythology or the Percy Jackson series, you may enjoy the more mature versions. The Disney movie Hercules is literally in my top two Disney movies of all time (and it’s not two).

I rarely cry when it comes to movies or books. But when I have cried - and that is seldom - it was during the latest Spiderman movie (embarrassing, but true) and while reading Madeline Miller’s Song of Achilles.

Song of Achilles is one of the best books of all time. I’ve read all of Miller’s mythology books, but this one really got to me. There’s something about how she brings these mythological characters to life that tugs at my heartstrings.

3. Lucy Foley 

As previously mentioned, I’m a thriller gal. I love mysteries and plot twists that leave me on the edge of my seat. I blame it on Gone Girl, which started my obsession with storylines that make my heart rate spike.

Lucy Foley never misses when it comes to twisting plots and taking names. I first started off with The Guest List, which is on just about every reading list ever. But it actually deserves to be – it had me on my toes the entire time and I never could have guessed the ending.

Foley writes a mean thriller. She somehow manages to find new ways to switch up the plot every time which saves me from getting bored with similarities. Another great novel of hers to check out is The Hunting Party, which I consumed in one sitting.

4. Lisa Jewell 

Another great thriller-mystery writer is Lisa Jewell, who was my OG. She was the first thriller author whose entire roster I read without complaint or fatigue. It’s extremely rare to enjoy every single piece of work an author puts out, which is why Jewell is a true gem.

Books like Then She Was Gone and Watching You are great beach reads that will get you through the entire day. Or depending on reading speed, just a few hours.

This summer, don’t fall for everything BookTok advises. Proceed with caution because they might just be plugging the next book that’s subject to a cringe-y Amazon Prime adaptation.

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