Summer in the City: Books!

Obviously the growing overlap of books and YouTube is controversial. I won’t go into that. For me, it was really cool to see how the two different interests of mine overlapped. There were two panels I was really excited about – and luckily managed to get to (I was volunteering at the event so panels were not the top priority). I saw the Booktube panel on the Saturday, and the Women who write panel on the Sunday.

Penguin Platform stall
Penguin had a great stall at Sitc and even gave me free books and a cute ass tote bag

When I tried YouTube when I was younger I had always wanted it to be related to books, and if I ever try again I suspect I will come back to that. The Booktube community was one of my early points of access to the wider YouTube community. The Panel was moderated by Sanne (booksandquills) who I have followed for years and years. Other speakers were Hannah Witton, Ariel Bissett, Lucy Powrie, Genista Tate-Alexander, Olly Thorn (PhilosophyTube), and Imani Shola. I had known of and watched about half of the panelists before, and am really interested in what the other panelists do.

I was particularly interested in Olly Thorn’s work on YouTube. As a soon-to-be Psychology graduate I have often thought about making academia that I am familiar with more accessible by making YouTube content. This is effectively exactly how Olly got his start. I think it’s so important that knowledge is made more accessible to everyone. University is insanely expensive. Textbooks, journals, and even general non-fiction books can really empty out one’s wallet quickly. I was glad to see people are already doing the things I have thought about in approaching education accessibility, and I hope to be a bigger part of it someday.

It was interesting to hear Hannah and Imani speak a little on their own published works. I had already read ‘Doing It’ as a big fan of Hannah and as someone who is very involved in improving sex education. I now have Imani’s poetry book ‘Heart Shards and Lip balm’ sitting on my bed for me to read ASAP. I did not know of Imani before but she was such a highlight of the event. She radiates positivity and thoughtfulness, and I think it was so worthwhile having her voice on panels at the event. I can’t wait to see more of her.

women who write panel
Women who write panel

I would love to write more, so hearing from people who have written is an opportunity I don’t like to pass up. Whether it be poetry, non-fiction, or something else entirely, I love to hear about other people’s processes and experiences with writing (particularly if their writing is out there in the world, on bookstore shelves and in amazon warehouses). This brings me on to the second bookish panel: Women who write. As well as Hannah and Imani making an appearance again, Savannah Brown, Hazel Hayes, Connie Glynn, and Dodie Clark were there to talk about heaps of different kinds of writing.

Each of them were coming at writing in different ways. Hannah, who was moderating, has written her non-fiction book about sex education. Imani and Savannah both have published poetry books, and Savannah is also in the process of writing a novel. Connie (who you may know as Noodlerella) is writing a series of YA books. Hazel is a film-maker, and has written a number of scripts, but also has a background in short story writing. Finally, Dodie is primarily known for being a song-writer, but also has a non-fiction book being released later this year.

It was so interesting hearing all of their different perspectives and experiences with writing. I was really fascinated by what each of them had to say, and was taking notes on my phone about some of their strategies and techniques. I particularly like hearing women speak on it, and it was really interesting to hear about the prominence of women in the book industry (Especially in contrast to the film industry, which Hazel had good insight into).

I’m really glad to have had the opportunities to hear all of these people speak at both panels. My love and passion for writing, books, and publishing, was well supported at the event, which was really exciting for me. I hope to see more insight into this world in the future, and continue to explore how it connects with online media and personalities.

Allie x

P.S. Later this week I will probably write a blog about YouTube culture more broadly, and being a ‘fan’. As I have a lot of thoughts I’d like to write down, and as I’ve learned in the last 24 hours, Twitter is not sufficient for sharing those thoughts…

 

Mentioned in this post:

Sanne Vliegenthart
Hannah Witton
Imani Shola
Lucy Powrie
Ariel Bissett
Genista Tate-Alexander
Olly Thorn
Hazel Hayes
Dodie Clark
Savannah Brown
Connie Glynn

Is it blasphemy to dog-ear your books?

I might be about to alienate quite a large number of my fellow book lovers.

I like dog-earing books.

Now quickly, before you all yell at me, I’m not always doing it. I like having nice bookmarks, with stunning images or lovely book quotes. But sometimes you don’t have one at hand, and folding down the corner is just…not that bad. Like, obviously I’m not going to do it to a library book, or a borrowed book. But with my own books? I enjoy giving them some character.

Recently an event called ‘BookTube-A-Thon’ happened, I wasn’t too involved (because I’m working full time and was in a different time zone and it’s all too complicated) but I liked keeping an eye on what was going on. One of the polls they posted to their twitter was about marginalia. Did we approve of it? Or must books be left untouched? I was surprised at the proportion of responses that opposed it. I don’t write in my books often, but I find my heart lifts a little when a book I pick up from a second hand store has a message inside. No, it wasn’t put there for me to read, but it’s entered my life anyway, and it gives me just a hint of a look into the life that had this book before me.

To me, a book in its original state is far less charming than those with marks and creases throughout their pages. I see my copy of ‘Time Stops for no mouse’ and I see the ratty corner, where I accidentally let it dip into the bath while I was reading. I see the extraordinarily creased cover, and ridiculous number of folded corners in ‘Un Lun Dun’ and consider every moment it has got me through, and how I love it still. Those books of mine that sit perfectly, as though they were untouched since purchase, give me little joy in comparison. I’m sure I loved them, when I read them, but there is nothing to that book that lights a spark in my memory. Without a dog eared page, or a note to google something, the place of that book in my life is not so easily remembered.

And I see why people like to keep their books pristine. For one thing, explaining your book is messed up because you dropped it in a bath is not the best way to impress people. Also picking up a fresh, new book can have its own sense of satisfaction in it. Maybe it has a beautiful cover you want to preserve, or it’s a special edition. I wouldn’t want to cast judgement on how someone else looks after their books, because we all show love in a different way. But to me, a well-loved book shows it has been loved.

It’s like my blanket as a child (named Mussy, because it was made of muslin). By the time I grew out of mussy (far later than I should have) he was a mere few scraps of muslin sewed into a newer piece. I had cuddled that blanket almost every night for ears and years of my life. Of course it fell apart. That blanket dealt with a lot of my emotional turmoil. Books are the same to me. They’ve always been there for me, even when people in the real world couldn’t be. I like to remember that when I look at them. And I like to think when I pass my books on to someone else (not that I’m very good at letting go) they will see a folded page, a scribbled note, a wee message from my grandma, and they will know that this book was something special to someone.

Oh and I also bend the spine back too far a lot… it’s just more comfortable to read it that way!
Let me know if you like writing in your books, or leaving a trace of yourself in it’s pages, I’d love to hear other opinions and why you feel that way…
Allie