Voices from PEN/Faulkner Interns: Natalie Davis (Part 1)

This spring, we were joined by Natalie Davis, our amazing Education Programs intern, who wrote two essays inspired by her time in the organization. We are excited to share the first of them with you. You can also read her second, on becoming a Twihard, and a piece by Alice Tsai on culturally responsive classrooms.

“A Street Where Books and YouTube Meet”

There was a time where I wasted my breath ranting to people about my latest reads. I would spend ongoing minutes sharing my favorite and least favorite characters, how the tropes worked well with the storyline (my favorite tropes are Fake Boyfriend and Enemies to Lovers), the dialogue, the beauty of the physical book itself, and how I longed to see it adapted into a movie or show. I got sick and tired of talking people’s heads off who weren’t even the slightest bit interested in my bookish ramblings. So, I searched online for an audience that appealed to my interests and BookTube was it! 

BookTube is a community of collective channels that belong to book lovers who discuss everything bookish on YouTube. Video discussions range from specific book genres, tropes that are loved and those that are hated, vlogs (video blogs) of book marathons/challenges, readers fawning over authors’ new releases, and positive and negative rant reviews. We also share videos of recent books we’ve acquired a.k.a book hauls, monthly wrap-up videos (talking about and reviewing books we’ve read for the month), and videos of Booktubers organizing our bookshelves or giving our subscribers a tour.

Not only is the community tech-savvy and producing great content, but the language/booklovers vernacular we use in our videos are so cool. A blogger by the name of Fictionally Sam created a glossary to better help herself and her fellow readers to understand most of the terms. For example, general terms include: 

  • TBR – To Be Read
  • ARC – Advanced Reader’s Copy
  • DNF – Did Not Finish
  • OTP – One True Pairing/the ultimate ship
  • NOTP – Not One True Pairing; basically the exact opposite of OTP
  • TW – Trigger Warning
  • GR – Goodreads
  • Book Slump / Reading Slump – A period of time when you just don’t feel like reading. Typically cured by re-reading a favorite book
  • Book Hangover –A period of time after you finish an amazing book where you cannot for the life of you stop thinking and obsessing over said book.”

I’ve had my channel–This Is Nat’s Nook–for about eight months now and, like any other YouTube channel, it takes a lot of time, effort, and interest sitting in front of a camera to share your ideas. With me, Booktube is more about sharing a piece of literature I’m deeply in love with, or I simply can’t stand. To sit in front of my cellphone camera and record a video then putting myself learned editing skills to the test to content for my viewers. Booktube also allows authors to put faces to those who are in support of their craft. With me, it’s not about the views and the likes in the first few hours I’ve uploaded a video, it’s about passionately getting my viewpoints and opinions across to those who will soon find my videos. BookTube is the ideal place for anyone who may not be able to escape into books so easily, but who has an eagerness in wanting to know which book (or books) might be the perfect read for them, a place where book lovers can comfortably gush about books, rant their reviews, and long for more reading time. 

Natalie Davis was our Spring 2020 Education Programs intern. If you’re interested in becoming a Literary Outreach/Education Programs Intern with PEN/Faulkner, our Fall 2020 application for virtual internships is now open