Wednesday, 9 August 2017

YouTuber Books That ARE Worth The Hype

As a slightly older YouTube viewer (aka not one of the obsessive tweens behind Zalfie fan accounts), I have mixed feelings towards "YouTuber books" and approached them somewhat critically. Since most of the creators I watch are also in their twenties but most of their audience are young teens, the target market for these books is somewhat ambiguous. I completely bypassed a lot of the offerings but, thanks to the marketing frenzy whipped up by Gleam, found myself drawn towards a few. I don't really want to name and shame the disappointing titles I've read, but let's just say I've left a few 1* reviews on Amazon... However, I found a few books which made for an interesting read that I'd actually recommend for older viewers. (spoiler free reviews)

'Binge' - Tyler Oakley

Binge was the first YouTuber book I got sucked in by and is of the autobiography variety. Tyler's humour really comes across as he reminisces about his raucous teenage years, becoming an internet celebrity and looking for love in the LGBT world. I actually laughed out loud at a lot of the stories and was utterly engaged throughout. As well as entertainment, this book also discusses more serious topics including eating disorders, anxiety, abusive relationships and religion. While these parts can be unsettling to read, Tyler tackles them sensitively and genuinely which I really respect. It's obvious a lot of effort has gone into writing this book and it's honestly a truly interesting, funny read that I'd recommend to all, even those who don't watch Tyler on Youtube.

'Buffering: Unshared Tales of a Life Fully Loaded' - Hannah Hart

Buffering is another autobiography, of a similar vein to Binge - so if you've read and enjoyed one, you'll probably love the other too. Hannah's videos are usually upbeat and comedic, so it was interesting to read about the more turbulent aspects of her life and see it from another perspective. Buffering talks in depth about Hannah's childhood and growing up gay in a strict family of Jehovah's Witnesses. It also unveils her mother's mental health struggles and the impact of this on Hannah's life, which was heartbreaking to read. Alongside the darker chapters, there are many humorous tales of mishap, friendship and a humble approach to her accidental rise to fame. I'd also recommend the comedy film 'Dirty 30', which Hannah co-produced, for some lighthearted entertainment.

'Eat Smart' - Niomi Smart

As a vegetarian and aspiring vegan, Niomi's plant based cook book definitely appealed to me. I love that the recipes are much more adventurous than your typical vegan cookbook - barely a leaf in sight! It has everything from comfort meals to lattes and features an impressive array of cuisines. Niomi is a "health vegan" whereas I'm just interested in the animal welfare side, so I'm more interested in the cakes and curries than salads, but I'd still happily eat everything in the book. Some of the more unusual ingredients make recipes a bit pricey because they require random health foods I don't typically keep in my kitchen cupboard, but for the most part the recipes are accessible or easily substituted. Eat Smart is also beautifully designed, every photo is Instagram-worthy which makes it a lovely coffee table book too.

'Doing It!' - Hannah Witton

I have somewhat mixed feelings about this one. It's essentially a sex and relationships education book, covering topics such as gender, consent and body image. As a sociology grad and social media user who takes an active interest in this kind of thing, I felt like I didn't really learn anything new and everything seemed fairly obvious to me. However, I recognise that the important information explored would be hugely beneficial to school pupils, parents and to be honest, most boys. Saying this, I did enjoy Hannah's personal anecdotes and interviews with her grandma. I also really appreciated the LGBTQ+ guest written sections, which rarely feature in mainstream books and introduced me to some new authors and creators. Basically, this book offers much more value to its 14+ target audience than most YouTuber releases on the market and is a great guide for anyone wanting to educate themselves.

Let me know if you've read these titles or been impressed by any other YouTuber books!

Binge | Buffering: Unshared Tales of a Life Fully Loaded | Eat Smart | Doing It!