In accordance with W H Smith, the super popular – and apparently super human – vlogger Zoella has started a book club. Yaaay. Another multi-million corporation attempting to reel in the cash through sneaky marketing. Yaay.
I have many, many problems with the aforementioned corporation. Sorry granddad – as a former manager, he’s probably rolling in his grave. I’ve refused to set foot in there unless for urgent purposes (such as a rapid re-stock of black pens midway through exam season), largely due to incompetent staff who appear to be the human representation of an E grade. The only books that this establishment appears to sell – relentlessly flog would be a more accurate description – are either endorsed by a Z-list celebrity who’s made two cameo appearances on Holby City, and have been married and divorced seven times in as many years, or books that have been at the top of the bestsellers’ list for two weeks, and thus ‘guarantee’ a sell. I’ve found that there are no books that are intellectually stimulating (probably because the staff would be unable to read the titles), and do not stray from the expected genres of romance/erotica/’spine-tingling’ crime.
I congratulate the sneaky-ass marketing person who decided to use Zoella to sell books. That was a brilliant move on their part; introduce a new generation of readers to the same fluffy crap as they stock, and they’ll have customers for life. Except in the future the slightly older, slightly uglier generation of readers won’t be looking for books to soothe their teenage angst. They’ll still be wanting to fulfil their sexual and romantic desires through an imaginary character, but instead of falling for the painfully shy, painfully cute new boy with floppy hair and a ‘dark past’, they’ll be dreaming of steamy nights of sex with the six-packed actor with a ‘dark past’.
One of the reasons why this scheme has irritated me is because of the use of Zoella as a marketing tool. I’ve never been one for watching YouTubers; the only reason I use it now is to watch the Ham4Ham videos (any Ham Fam reading, please speak up!), so I decided to sacrifice 20 minutes – and my eardrums – in order to listen to her presenting her new book club. Yaay!
This was my first ever Zoella video. I know how famous she is. I think that I once glimpsed her in Bath. What I didn’t know, however, was how enthusiastic she could be. There are a very few things that I can be enthusiastic about (theatre, cats, books and food), and neither make up nor teenage romance books feature on that list. Enthusiastic people make me sceptical. I’m not sure whether she is genuinely interested in these books, or is doing it because of the astronomical amount of money promised. As a cynic, I’m tempted to go for the latter.
I’m also a bit annoyed because the books were mostly the standard romantic teenage novels. I haven’t read any of them, but judging by the covers and the way she gushed, most of them featured an unattractive-but-weirdly-attractive love interest. WHICH IS NOT WHAT I WANT. I don’t want to think that my life needs to be dominated by a man who may impregnate me and leave me with a child, or marry me and then leave me for a newer model. Yes, it would be brilliant to find someone who loves me for who I am, but it’s not my priority.
I found that a few of the YA-girly books that I read painted a false image of teenage-hood. I’ve not had a boyfriend, or gone to a party where I actually enjoyed myself. I spend a ridiculous amount of time reading. I’ve gone from hating myself, to loving myself, and back again. This is why I disapprove of Zoella’s book club; because of the fact that so many of these books portray a false image of teenage-hood. My teenage-hood, anyway. It’s all modern chick-lit, with a hot guy and trifling troubles that are nothing in the grand scheme of things. Yes, I admit that this may be a good way of getting people to read, but what if they remain reading chick-lit forever? What will happen to Plato? To Shakespeare?
Actually, Shakespeare will never die out. The purists will see to that.
What do you think about Zoella and her book group? Are you taking part? Are my ideas simply the result of too little sleep and too much coffee? Do I need to shut up now?