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The Pitt News

The University of Pittsburgh's Daily Student Newspaper

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The University of Pittsburgh's Daily Student Newspaper

The Pitt News

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New York Knicks forward Precious Achiuwa (5) shoots over Philadelphia 76ers guard Kelly Oubre Jr., rear, in red, during the first half of an NBA basketball game in New York on Sunday, March 10, 2024. (AP Photo/Peter K. Afriyie)
Column | Former Villanova fanatic watches “Nova Knicks” take down Sixers in NBA Playoffs
By Aidan Kasner, Sports Editor • May 23, 2024
Opinion | Do not arrest peaceful protesters
By Livia LaMarca, Assistant Opinions Editor • May 23, 2024

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Get Pitt and Oakland news in your inbox, three times a week.

New York Knicks forward Precious Achiuwa (5) shoots over Philadelphia 76ers guard Kelly Oubre Jr., rear, in red, during the first half of an NBA basketball game in New York on Sunday, March 10, 2024. (AP Photo/Peter K. Afriyie)
Column | Former Villanova fanatic watches “Nova Knicks” take down Sixers in NBA Playoffs
By Aidan Kasner, Sports Editor • May 23, 2024
Opinion | Do not arrest peaceful protesters
By Livia LaMarca, Assistant Opinions Editor • May 23, 2024

Mimesis | Consumption Challenges are Gross

In a farewell to the spring semester, staff writer Chloe Woodruff reminds readers that constant media consumption does more harm than good
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Nicholas Cassano | Staff Illustrator

As finals season swiftly approaches, the promise of summer materializes into something tangible — ready to be lived without impending deadlines and a 6 a.m. alarm. After near-constant reading assignments all semester, it’s tempting to put books down and stare into the abyss that is social media.

I’ll be the first to admit that these platforms offer a comforting zone-out sesh, easily absorbed and easily forgotten. Turning one’s life into “content” is enough of a problem in short-form videos, but the commodification of the human experience transcends GRWMs and vapid influencers that are “Uh-buh-sessed” with whatever product they’re selling you.

With that in mind, it’s no surprise that I loathe “Booktok.” With the internet’s insatiable appetite for competition, users twist their reading habits into grounds for moral superiority and baffling overconsumption. I don’t care if you exclusively read the classics, nor do I mind if self-help books are more to your taste. It’s all about numbers, anyway. How many books you read in a year, how many books you bought in a single haul, how many books you tell others not to walk, but run to purchase.

I don’t think buying and owning books is the problem, but Booktok has turned into a constantly spinning wheel of buying, reading, then buying some more. Cover art becomes repetitive, cliches mercilessly infiltrate stories and readers cling to tropes like their lives depend on it.

With this new form of demand, authors produce thoughtless novels to cash in on the latest enemies-to-lovers trend. Sadly, this often works to their benefit and prolongs the money-printing machine that is Booktok.

I won’t linger on Colleen Hoover, but her books are a perfect example. I don’t believe every read has to be difficult, thought-provoking or deeply philosophical. But I do challenge Hoover fans to tell me where they discovered her novels and what sort of long-lasting value she is offering to the world of literature.

I think, to some extent, all books have significance — not only to their readers, but their writers — but the current climate in literature mimics fast fashion. Authors garner publicity, make money and fade into irrelevance within a single trend cycle.

This reminds me of one of my not-so-proud moments during a summer reading program. My local library gave kids rewards if they read a certain number of books. Desperate for a unicorn keychain, I breezed through titles without absorbing much of anything.

I won my keychain, but I didn’t walk away from the program feeling good about myself. I’m not only criticizing my dishonest childhood actions but also the library. Rewarding people for “reading” an obscene amount of books only encourages overconsumption. 

I understand that the program was designed to keep kids reading, to envelope them in literature and reward them for doing so. But there was a maximum quantity of points, and summer reading ended when summer did.

Booktok has no end goal. It’s a revolving door of new things and advertising. 

I use Goodreads from time to time as a means to track what I’ve read over time. However, even review sites aren’t safe, offering features such as reading goals that publicly hold readers to numeric expectations.

I’ve finished long novels in days, but it has also taken me months to finish a single title. I think both experiences left me with different kinds of satisfaction. Now that writing about reading is part of my schtick here at The Pitt News, and my program of study, I’m connected to literature in a new way.
Sometimes, this connection is fulfilling — I enjoy sharing my honest thoughts or close readings of a text with like-minded people and professors. Other times, it feels like a chore to finish an essay — even if I otherwise adored the book itself. I imagine Booktok’s content creation is somewhat similar — people with a genuine passion for reading get swept into the current and tread water for as long as they can. 

There is a wealth of literature in the world and increasingly accessible ways to get your hands on it. Read thoughtfully. Don’t be like my kid-self and read for the unicorn keychain. Read for the love of it, for the redemption arcs, for the advice, for the knowledge and for the new horizons.

Share your reading experiences with social media and set goals for yourself if they hold you accountable, but save space for the lessons you learn and stories you absorb. Our lives already revolve around numbers and efficiency. It’s human nature to prefer the shortest route to our destination. 

Take the road less traveled. No need to open your wallet and film the consequences. Slow down, dive under the consumerist wave and take your time. It’s OK to spend months with a single title. The final page turn feels so much more satisfying when it takes a bit of extra time to get there. No unicorn keychain required.



About the Contributor
Chloe Woodruff, Staff Writer
Chloe is an English Writing and Philosophy major with a love-hate relationship with reading. Ironically, she primarily blogs about literature and narratives across mediums.  Write to her at  or check out her Goodreads at www.goodreads.com/chlobees