Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Fandoms and Literature

If I had to guess my spirit animal, I would have to say it is a bookworm, tunneling through literature as if my life (as well as my major and GPA) depended on it. I never choose the bookworm life, it just crawled into my heart and decided to make a home. And I know I am not the only one infected. Many "suffer", with symptom ranging from lack of sleep to abrupt squealing when passing a bookstore. He's a needy little bugger, but we love him all the same. 

I imagine he looks a little like this little guy here:
(check out the artist at bookworm)

Before the internet, bookworms burrowed underground, with hardly an interaction with others of our kind. Sure, we all hoped that the subject might be brought up in conversation so that we can finally find somebody to freak out about the cliff hanger ending of "so and so" book and how author "what's his face" was really dragging their feet about coming out with the sequel, but it was a much rarer occurrence than any of us would have liked.

And then... the sweet glory of the Internet come into our lives, drenching the soil we thrived in and calling us to the surface. Yes, there were fan clubs for books before, but nothing like this. Nothing like the endless scrolls on Tumblr or the pages of fanart on Deviant Art. No volumes of fan fiction that the Library of Alexandria would be hard pressed to find room for. No wiki pages to find out what your favorite character's shoe size is. We have united and, despite our tendency towards an introverted nature, have talked and worked together towards a common good. 


Our collective passion has brought reading to the forefront of the public's mind, making disciples of all nations as if it were the next major religion. This is especially true when it comes to cinema. While Hollywood has always loved to make book adaptations, never at such a rate as they are now. They know its big money if they do it correctly (though also a potential mob if they mess it up, but what's business without a little risk?) People do not see reading so much as countercultural anymore because if you don't know Harry Potter, you are basically baffled by half of the memes on the Internet. 

The bookworms enthusiasm is contagious, and boy do we like to share. This sharing and general excitement for books is not only fun for the readers, but also the writers. Sure, authors used to get letters in the mail about their work, but to see their audience hang on their every tweet is, creepy at times, but almost always flattering. But more than just a boost to their ego, they get to see how their work sits and expands in the minds of their readers. They see their universe expanded to nooks and crannies they never imagined.       

Case and Point ^
(Check it out if you haven't at ) 

The power of the fandom is redefining books as we know it. While a story used to be set in print, just to be absorbed and placed back on a shelf, they now continue and grow as if half of the pages had been left blank just for the occasion. It's a fun time to be a reader and an experimental (and admittedly scary) time to be a writer, but possibly a golden age to be literate. 

So I'm curious to know, what book fandoms do you belong to? What is the craziest thing you've ever done/created in the name of that fandom?

For more on Fandoms, check out these links. 

To study up on the lingo, consider this dictionary:

To read more about fandoms, check out this book:
Fandom: Identities and Communities in a Mediated World

To join or explore book fandoms visit this website:


  1. I've never gotten into the fandom realm, it's not something that I really understand, BUT... I loved what you had to say about how the internet has changed how bookworms interact with each other. It's amazing how much easier it is to connect with people who much prefer to have their noses buried in a book than inside of a social situation. I think I might drag my feet over to some of your links, just to see.

  2. I really enjoyed this post, Elisabeth. You effectively honed in on the past struggles of the "bookworm." I suppose I never really identified fandoms as safe havens for readers, but it makes sense now. Though I'm not involved in any book fandoms, I almost wouldn't mind it after reading this. Keep up the good work!

  3. I totally agree about the internet and fandoms. When I first started reading the Harry Potter books, Pottermore, Harry Potter forums, Tumblr, etc did not exist. To make matters worse, I went to a parochial school-- and this was back in the day when some kids were not allowed to read "the HP" because of fear of promoting witchcraft. Now it is hard to come across someone who has not read Harry Potter or whose life has not been profoundly affected by it. I think it's incredible, to be honest.

  4. The internet gave rise to a cult following in nearly every subject matter, book, tv show, movie, etc. I find it a little creepy how obsessed some people can be, but the internet made that acceptable and part of our lives, so live and let live. I've never found myself as part of a fandom. In fact, the shows I watch and the books I read are almost entirely left to internalized digestion and conversation. I'm much more introverted in that respect, where I don't seek out people that share my opinions or feelings on the book. Not sure why...

  5. I've never gotten involved in any fandom other than telling friends that I just read a really awesome book and they should read it. This article highlights how that ability to share has increased thanks to the internet. It turns reading into a part of the common culture and gives the internet gives readers the medium for communication and sharing.

  6. While I've never been involved in a fandom, I'm a huge fan of HP, and LOTR, as well as a series of books called the Bloody Jack Adventures. I'm sure there are forums for them, but I've never looked into them. As fun as it sounds, though, I definitely might consider it! A book worm is my spirit animal, too.

  7. The only active form I can think that I have done for a fandom is write a paper on it- the Twilight fandom specifically- and it wasn't a positive look at that particular fandom. Otherwise I have not actively gotten involved with a fandom, but I like to admire from afar. I love looking through fanfiction, fanart, following bookworms on Tumblr, etc. Specific fandoms might be like the Divergent, but I would associate myself being a fan of the YA genre overall. I love looking up and finding new books on multiple platforms for books.

  8. This is a very interesting topic. If you revise, you should link out to some articles covering this topic or to tumblrs/websites/etc. that are devoted to fandoms. What kind of authors get fandoms, and which ones don't?