From "Books of Orange Is the New Black" to Amy Tan's meme: Digital media finds for readers

From "Books of Orange Is the New Black" to Amy Tan's meme: Digital media finds for readers

The characters in the Netflix series, “Orange Is the New Black” are many things. Criminals. Inmates. Yoga instructors. Readers. Leave it to book lovers to notice that everything from best sellers to cult novels and classic works of literature have been making an appearance in nearly every episode. If you want to know what Piper and her cellmates are reading, you can follow the Books of Orange Is the New Black Tumblr, which aims to record the show’s every literary reference.

Book culture and digital media are a great fit. The Web allows us to rally fellow readers and put our own stamp on the works we love – sometimes creating new pieces of pop culture and art in the process. Here are my picks for terrific bookish things currently making the rounds online.

Books told with emoji

If you’ve read John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars, you know it’s an emotional story. How better to retell it than by using emoji, the Internet’s emotion-rich pictographs? The emoji version is one of many such efforts based on popular works of literature, from Middlemarch to Les Miserables. Earlier this year, The Library of Congress even accepted into its collection a crowdsourced version of Moby-Dick recounted entirely in emoji…called “Emoji Dick,” of course.

The Fault in Our Stars, emoji-style

The Fault in Our Stars, emoji-style

Snap Scene

Created by author and writing instructor Jessica Kluthe, Snap Scene on Instagram uses photography to capture moments from short stories, poems, and books. “A dense thicket of bees crowded out of the dark opening at the bottom of the hive,” reads a line from Lauren Carter’s novel “Swarm,” and on Snap Scene we see it brought to life. Many of the entries are Canadian, so Snap Scene is a great way to get to know more Canadian authors and their work.


A scene from Swarm, snapped on Instagram

Daria’s Books

The star of MTV’s popular animated TV series “Daria” (which some are hopeful is under consideration for revival), is known for her intelligence and wit. Head over to Goodreads and you can find a list of books Daria read or mentioned on the show. It comes complete with book links and reviews – just in case you want to follow her lead.

Amy Tan’s Book Cover Meme

Sometimes, novelists create their own digital media magic. Among them is Amy Tan, author of The Joy Luck Club, who started a trend when she came up with a creative way to pose with her new novel, The Valley of Amazement. The result is a book cover meme comprising countless fan submissions, all of them mimicking Tan’s original Twitter post. Tan has been sharing the copycat photos on her Twitter feed, alongside the book hashtag #ValleyofAmazement.

Amy Tan spawns the half-face meme

Amy Tan and her half-face meme

User-generated book art on Tumblr 

Search book gif on Tumblr and you’ll find an endless supply of book-related GIFs that turn classic words into moving pictures. Search for a book title – be it The Hunger Games, Harry Potter, or The Great Gatsby (if the book’s been made into a movie, expect film content too) – and you’ll find yourself with hours of publisher- and reader-generated photos, videos, and mashup content.

For the love of books, search Tumblr

For the love of books, search Tumblr

When next you need a small break from reading, head online. There’s never been a better time to watch books and digital media find their mutual footing and coexist.

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