In our last issue, internet sensations Michelle and Aline introduced us to the world of YouTube by reflecting on their journey to finding an identity and audience in the beauty, fashion and lifestyle community. Now, Jesse George joins us from a very different world, the world of literature. As he reflects on his journey to YouTube book-reviewing stardom, his channel, ‘jessethereader’, already stands at nearly 9 million views, and counting. If you’re the type of person who is always on the lookout for their next fiction fix, I have only one piece of advice for you: Don’t stop reading!
- You’ve recently surpassed the 150,000 subscriber mark on your YouTube channel, ‘jessethereader’. Congrats! Why do you think so many people enjoy watching your reviews?
Thanks so much! It blows my mind the amount of people I’ve been able to connect with through making youtube videos. I think the reason people enjoy watching my videos relates to why I make these videos. I started making these videos, because I didn’t have anyone to really talk to about books in my real life. I thought that making videos about the books I’d read would help me connect with people and that’s exactly what happened. I never expected it to turn into what it’s become today, but I’m happy with where this unexpected journey has taken me.
- What was the most recent book you finished reading? And what was your favourite and least favourite thing about it?
I just finished reading City of Heavenly Fire by Cassandra Clare. It’s the final book in The Mortal Instruments series and it’s taken me two years to finish this series. For the most part it was a pretty satisfying finale, but on the other hand it definitely had some faults. My main issue with it was the overall pacing. It felt like it was taking forever to get to what it was leading up to. Other than that though it was an action packed book with heartfelt moments and brilliant humor.
- What was the most unusual book you ever read?
Most likely Grasshopper Jungle by Andrew Smith. It’s the story of two boys who accidentally unleash an army of six-foot tall praying mantises. The deeper I got into the story, the more strange and outrageous it got. It’s not necessarily a book I’d recommend to everyone, but if you’re looking for something outright nuts, this is the book for you.
- How would you describe your taste in books generally? Are there particular genres and styles that you are drawn to more than others?
I feel like I’m definitely a person who will read anything as long as I’m in the mood for it. I’m what they call a mood reader, because I read based off how I’m feeling at that moment in time. I think my favorite genre’s would be realistic fiction and urban fantasy. I’m a very open reader though and I basically enjoy reading anything I can get my hands on.
- What writers would you love to meet in person someday? Why?
I’d love to meet Lemon Snicket, because he really sparked my love for reading when I was younger and I’d love to be able to thank him for doing that.
- In 2016, the publishing industry is expecting further rapid change. With digital media on the rise, and print media on the decline, do you think it matters that the way we interact with books is changing?
I don’t think it matters the way we interact with books, because a story is a story no matter the format. I do think it’s important to keep in mind that the decline of print media is a problem for book sellers all around the world. For example, if physical books aren’t selling well at a independent book store, it’ll be hard for the bookstore to remain in business and that’s where the problem lies.
You can find out more about Jesse by checking out his social media links below:
Photos © Jenna Clarek; this article was first printed in the May 2016 issue of ‘The Stag’, the magazine of the students of the University of Surrey.