Booktalk My blog, BooktalkThree, is dedicated to presenting sets of three booktalks that can be used together. Below, I describe what a booktalk is and why people write them.
Booktalk In the broadest terms, a booktalk is simply a piece of writing or a speech given to convince someone to read a book. Traditionally, booktalks have been used primarily in school settings. Increasingly, however, they are used in other situations as well, such as at readings by authors, at book signings, or in book clubs.
Booktalk Nobody knows where the concept of booktalking originated; it may simply have stemmed from individuals telling their friends about the books they like. Writing in the 1930s, Margaret Edwards was the first author to mention booktalks. The word itself dates to 1985 and was coined by Aidan Chambers, an author of children’s literature.
Booktalk Most booktalks are under 10 minutes, and they can be as short at 30 seconds. The ideal booktalk will use some element of the book to pique the reader’s interest, without providing a resolution, like a movie trailer.
Booktalk For young people, booktalks are designed to encourage the individual to read. Faced by a wide range of entertainment options, many teenagers turn away from books, but hopefully booktalks can reverse that trend. On the other hand, booktalks designed for adults serve the function of giving recommendations or previews of new titles. This second usage appeared in the 1980s.
Booktalk Experts are divided as to the effectiveness of booktalks. Although only limited research has been conducted into this popular approach to literature promotion, some common trends have appeared. For instance, books that are booktalked in a library tend to circulate more than others. It should be noted, however, that this observation does not prove causality: The booktalker may have chosen the book because it is popular, or the book may have become popular because of being booktalked. Another common observation on this method of promotion is that they do not change a listener’s overall attitude to reading. As such, booktalks may be most effective in the adult, recommendation-type format.
Booktalk Regardless, many people enjoy booktalks and they continue to be a popular way to discuss books. If you are interested in seeing the booktalks I have prepared, they can be read at booktalkthree.blogspot.com.