Five books worth the hype

Have you gotten caught up in the booktok or booktuber worlds?

Do you wonder which books are really worth the hype from the book influencers?

I’ve gotten back into reading a lot in the past few years. I’ve always loved reading, but haven’t always made it a priority. And I have to admit that book influencers have definitely helped me fall back in love with reading.

I love that so many people are reading more and starting conversations about books. I love how much more mainstream reading has become and that people are able to craft careers around talking about books. I think it’s a lovely gift that social media has given us.

But that being said, there are a lot of books that get hyped up but may not live up to the hype, or may not be our personal taste.

I’ve put together some of the big books that I believe are genuinely worth the hype.

Photo by Laura Kapfer on Unsplash

Five books worth the booktok hype

Here’s a list of five books from booktok that I believe are worth the hype.

  1. Babel by R.F. Kuang
  2. Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow by Gabrielle Zevin\
  3. Piranesi by Susanna Clarke
  4. Upstream by Mary Oliver
  5. The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller

Keep reading to find out more about each one. I’ve order them from newest to oldest by publication date.

Babel (2022)

by R.F. Kuang

  • Year Published: 2022
  • Storygraph Categories: fiction, fantasy, historical, literary, challenging, dark, emotional, medium-paced
  • Talks about the difficulties and nuances of translating literature

Traduttore, traditore: An act of translation is always an act of betrayal.

1828. Robin Swift, orphaned by cholera in Canton, is brought to London by the mysterious Professor Lovell. There, he trains for years in Latin, Ancient Greek, and Chinese, all in preparation for the day he’ll enroll in Oxford University’s prestigious Royal Institute of Translation—also known as Babel. The tower and its students are the world’s center for translation and, more importantly, magic. Silver-working—the art of manifesting the meaning lost in translation using enchanted silver bars—has made the British unparalleled in power, as the arcane craft serves the Empire’s quest for colonization.

For Robin, Oxford is a utopia dedicated to the pursuit of knowledge. But knowledge obeys power, and as a Chinese boy raised in Britain, Robin realizes serving Babel means betraying his motherland. As his studies progress, Robin finds himself caught between Babel and the shadowy Hermes Society, an organization dedicated to stopping imperial expansion. When Britain pursues an unjust war with China over silver and opium, Robin must decide . . .

Can powerful institutions be changed from within, or does revolution always require violence?


Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow (2022)

by Gabrielle Zevin

  • Year Published: 2022
  • Storygraph Categories:
    fiction, contemporary, literary, emotional, reflective, sad, medium-paced
  • Important to note, there have been some criticisms of how the author portrays a physical disability and uses it during the story.

In this exhilarating novel by the best-selling author of The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry two friends–often in love, but never lovers–come together as creative partners in the world of video game design, where success brings them fame, joy, tragedy, duplicity, and, ultimately, a kind of immortality.

On a bitter-cold day, in the December of his junior year at Harvard, Sam Masur exits a subway car and sees, amid the hordes of people waiting on the platform, Sadie Green. He calls her name. For a moment, she pretends she hasn’t heard him, but then, she turns, and a game begins: a legendary collaboration that will launch them to stardom. These friends, intimates since childhood, borrow money, beg favors, and, before even graduating college, they have created their first blockbuster, Ichigo. Overnight, the world is theirs. Not even twenty-five years old, Sam and Sadie are brilliant, successful, and rich, but these qualities won’t protect them from their own creative ambitions or the betrayals of their hearts.

Spanning thirty years, from Cambridge, Massachusetts, to Venice Beach, California, and lands in between and far beyond, Gabrielle Zevin’s Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow is a dazzling and intricately imagined novel that examines the multifarious nature of identity, disability, failure, the redemptive possibilities in play, and above all, our need to connect: to be loved and to love. Yes, it is a love story, but it is not one you have read before.


Piranesi (2020)

by Susanna Clarke

  • Year Published: 2020
  • Storygraph Categories:
    fiction, fantasy, literary, adventurous, mysterious, reflective, medium-paced
  • Winner of the 2021 Women’s Prize for Fiction

Piranesi’s house is no ordinary building: its rooms are infinite, its corridors endless, its walls are lined with thousands upon thousands of statues, each one different from all the others. Within the labyrinth of halls an ocean is imprisoned; waves thunder up staircases, rooms are flooded in an instant. But Piranesi is not afraid; he understands the tides as he understands the pattern of the labyrinth itself. He lives to explore the house.

There is one other person in the house—a man called The Other, who visits Piranesi twice a week and asks for help with research into A Great and Secret Knowledge. But as Piranesi explores, evidence emerges of another person, and a terrible truth begins to unravel, revealing a world beyond the one Piranesi has always known.


Upstream (2016)

by Mary Oliver

  • Year Published: 2016
  • Storygraph Categories:
    nonfiction, essays, literary, nature, inspiring, reflective, relaxing, slow-paced

Comprising a selection of essays, Upstream finds beloved poet Mary Oliver reflecting on her astonishment and admiration for the natural world and the craft of writing.

As she contemplates the pleasure of artistic labor, finding solace and safety within the woods, and the joyful and rhythmic beating of wings, Oliver intimately shares with her readers her quiet discoveries, boundless curiosity, and exuberance for the grandeur of our world.

This radiant collection of her work, with some pieces published here for the first time, reaffirms Oliver as a passionate and prolific observer whose thoughtful meditations on spiders, writing a poem, blue fin tuna, and Ralph Waldo Emerson inspire us all to discover wonder and awe in life’s smallest corners.


The Song of Achilles (2011)

by Madeline Miller

  • Year Published: 2011
  • Storygraph Categories:
    fiction, fantasy, lgbtqia+, literary, adventurous, emotional, sad, medium-paced
  • Winner of the 2012 Orange Prize (now The Women’s Prize for Fiction)

Achilles, “the best of all the Greeks,” son of the cruel sea goddess Thetis and the legendary king Peleus, is strong, swift, and beautiful, irresistible to all who meet him. Patroclus is an awkward young prince, exiled from his homeland after an act of shocking violence. Brought together by chance, they forge an inseparable bond, despite risking the gods’ wrath.

They are trained by the centaur Chiron in the arts of war and medicine, but when word comes that Helen of Sparta has been kidnapped, all the heroes of Greece are called upon to lay siege to Troy in her name. Seduced by the promise of a glorious destiny, Achilles joins their cause, and torn between love and fear for his friend, Patroclus follows. Little do they know that the cruel Fates will test them both as never before and demand a terrible sacrifice.


Final thoughts

I hope you found something of interest in this list of books.

I’m always looking for more suggestions of books to read. I’d love to know which booktok/booktube books you think are worth the hype. Let me know in a comment below!

Have you read any of these books? What did you think of the book?

I’d love to hear your thoughts in a comment below.

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