ReadIt1st is a new project created by one half of the Vlogbrothers, Hank Green that urges people to read a book before they watch the movie. The project is his way of re-igniting a love for literature in Americans and the world.
He thought about creating the website after discovering that five of the top 10 movies of 2010 were based on books and that most of the people who watched those movies had never read the book that the movie was based on.
The concept of the website is simple; anyone can go onto the website: www.readit1st.com and sign up for the newsletter and every few months or so, they will receive a newsletter with a list of books to read in anticipation for the release of the movie.
This isn’t the first project that Green has created. In 2007, he and his brother young adult fiction novelist, John Green, created the Brotherhood 2.0 project. For an entire year, the brothers vowed to not communicate to the other by text; instead they made videos dedicated to the other and posted them on YouTube under the channel name; ‘Vlogbrothers’. After a while the videos began to build a fan base and four years later through their videos, the brothers have managed to build a community of dedicated followers who call themselves ‘nerdfighters’.
Over the years, the Vlogbrothers, along with their loyal ‘nerdfighters’ have endeavoured in many different projects from humanitarian projects to ‘nerdfighter’ gathering where other ‘nerdfigthers’ can meet, socialise and collaborate on projects. Their aim is to ‘cure world suck’.
Hank Green revealed in a YouTube video in which he posted a day after the launch readit1st.com that he had had the idea for the website the previous year.
He said about the website; “…it promotes something that I love, reading… through advertising it could potentially employ a writer and I would love to be responsible for a writer having a job…”
“…this isn’t something that I created for ‘nerdfighters’, I created it for the world. What I did was create it with ‘nerdfighters’…”
In this economy, many small publishers are rapidly closing down; big publishers don’t want to invest a lot of money in unknown writers anymore. Instead they produce some generic celebrity’s auto-biography that was clearly not written by the celebrity because it will sell. This makes it seem like being a writer is more a curse than a vocation. A website like this has the potential of influencing the direction of publishing in the future. If people read more literary novels, publishers will invest in writers that write that way.
Besides, it is no secret, regardless of the director, the actor or the quality of the script, very few films can be held close to the same esteem as the books they were based on. In a way, the books are prequels, the films are sequels and everyone knows that sequels are never as good as the original. Despite knowing this, people would still rather watch the films which are like an unabridged audio book than read the literature.
Most people will never read a novel again after leaving mandatory or higher education. For contemporary writers like myself, this statement is both alarming and heart-breaking for two reasons. Firstly, I write to be read by more than just myself, my friends and my family. Secondly, I believe a world where the names Hemmingway and Salinger and Bronte and Pound are forgotten is a sad world and I refuse to be a part of it. That is why today, I have pledged to readit1st because I too have watched the film and neglected to read the book and I want to change that.
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