I want to tell you a secret… I used to be a huge YouTube nerd. Like, a really big YouTube nerd. Then, I got sick of all my favorite accounts becoming total sellouts and spending 70% of their videos pushing products at me.
But one channel I never quit was vlogbrothers. It’s a channel by Hank and John Green where they make videos every week as a way to stay in touch with each other, and they’re kind enough to share it with the rest of us! I feel like they’re my uncles. Do you think they’d be cool with being my uncles?
John Green is a writer you’ve probably heard of (Paper Towns, The Fault in Our Stars, Looking for Alaska, etc.) because he’s like way way cool, but also his books have been turned into great movies. Hank too is a total creative, he works on PodCon and lots of other #content (podcasts, other YouTube channels and stuff).
BUT THEN, Hank decided to write a book, An Absolutely Remarkable Thing, and boy oh boy am I glad he did. I was a little nervous because it kept getting a sci-fi label, and I’m not huge on that genre, but he’s a Green brother so I had to read it. Turns out, the book is well… absolutely remarkable.
“The power that each of us has over complete strangers to make them feel terrible and and frightened and weak is amazing.”
An Absolutely Remarkable Thing tells the story of a girl, April, who gets internet famous by posting a video online of her and a robot-looking sculpture she names Carl. The Carls randomly appear all over the world. So we start to ask a bunch of questions: What are these things? How did they get here? What are these? Are they nice? Who made these? Is it art? What’s going on?
There is a series of puzzles along the way as we try to figure out what’s up with these Carls, but there’s more to it than just that. As everyone around the world works together to understand the Carls online, An Absolutely Remarkable Thing reminds us the internet can be an amazing tool where we all work together and help each other. It can also be something that separates us. So we have to choose to work together or live in the comment section being mean to people we’ve never met. To me, the choice seems pretty obvious.
“The most insidious part of fame for April wasn’t that other people dehumanized her; it was that she dehumanized herself. She came to see herself not as a person but as a tool.”
It’s deep, and Hank of course nails it! There’s so much more to dive into, but I don’t want to give too much away so I guess you’ll have to read it for yourself.
As always, send me book suggestions and if you’ve read this book let me know what you thought.