For decades, we’ve been warned that video killed the radio star, and, more recently, that social media has replaced reading. Nerdfighteria, a first-of-its-kind online literary community with nearly three million members, challenges these assumptions. It is the brainchild of brothers Hank and John Green, who provide literary themed programming on their website and YouTube channel, including video clips from John, a best-selling author most famous for his young adult book, The Fault in Our Stars. These clips not only give fans personal insights into his works and the writing process writ large, they also provide unique access to the author, inspiring fans to create their own fan art and make connections with one another.
In the twenty-first century, reading and watching videos are related activities that allow people to engage with authors and other readers. Whether they turn to The Fault in Our Stars or titles by lesser-known authors, Nerdfighters are readers. Incorporating thousands of testimonials about what they read and why, Jennifer Burek Pierce not only sheds light on this particular online community, she also reveals what it tells us about the changing nature of reading in the digital age. In Nerdfighteria, we find a community who shows us that being online doesn’t mean disinterest in books.
“Devotees of the work of the Brothers Green—John and Hank—will be delighted by Burek Pierce’s deep dive into the world of Nerdfighteria. A model of academic integrity, this book is of such compelling interest that it will find a general readership alongside an enthusiastic academic one. Nerdfighters will rejoice.”—Michael Cart, YA literature expert
“New media have not replaced books, but they have radically transformed the way we read them. Jennifer Burek Pierce offers a deeply researched analysis of a revolution in progress. She can help you understand how the current generation engages with literature.”—Jonathan Rose, author, The Intellectual Life of the British Working Classes
“Burek Pierce does a masterful job of providing the reader with a clear description of the online community of John and Hank Green’s Nerdfighters. She also provides an engaging picture of her own experience in that world, as a scholarly researcher and a genuine fan and observer-participant Nerdfighter herself. The text weaves these insider/outsider perspectives into a compelling portrait of the multifaceted community of Nerdfighters.”—Christine A. Jenkins, coauthor, Representing the Rainbow in Young Adult Literature: LGBTQ+ Content since 1969