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What’s Up With All the Butts On #Bookstagram?

Cassie Gutman

Staff Writer

Cassie Gutman is happiest when surrounded by books and dogs. Originally from a small, funny-named town near Louisville, Kentucky, she now edits words for a living near Chicago and would like to be paid in ice cream. You can find her on Instagram @happybooklovers or on Twitter @cassiepgutman.

It’s a tale as old as time: periodically, a hashtag challenge takes the internet (or, the bookish internet, anyway) by storm, and for a while, you could be a bit confused as to what exactly is going on. And this time? It’s BUTTS.

That’s right: the #masspaperbackandbutts challenge has swept through Bookstagram (the bookish Instagram community), and this is a hashtag I can get behind. Bookish feeds are flooding with images of users with mass market paperbacks (usually cheaper and more compact versions of books) shoved in their back pockets, gleefully displaying their booty-ful backsides.

The best part is that anyone can participate. It doesn’t matter what kind of butt you have—they’re all excellent, and they all help hold books! (~Baby got [paper]back~)

Lydia, creator of the challenge at @dethbeforedisco, was a little confused when it started to grow as a viral bookish challenge. “To be completely honest, it was a joke,” she said via email. “I had made a post that morning about how nothing ever fits in women’s pockets. However, I had been extremely happy that a mass paperback could fit, and that’s all I really need with me anyway, right?”

We could not agree more. Unfortunately, because Instagram is Instagram, it seemed someone had reported the hashtag, which resulted in quite a few original posts disappearing, according to Lydia. But “people redid their posts to keep it going,” she said. “It really showed how close-knit this community of bookstagrammers are.”

So ditch the phones, wallets, and keys: all you need is a mass paperback in the back pocket of your jeans, and you’re good to go. I’ve found a few of my favorite challenge entries and included them below. This excellent doggo posing with their owner’s butt and book:

A+ for this husband who posed with his wife’s book:

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Has your spouse or partner ever done something to help you with a photo? 🌼 My husband Derek is often the one behind the lens for my #StyledByBooks photos, and he also made my gray wood photo backdrop for me. But he definitely earned a "Bookstagram Husband of the Year" award for agreeing to help me recreate the cover of THE BROMANCE BOOK CLUB by @lyssakayadams for this photo today. . . This book is an absolute DELIGHT you guys. It is romantic and sexy and sweet and charming and laugh-out-loud hilarious, and also a beautiful tribute to the romance genre and why it should be celebrated. It comes out in November, and I already can't wait to read it again when my finished copy arrives. (Many thanks to @bookchelle for loaning me her ARC, and also, sorry your book got a little cozy with my husband's butt.) I'll post the full synopsis in the comments, but trust me when I say you NEED this book in your life. It will bring you so much joy. . . #SeptBookstagram19 – #onmondayswereadromance . . #thebromancebookclub #bromancebookclub #massmarketpaperbacksandbutts #berkleyromance #berkleypub #ireadromance #romancebooks #bookrec #bookcoverstyle #bookcoverrecreation #coverlove #coverstyle #romancereader #masspaperbackandbutts #whatiread #bookrecommendation #booksilove #masspaperbacksandbutts

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Butt with the queen of mystery:

Butt with a book and…chicken?

I even tried it myself!

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When I found the #masspaperbackandbutts challenge, I burst out laughing. 🍑 ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ I wanted to play, and the benefit of having a big ol’ butt is that I can fit this big ass (heh) Ann Rule book in my pocket! ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ But in all seriousness, sometimes I struggle with body image, so seeing butts of all shapes, colors, and sizes celebrating their love of books has been so fun to see, so thanks to @dethbeforedisco for starting the trend and a shout-out to @bodyposipanda for a daily dose of inspiration and reminder that my body is beautiful just the way it is. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Also, get you a friend that when you say “omg can you take a pic of my butt?” they do it with zero hesitation 📸 @alholstrom ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ #masspaperbacks #bookstagram #booksarelife #bookmailisthebestmail #books #bookshelf #bookshelves #galleybrag #bookish #bookworm #bookaholic #bookaddict #amreading #alwaysreading

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So grab a mass market paperback, channel your inner (or outer) Tina Belcher, and work that booty with the book.