By Ana Valens

My rating: 4 stars

Goodreads Rating: 4.42

Genre: Literary / LGBTQ Nonfiction

Format Read: Paperback

Goodreads summary: Literary Nonfiction. LGBTQIA Studies. Art. In this first volume of REMEMBER THE INTERNET, a series that tells a complete history of the Internet, one book at a time, journalist Ana Valens introduces us to the erotic gifs, hashtag fetish fan art, and sex worker resource blogs that combined to transform Tumblr into the vanguard of a user-generated sexual revolution. As she tells the story of her own online sexual and political awakening, Valens investigates how Tumblr’s technical architecture made it a convenient laboratory for social justice and sexual freedom, one that would ultimately clash with the government’s crackdown on sexuality online.

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Review

Tumblr Porn is the first book in a series by Ana Valens that aims to chronicle the complete history of the internet. This book, as may be obvious by the name, is about the creation of Tumblr, as well as some of the sites before that, and the way it enabled a kink positive community. Valens did a fantastic job of sharing both the facts as well as enough of her personal connection to said facts that the book felt personal and brought back the shared history we all have. 

Not only did she discuss Tumblr and the porn ban that essentially ended Tumblr as we knew it, but she went back in history to talk about the sites that laid the groundwork for Tumblr to even form in the first place, a story I personally had never read before and found intriguing.

This book was heavily focused on the way that kink communities were formed on the internet, something that I didn’t necessarily realize when I picked out the book to read in the first place. Yes, I knew it was about porn, but I assumed much of it would be mainstream LGBTQ+ porn, as opposed to it being kink with a side of queer. It’s likely that this makes the book even more essential to our history as sexual people on the internet, as even fewer people talk about kink than talk about queer etymology in the first place. This did mean that it rung less true for me, and was not necessarily the reason I was reading the book, hence the 4 star review.

The aspect of the book that really kept me hooked was the personal connections that Valens drew. I admire the way she opened up her own life to be talked about, because although deeply personal, it added so much richness to the story she wrote. I am not the type of person who can read endless facts- history textbooks do not interest me. I am, however, extraordinarily interested in history. The combination of personal storytelling and factual accuracy made this short book extraordinarily compelling. It’s something you can sit down one day and read completely in a couple of hours, and come out so much better and more well educated for having done it.

If you are a person who is interested in internet history, kink history, or even just specifically Tumblr history, I think this book is a must read. It contains so much valuable information and Valens clearly did her research. It is important for books such as this to exist and I am looking forward to reading the future books in her Remember the Internet series when they are published.