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Let’s Get Controversial: Opinions on Controversial Topics in the Book-Blog World (Part 1)

I have seen a lot of discussion posts on various controversial topics, and I usually comment with my two cents on them when it adds to the discussion. I wanted to address some of my thoughts and opinions on some currently controversial topics, and then when I got to writing out the list of things to address, this post got LONG.

So, here is Part 1!


Trigger/Content Warnings

A discussion post on trigger/content warnings by The Reading Ladies actually sparked the idea of writing this post, which is why I’m kicking off with this topic. If you haven’t checked it out, please give it a read because it’s so thought provoking and I loved it.

I am personally pro-trigger and content warnings, which might be obvious because I incorporate them into all of my reviews now. When I began incorporating them, I had a hard time differentiating content warnings from trigger warnings, so I include anything that I can think of within each book that might upset someone, or could potentially create a triggering response. These days, we have to be more considerate of what could cause harm to other readers, and things I may not consider a trigger may be one to somebody else.

There is some hesitance when it comes to potentially revealing a spoiler of the plot, which is a common reason why others feel that they shouldn’t include the warnings. To me, although the warning may reveal a spoiler, I’d rather the reader be prepared for the content that could be upsetting.

Negative or Did Not Finish (DNF) Reviews

img_0624I know a lot of reviewers dislike writing negative reviews (I mean, who actually likes admitting they didn’t love a book?) and many won’t DNF a book, but I have to admit that I’m pro negative reviews and DNF’ing.

When it comes to negative reviews, I think that readers want to know what your honest opinion is about a book, and sometimes that means saying that it wasn’t a book you enjoyed. However, I believe negative reviews should be written in a positive manner, like constructive criticism, and state why they weren’t a fit for the reviewer’s reading tastes. I don’t think reviewers should be tearing apart a book and blaming their dislike for the book on anyone but themselves.

I’ve read a few discussion threads from authors who also state they would rather get a negative review than no review at all. Their rating doesn’t go up or down with no review- but it also doesn’t tell them anything about how their book is being received. Though their books are their brainchildren, they’d rather have sincere critique than no acknowledgement whatsoever.

Building upon that, this is why I also write DNF reviews. I want fellow readers and the author to know why I decided to stop reading a book. I still maintain the positive connotations of the book, writing it like I would write a negative review. This also helps bring closure to the fact that I have quit on reading a book. DNF’ing isn’t pleasant, but I also think reading something you don’t enjoy is much worse. Besides, there are so many books out there that could be better life is too short to read what you don’t enjoy.

I also count these books as books I’ve read at the end of the year- even though I haven’t finished them- but I do keep them on a separate list and bookshelf so that they don’t affect things like my Goodreads Challenge.

Spoilers

img_0621Spoilers are a topic that are hard to black and white about. There’s a LOT of gray area.

As I said above, spoilers may come about in content/trigger warnings, or if a very large portion of the plot revolves around one moment- and these are extremely hard for a blogger to navigate around if they warrant being mentioned in the review. So my stance on that is, if you can’t avoid it, it’s okay to share the spoiler. Chances are, it’s going to come out anyways, and you shouldn’t beat yourself up over it because in the long run, it’s not really going to matter.

However, if spoilers can be avoided, DO IT. Don’t share the whole plot with me in your review- a summary works just fine, and gives enough detail to intrigue but not enough to give it all away. Don’t purposefully share the spoiler, either- that’s just mean.

Now, exceptions can apply:

  • Books that have been around for more than 10 or so years.
  • Classic literature or contemporary classics
  • Bestsellers that have been around for more than 7 years. (Why 7 years? I feel like if the IRS doesn’t care about your taxes after 7 years, then the general public shouldn’t care about spoilers after that time.)

Tagging Authors/ Publishers in Reviews

This one is pretty cut and dry in my opinion: Tag them in the good reviews or professional promotional content, and don’t tag them in the negative reviews or self-promotional content.

For example, if you wrote a review that is really positive (say, you gave it 4 or 5 stars), and you want to tag the publisher or author in the social media/promotional content you share, then that makes sense because it’s positively impacting the book, author, publisher, and in a roundabout way, yourself as the reviewer.  Or, if you have been given an ARC or other promotional content directly from the publisher or author, and agreed to share it, then definitely tag them. Just make sure to tag ONLY the author/publisher associated with the book.

Don’t tag publishers/ authors in anything that isn’t associated with them just to get them to look at your content. Don’t self promote yourself to them that way- it may work a time or two, but it’s not very respectful in my opinion. Also, if you DNF’d a book or gave it a bad review, don’t tag them. It’s fine to write those reviews, but I feel like you don’t need to go out of your way to point it out to those who put so much hard work into the book. They’ll seek out the negative reviews if they want to.

Also, if you received an ARC and promised a review, but DNF’d or gave it a negative review, I think you should tag ONLY the publisher (spare the author, please!) so that you fulfill your reviewing agreement. Publishers handle the business side of things, so they want to hear what reviewers think, good or bad.

Audiobooks-  Counting as Reading

img_0397I honestly don’t care what anyone reads, as long as they are reading- and it seems that most of the book blog universe agrees. However, there seems to be some debate over the medium as to if it counts as reading or not- especially audiobooks.

My personal opinion- audiobooks count. They require just as much focus and attention as a book if you want to be able to understand what is happening in the novel. They are also ACTUAL BOOKS being read outloud- so if you are listening to the whole book be read, then you took the time to “read” the book. It’s what we do with children when they are developing their reading skills, which we count as reading, so why should it matter now as adults, if someone reads to us in our own time?

Also, I feel that we can’t ignore the fact that some people have different learning abilities, and that means that they might struggle reading a physical book. So if they choose to read books for enjoyment through audio, then it think it counts as reading. The same goes for anyone who reads Braille. Reading, of all activities, should be considered inclusive- no matter what format you prefer.

 

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Categories: Growth & Discussion

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2 replies

  1. This post did make me think a bit. I count audiobooks as reading. For me personally I only use them for self help type books or motivational because that’s how they work for me. Reading them I get distracted and stuff. I also believe reviews should be positive even if you don’t like the book. That’s just curtesy.

  2. I always enjoy your thorough and thoughtful analysis! Thanks for the shoutout! I’ll edit my post to link your post!

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