This Book Blogger Behaves Badly...Sometimes (and so should you)

There was a little girl,
Who had a little curl,
Right in the middle of her forehead.
When she was good,
She was very, very good,
But when she was bad, she was horrid.

This post has been nagging at me for awhile now, and it wasn't until yesterday that everything settled, and all my thoughts stopped moving just enough for me to grab on to the one that's been buzzing around inside of me for weeks. Oddly enough, this moment of clarity came after a retweet someone posted on twitter. I forget who retweeted it but the original author of the post was Trish at Hey Lady and it said:

"Reviewers are writing for the reader, not the author. NEVER LIE"

This post may not reflect the tone she intended when she wrote that tweet but it has really meant a lot to me today.

Every other day I see a post about book blogging etiquette, a post that tells me how I'm suppose to blog. This book blogger etiquette, basically boils down to a set of rules that polite book bloggers feel other book bloggers should subscribe to if they are to be seen as...polite. And as this book blogger is NOT polite, I'll tell you. It's really making my ass twitch.

This is my blog. I write it for me. These are my book thoughts- the thoughts that, I, Me, think about a book. I love that had a few megabytes left for me, Me, to have a little nook to write, collect and maybe even share my book thoughts. I can't tell you what an amazing feeling it has been to share my opinions with some of you, to connect with other people who love literature, deep down in their bones the way I do. I was raised on it, it's a part of me. It helps define who I am. I know non readers, and I truthfully don't know how they go through life without experiencing other stories and other places. I secretly think they're missing pieces of their soul and they'll never have them because they don't go looking for them- in books. I can't express adequately what reading means to me. We'll just have to move on from here.

That said- all that, I respect authors and their gifts.* I can't write a book. I don't have a story to tell. It won't ever happen and I don't want it to. I just want to be a part of the stories, not the one that creates them. Some stories are so beautiful- think about your favorite book and how you would feel, knowing what you know now, if it had never been written. It would be OK to cry then. I would hope you would.

But there are bad stories. There are bad books and oh there are bad writers. Not every bad story is a bad book. And not every bad book is written by a bad author. Even bad authors can write good books, just as good authors can sometimes write bad ones. Do you catch my drift?

I have every right to openly proclaim my love for an author's work.
I have every right to openly FLAME WITH THE FIRES FROM THE DEEPEST REACHES OF HELL my abhorrence of a book when it moves me to feel that it is shit. -SHIT- ladies and gentlemen. Shit. It's a cuss word and polite bloggers aren't suppose to cuss.

This book blogger is not polite.

This book blogger can, however, separate the author from their book. I can hate a book, openly, expressively, loudly, and in all caps if I want to and still have respect for the writer.** Or I can hate a book, openly, expressively, loudly, and in all caps if I want to and have no respect for the author. That's the way of personal opinions. They're personal and pertain only to me.

There are a plethora of book blogs out there. Some follow a cookie cutter format that is designed to only showcase the more popular, positive specimens of the written word. They give you a base emotional response to a work and promote it based solely on their assurance that "it moved" without ever really telling you what it moved them to, or how. Did you know that there are book bloggers who tailor make their reviews in order to please an author/publisher/book supplier? Did you know that's....those....are lies? And they are rewarded for them? Isn't that...wrong?

So thank you, for telling me that it is impolite to have an opinion that doesn't involve visions of sugar plums, sugar and spice. For a moment I felt bad about my negative responses to some of the awful books I've read and posted about. For a minute I even stopped to worry that I might have hurt an author's feelings. I almost took them down. But then I remembered that I, personally would spurn any such book blog that subscribed to that mentality and it would crush me to know that anyone thought that I could ever possess such a vapid, censored, preprogrammed view of a book.

"I would rather be paid the compliment of being believed sincere." - Pride and Prejudice

There will be negative, hateful book thoughts on this book blog, just as there will be book thoughts made entirely of love, awe, wonderment and devotion. I will continue to read books and share my book thoughts here. I would love to discuss them with you, honestly. There really isn't much that's better to talk about than a good story and there really isn't any better gossip than yapping about a bad one. I also give any author leave to tell me I'm an ungrateful wicked girl when I blog that their book is shit.

I am not yelling at -you- personally. If anyone takes this personally I advise them to handle such an emotion, internally, within their own person.
"Modesty, ... and all that, is very well in its way, but really a little common honesty is sometimes quite as becoming.- Northanger Abbey"

And here's a better one:
""Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind. - Dr. Suess"

*As always, any proclamation of love for an author or books excludes Stephanie Meyer for her unforgivable act of afflicting Breaking Dawn on unsuspecting, decent, book reading people. I will hold a grudge life long.
**See above.

10 thoughts?:

Donna April 26, 2010 at 7:04 PM  

I heart you so bad right now.

You've said pretty much all I've been thinking since reading some of those etiquette posts. I think I made a comment on one about a little shit every once in a while isn't going to hurt. My propensity to sear like a drunken sailor hasn't hurt my ability to get ARCs. This is me. Take it or leave it. I say shit. Fuck. Fuckity shit. Shitty fuck. Shuck. Fhit. I'm not Sweet Valley High. I'm Nick and Fucking Norah. While I do believe that honesty isn't always the best policy (like being honest in the workplace, that can just get you canned) but when it comes to book reviews, they're my opinions, dammit. I'm not about to write an author and say, "Yo bitch, gimme a book." But I'm also not about to say, "this book was less than pleasant" when it really blew dogs for quarters.

And I love your Breaking Dawn comment. I am a writer and in my review of that book, I literally say fuck it to the whole "writers being nice to other writers" crap. Show me an author that romanticizes pedophilia and I'll show you a human being with two assholes.

Donna April 26, 2010 at 7:07 PM  

And that comment about a book blowing dogs for quarters is in reference to a review, not emailing the author. I'm more cordial in emails than that!

Twimom227 April 26, 2010 at 7:11 PM  

AMEN!! Thanks for the great post!

Kris April 26, 2010 at 7:41 PM  

*snicker* I like this post....I'm just not ballsy enough to write something like it...*smile*

Stephanie April 26, 2010 at 7:56 PM  

I think you wrote what a lot of people are probably feeling. I too write what I feel. I think part of the problem is that I've come to the point where if I don't like a book after the first 50 pages anymore, I stop reading it, which is probably why a lot of my reviews tend to be more positive. I don't have time to try and struggle through a book that is painful and awful.

I love your comments and your bluntness. The Dr. Seuss comment(Who doesn't love Dr. Seuss? He was famous for his bluntness.) sums it up perfectly. We write blogs in order to state what we feel and we have freedom of expression. To have a list of rules to follow, and to expect people to follow those rules, is a kind of censorship. There is a way to express a negative review without being rude and without being destructive to the author. Isn't that the point of the blogs, to be honest in our reviews and in our points of view?

Congrats on a fantastic and, to the point, blog post. I'll be back to read your reviews.

Life After Jane April 26, 2010 at 10:25 PM  

@Donna- I heart you right back. Your opinion means a lot to me- as one shit stirrer to another.

@Twimom- Thanks, just needed to get it off my chest.

@Kris- you can be. It's book blogging. A lot like vegas. What happens on the book blog, stays on the book blog. Well, not really. But what the hell.

@Stephanie- It's tough for me to abandon a book once I've started it, but I have gotten better. I tend to be hardest on books in a series- when I've loved the series and then the next one is crap but you have to read it because, it's in the series.

Melissa April 27, 2010 at 8:37 AM  

Amen. AMEN. Thank you. That is all.

pirate penguin April 27, 2010 at 5:04 PM  


This is one of the reasons why I keep coming back to your site: you're ALWAYS honest, no matter what! I respect and admire you for it :) Same goes for Donna. (I just read her review for Breaking Dawn and OMG did I love it! Her feelings were perfectly clear on that book...) There may be a lot of bloggers around but you and her are one of the few who truly express your feelings about whatever you read and you mention things that others would CRINGE to talk about.

By the way, I put your button on my site. ;)

Donna April 27, 2010 at 6:17 PM  

Dude, I'm so putting that on a t-shirt. Shit Stirrer. Ha! I heart shit stirrers? Too much?

Life After Jane April 27, 2010 at 7:38 PM  

@Melissa :D

@Pirate Thank you for that. There is no higher

@Donna I just read your review of BD which should be printed on a pamphlet and passed around to little old ladies at Sunday church- cuz their reaction would make me giggle with snorts. BD is the second worst book I've ever read. THERE IS ONE I FEEL IS WORSE.

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I read excessively and hoard books like a greedy dragon. Theoretically, I also plan to use them to barricade myself against the forthcoming zombie apocalypse.

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