Content/Trigger Warnings

This really isn’t a post to rant or to discuss if they’re needed or not.

I’m not here to stir the pot as they say.

I just want to say that I think it’s ludicrous to even argue about it.

Have you ever picked up a movie?

What does a movie typically have on its cover? Rating, right? PG, 15, all that, and what happens when it has those ratings above G?

They tell you why you should consider letting a person younger than the rating watch it, but also, does it not tell you if you’re going to encounter drugs, violence, sexual content? Especially if it’s a 15?

I have a point, I promise.

So we have these movie ratings, and I’m not saying books need to be rated but it’s almost like the ratings are used as warnings. Not for triggers, but, it can help those looking for a trigger warning, and it’s definitely a content warning. ‘Hey, this movie’s gonna have someone doing crack out of a hooker’s butt crack, think about that before letting your ten year old or yourself watch it’ [Wolf of Wall Street, btw, I’m not just making shit up as I go…this time]

And what happens if you really want to see a movie and don’t care? You ignore the rating, right? You ignore the warnings of what the film will contain.

So.

What if we put trigger/content warnings on books and then, if you don’t care about them you just….don’t read them? Wouldn’t that be easier than someone stumbling onto something that can be unfortunate for them? I’m not necessarily saying ‘oh thrillers should come with warnings about violence and possible gore’ [Though there’s absolutely nothing wrong in stating that] I’m talking about books that may appeal to YA audiences and ARE meant for YA but hey, there’s going to drug use, or hey this person encounters abuse, all that jazz.

I don’t put content/trigger warnings on all of my reviews but I at least try to be mindful, because it feels rather silly to only think of myself if I’m writing a review on my blog for readers, it’s a bit different in other circumstances, but that’s my PERSONAL choice on other review things, on my blog I am trying to go back and add content/trigger warnings to things I can remember. Why? Because I don’t want to throw someone through a loop and hurt them.

Also.

I read a book last night, and I was so enraged that it did not have any sort of warning to the last chapter which just seemed to come from left field that I was sitting there and thinking ‘this, this is a really good example of why trigger warnings are needed.’ Needless to say, if I decide to review that one on my blog, I’ll make sure to warn you all, so that you’re not left feeling gross and in shock, like myself.

Content/Trigger warnings, they aren’t there to ruin books, they’re there to help, just like film ratings and warnings.

I’m not here to yank anyone’s chain, this is just my opinion on the matter.

Please feel free to tell me what you think down below in the comments, but, please, be mindful of others! ❤

Cymera 2- Discussion Post: Monsters

Eris Young asked Lesley Glaister and Alexandra Christo, ‘what makes a creature or monster?’

That question took me a bit off guard, I mean we could all give the obvious answers about physiology but Eris obviously was digging deeper than that as both characters aren’t strictly/particularly human in either book the authors were discussing. I would also like to add that Eris had a fantastic dress, I loved it, and really such a great interview, the questions were always spot on!

Alexandra looked at the question from a nature vs. nurture point of view. She asks if not being human doesn’t make us a monster, then ‘what is it? Something deeper?’ To paraphrase her, Alexandra believes it’s actions that define us.

Lesley took a look at themes, what’s a human, an animal, or in between according to mythology and what’s a hierarchy of those all? She deems there is a lot of gray area and it’s within that, that you’ll find her answer.

In both their respective novels, Christo’s To Kill a Kingdom and Glaister’s Aphra’s Child, there are some common themes, they both have a hierarchy but in Christo’s, the Sirens are at the top in their underwater world, while humans are on equal footing in their respect on land. Glaister’s, it’s clear the humans are in charge but they’re infiltrators and the creatures are vast and varied.

When looking at what makes a monster, corruption and power play large parts, do these things make us less human? And Christo points out something interesting, for us the compassion the things that make us all good are labeled to correlate directly to us, humans, it’s humanity that makes us different.

But why is that the term? And if something’s not human that doesn’t necessarily mean it isn’t capable of compassion or goodness, or ‘humanity.’

One thing is clear about both novels aside from creatures and hierarchies, it’s that there’s the theme of hidden nature, that no matter creature or human, you are capable of being a monster or a shining example of humanity.

So I’d love to hear from you all! What do you think makes a monster? Is it simply the physiology, is it more, is it something that can’t be put into words but by actions alone?

In my opinion I tend to agree with Christo in that it is our actions that define us, I think a lack of compassion and empathy/sympathy are clear indicators for beginning of something that doesn’t equal our ideals of humanity, and I agree with Glaister, there’s such a vast spectrum of gray.

 

Comparing Notes

 

Hey all! This is it!!! The FIRST in the series, Comparing Notes.

I had this in mind for a couple of months, it was inspired by the fact my friend Neda and I both read The Fever King and had completely different reading experiences. It kinda made me remember that we all have varied tastes, even our friends! *Gasp* I know, it’s shocking haha.

 

Anyway, now time to introduce Neda!

 

Neda and I have been friends since about the time we were 11/12 years old and we’re now…old. We’ll leave it at that. Anyway, she has a Master’s in English and is currently a stay at home mom like me, and she also writes wonderful poetry. You can find her and her reviews here.

This first post will be a discussion format and so we are awesome enough to share are very candid convo about The Fever King, and remember, we both just have varied opinions and no matter what, we’re both entitled to them, with that, let’s start! Please note we both read this a few months back and were laughable in our recall of some details.

[**ATTENTION: SPOILERS, SPOILERS EVERYWHERE**]

Discussion Time

Me: We could talk about where you think the book failed and where I thought it excelled?

Neda: Yea, especially if there are different opinions on the same concept.

Like, what really sticks out to me is how angry I was when it was revealed that Dara is a mind reader. I think I would have liked it better as a reader had I been in on the secret…maybe? At least then Dara would have gotten a sympathy vote. Same thing with…. Calix? I meant the main character, not Dara.

Also, in that same vein, it would be a totally different story if Lee had given us both Dara and the MC’s POV. Totally forgot the name…


Me: Noam

And I get that, I am glad Noam wasn’t a mind reader and I kinda thought Dara was just not a sympathetic character until we got to know more of his background. I actually was a huge fan of Calix, I thought that he was the most intriguing character. I preferred Noam without Dara. I think that I really enjoyed Lee’s take on the powers, that they’re induced by fever, and I do really love how the ending is Dara escaping, not Noam, or together, I think it’s a nice change and I hope that means more Calix lolol.

Neda: I loved the take on magic too! Dara was cool. My favorite character in the book. I need to write fanfiction from his POV. Noam was stupid. Especially, when he was running out of the building after killing that guy, but then ran back in? Who does that?
Me: lol!! I agree, Noam made some questionable choices but I think that’s why I liked him, he was a kid who grew up as part of a protest/rights group so even though he was born in a not so good part of town he was actually quite sheltered and I enjoyed Lee showing the differences between him and the others of his ‘class’ they may have come from money but at least a couple of them have some huge family issues. I could see why you wanted Dara’s Pov.

Neda: I liked the way she handled class, or at least nothing bad about it stuck out enough for me to complain. I will say tho, all the non-Atlantians did look pretty naive compared to Noam as far as the reality of the dystopian world goes.

Me: Fair enough on that I think she could have spent more time giving us world building we got snippets but not enough to really grasp what was going on, like when they went out to help in the camp, that was great, I wanted more of that

Neda: Agreed. More world building probably would have fixed my second problem: Noam’s mission never seemed urgent. I mean, he had a good reason to want to take the government down, but really they didn’t seem that awful? I don’t know. I wasn’t sure whose side to be on because Noam was questionable at best, and the government was just there.

Me: Hmm I guess I found what the govt was doing to be repulsive enough, and I was conflicted on how to feel about Noam being willing to kill someone for it though Should have done more with showing what the govt is doing. Otherwise, it’s like an invisible enemy lol

Neda: I am pretty sure Noam was influenced to kill that guy.

I agree Lee should have done more with the government. Like those between chapter, scenes should have had more to do with the world before the current world.

How did they get there?
How many died?
How long did the whole process take?

Who was patient zero?
Me: I hope she dives into all this more in book 2, and I think he was 2 but it’s like partly genius and partly infuriating that you’re not 100% sure, and I don’t think Noam is sure either And I really want to know more about the world before like you were saying.

Neda: More world building would have made the book probably 4 stars. And she had a genuine way to cram all that information in without taking up chapter space. So much disappointment…..I never felt 100% sure about anything or anyone. It’s so frustrating. I can see the appeal of grey areas because nothing is ever black and white. But this is a fictional story, especially teen fiction, I should know who’s good and who’s evil.

Me: Ah okay, I see where you’re coming from. I’m a huge believer in morally grey YA books, because the worlds are fiction but people are greyer in real life than in books, sometimes it’s nice having clear boundaries but I think it’s important to show that it’s not always easy to tell, because some teens can be susceptible of trusting people who are friendly, and if they can realize that those are not always the good ones, to keep up their guard, I think that’s useful.

Neda: Also, Noam bonded with the leader dude (more forgetting names) over their shared Jewish heritage. What is this, Batman v. Superman? That’s lazy writing. But more to your point: People who do bad things can have good intentions (See Thanos in the MCU as a prime example), and people who do good things can have bad intentions (see most characters in GoT, especially dragon lady). That’s a grey area that makes you think. If Lee had gone all the way with the character building, then, I think, she would have created something fun. But it’s just confusing.

Me: Hmm I guess I am seeing it as the first step, so I may feel more like you after book 2 if things aren’t looked into more!

Neda: Probably. I’ll read the second one because Dara, but I don’t have high expectations.

Me: fair enough man, fair enough

Neda: I think that’s everything I have to complain about.

So, we both still have not changed how much we enjoyed or didn’t enjoy the book but we did both realize the other had good points. I would say overall this was a very successful first Comparing Notes, the next one will be announced later on, but I’m really excited about it. Sometimes it’ll be a side by side comparison of reviews, sometimes we’ll be lamenting together on points we both didn’t like (or the opposite, cheering for what we did) and other times it’ll just be a chill discussion like this!

Supporting Authors & Supporting ‘Us’

This post I guess is more of just a discussion post, but I’d like to add that on any of my posts whether I say so or not, I want you to drop your opinions like they’re hot. Because I trust you all can be civil and I trust I can be civil so even if we disagree…it’s all gonna work out in the end…it’s when people endorse hurtful shit and say unnecessarily mean things that cause things to go out of hand.

And I’m not here to really say anything controversial today.

What I am here to say today is that the main reason I wanted to book blog is not just a love of books but it’s wanting to share that love, to share books that whether old or new are just amazing, and I think, deserve to be read by anyone and everyone who would be interested.

Most of us support authors in one way or another, whether we blog reviews of their works, tweet about their books, do preorders, giveaways, Instagram pics, Facebook posts, or just buy the book and leave a review on GoodReads/Amazon, or check it out from the library. When we do these things we are supporting these writers and that’s amazing.

It’s time-consuming.

It’s really time-consuming.

And it’s done out of love.

Sometimes we encounter books we don’t like, that’s life, and we are entitled our opinions, sometimes we don’t like them and it’s simply because it’s not to our own tastes, other times we don’t like them because they may actually be problematic in their content.

But that doesn’t mean we get to be silenced. And that doesn’t mean that because we have made ourselves approachable that we’re at everyone’s beck and call.

[And please remember this goes both ways, I love authors, I tag them in POSITIVE Reviews and in bookish content that includes them but I don’t expect them to respond, because they’re busy people with lives, I also don’t expect free books because I review things, and most of us do not have that expectation.]

As many others have stated, this is something we do on our own, and we also don’t do it for people to dig around the net for information on us..or you know…analyze our reviews. *stares* You know who you are.

It’s also not something to joke about.

In this day and age, we are constantly engaged with one another and there is constantly a trail of what we’ve done, it’s the internet, nothing ever truly disappears. You would think this would make people more conscientious about what they say but it seems the opposite has happened.

It’s now okay to email and insult someone who didn’t like your book, it’s okay to call them out because you think they’re the only ones who didn’t like your book. It’s alright to email saying ‘hey you, I didn’t bother to read your name or review policy but you should read my book even though it is not even listed as a genre you’ll consider reading.’ And somehow no one is supposed to call anyone out on this.

Do you know what? I’m not always offended when someone doesn’t address me by my name/blog name when they email, I don’t have an extensive review policy and so I’m very easy going, but I know others have very well laid out and in-depth review policies and for some reason no one bothers looking at them when they submit requests.

We join street teams, we share all the tweets about our fave books and authors and we are judged by numbers and engagement, we put in enough hours that if one added it all up, it wouldn’t be worth the occasional free book, and yet we have to deal with authors who get in our faces, respond to our unfavourable reviews and try to correct our opinions or talk about us like we’re not real people.

[Once more, this definitely goes both ways, such as people who tag writers in negative reviews, that’s a no-no, it’s not nice, and we wouldn’t like it if it happened to us.]

Maybe it’s easy to forget that someone is actually typing away at the keyboard behind Twitter, or on our blogs. But we are real people, we don’t want to be harassed or stalked online.

I will always support authors and writers, I will never stop, but I see others who get flack in our bookish community, and it’s hard to not get a bit ticked off.

So I’m here to say, I will always support authors.

But I will never support harassing/calling out/cyberstalking a book reviewer for simply stating not to like the book.

It would be very boring if we all liked and hated the same books, seriously, so boring. So, let’s be supportive of authors but authors…

Please, please be supportive of us. Stand up for us when someone else does this, remind them that the work we do is unpaid and can be very beneficial to authors.

Let’s all get along, let’s stand up together against prejudices, racism/sexism, and let’s not put each other down for having varied tastes.

Shoot me your thoughts, what have been your experiences? It doesn’t matter, author, book reviewer, bookstagrammer, drop your comments below