Look, I love the book community.
There are so many things to love about it from the amazing people within to all of the books (!!!) but also… we can always improve.
Does this mean the book community is bad? No! But there are still negative features of the book community that I honestly wish weren’t there, and there are so many ways for us to act that will easily benefit others.
smol list of things that are great about the bookish community because I still want to keep this post positive
- like I said before, the people within!! There are so many people to scream about books with and also to tell them that you accidentally poured water all over yourself because you were inspecting the bottom* of your water bottle and the cap wasn’t on
- there are so many unique voices that we can all learn from. also this probably falls under “the people within” doesn’t it.
- all of the hilarious reviews that provide insight into the books that i want (or don’t want) to read. we love rant reviews!
*I have a very good reason to inspect the bottom of my water bottle tho! (It was filled with chia seeds and they’re interesting and nice to look at ok. But mainly they kind of look like tiny beetles which is gross and fascinating at the same time.)
list trigger warnings
Trigger warnings are SO. IMPORTANT.
It’s really frustrating to me that people have joked about being triggered and some are still doing that when people?? actually get triggered by certain topics? It’s a serious thing that happens to people!
Anyways, it would be amazing if everyone started listing trigger warnings more often (for all of the books that they read).
Even if you have no idea what to list for your trigger/content warnings, look on other people’s reviews and see what they have listed and include that in your own review!*
Some common triggers that you should look out for are death, sexual assault, and violence. (Of course, there’s a lot more.) It’s also really helpful if you add details such as blood/no blood or if it’s just a mention vs. a detailed scene. (This is really important to some people.)
Trigger warnings can help people either stay away from the book/content or at least be prepared for what they’re about to see!
list representation of characters
One of the first things that I mention in my reviews is usually the marginalizations of the characters (if there are any).
Things to look out for:
- lgbt+ characters
- characters of color
- disabled characters
- characters with mental illness (although it can be hard to interpret sometimes)
This is actually really important because on many occasions, people will be looking for certain representation and they might just find it because of your review.
For example, I’m always looking for Asian representation in young adult literature!! Because being represented is amazing!!
Also, definitely make sure to clarify specifics. If you only know certain things about a character that you can’t make assumptions off of, then don’t assume.
For example, an f/f relationship is not automatically a lesbian relationship (one or more might be mga!!) but a good descriptor word to use is sapphic, which describes attraction towards girls.
Clarify the race of the main character, if you can. Is the character Asian? Then what country? There are a Lot of people in Asia.
(However, if it’s a fantasy novel and there’s no specific ethnicity that you can really tell other than the color of their skin or that they’re from a specific continent, then see if the author can clarify/has already clarified! If the author hasn’t clarified, and you don’t want to ask the author, then it’s okay to just mention that you don’t know the specifics in your review.)
stop acting as if bookworms who don’t “buy a lot of books” aren’t bookworms
I feel like a huge part of the community is jokes like “wow I buy too many books” or “you’re not a bookworm if you have a million books in your room!” which can really exclude people who don’t buy “all the books.”
Personally, I’m privileged in the fact that I live in America and I do have bookstores that stock many young adult releases, but I don’t buy a lot of books. A lot of them come from publishers (or the booksfortrade hashtag).
You’re entitled to spend your own money however you want to. But normalizing buying loads of books as a trait of a bookworm is not good, because not many people can/will buy lots of books.
consider international bookworms
Considering international bookworms really isn’t that hard. Not everyone lives in the USA, where there are lots of libraries.
This has come up in recent Twitter piracy discussions, where so many people are just offering up “go to libraries!!!” as a solution.
But *surprise* not all countries have libraries. Yes, libraries are amazing and I’m so grateful to have them but instead of phrasing your sentence, “Why can’t they just go to libraries?”, phrase your sentence in a way that includes intl readers.
Silvia actually made a great post about this topic!
What are some things that you want to see in the book community? Have you ever accidentally poured water over yourself? (I do this at least 3x per week) What are some of your fav things about this community?