Things I Want to See in the Book Community

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.)

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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!*

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just do this but with reviews (don’t do this in school tho)

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!

*I literally just copied May‘s trigger warnings for my Reign the Earth review. #original

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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)
  • religion

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.

Image result for counting gif
“how many countries in Asia are there?”

(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.)

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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.

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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!

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tell me your thoughts 2

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?

 

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16 thoughts on “Things I Want to See in the Book Community

  1. I love this! I’ve been in the blogging community for years but recently shifted my blog to more book/writing related posts. I love these points, and i totally agree!! Something I’d like to see is more acceptance of opinions, especially when it comes to diversity/rep. Everyone has a different experience of course, but I personally feel like I don’t have a voice when it comes to diversity/rep bc I’m white and have unique/different thoughts, and I feel like if I say anything i’ll be given a “racist” stamp, even if it’s something positive. But maybe that’s just me lol. I haven’t done a good job of specific trigger warnings on my reviews, but I will definitely revise and plan to do better in the future. 🙂

    Thanks for this awesome post! 😀

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  2. This is a great post. I need to start including a lot of the things you listed — it should be a no-brainer, because things like representation mean a lot to me, but I don’t personally list them in reviews for some reason?? I will start. Thank you for the push.

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  3. YES YES YES. I love everything about this post so much ❤
    I have been trying to list trigger warnings for a little while now in my reviews, though I am always nervous of forgetting something important, I constantly check out others' reviews to see if they might have mentioned something else I might have missed out. I don't list representation in my reviews though, I am so happy you pointed that out, it definitely is important and I should make more of an effort to include that in my reviews as well.
    AND YES YES YES to the international bookworm things. I am sick of people saying "just go to the library" WHEN I DON'T HAVE a library to go to??? That annoys me so, so much that people keep on saying this this way. It's not that easy for everyone in the world :/
    Fantastic post! ❤

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  4. Lovely post! ❤
    I agree with everything you just listed and the post was really helpful because there're always new things to learn and do better about reviews, diverse books, triggers and the way we interact in this community.
    I loved your suggestions and how you also mentioned international bloggers, I love whenever I see an US blogger saying something on the matter. You're awesome! ❤

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  5. OMG yes! These are all so important!
    And the first two are definitely things I need to work on… I always forget what happened in books by the time I review them (oops), and so unless it was a really big part of the book, I’ve probably forgotten it happened… And it just never occurred to me to check other reviews… Which now that you’ve pointed it out, is REALLY OBVIOUS.
    So, um, thanks for pointing that out. Because it’s something I REALLY should be doing.

    And I cracked up at your water story! And um, I can relate… I poured water on myself multiple times today, trying to drink from an over-full water bottle. I love how I can literally drink water just fine while I’m walking, or while I’m in a moving vehicle, but then when I’m just sitting still I dump it all over myself. It’s unimpressive. (I too do it multiple times a week.)

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  6. These are all very wonderful and valid points. For me personally I definitely would love to see more acceptance of international bloggers, since I am not from the US myself. Additionally more bloggers who read non-YA books feel quite rare in my opinion! Or maybe I just haven’t found them yet.

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  7. Yes to everything you just said! I’ve been trying to be more mindful when it comes to trigger/content warnings so I try to write them down as I read, but sometimes some triggering things slip through the cracks because they don’t affect me in the same way. Gotta work harder, I suppose.

    ALSO YES THE LIBRARY THING IS THE MOST FRUSTRATING THING. I’m exaggerating but I’ve read the same argument so many times that I finally put my foot down and compiled a list of actual legal alternatives to book piracy: https://thatbookshelfbitch.wordpress.com/2018/07/26/read-legally-alternatives-book-piracy/

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  8. You are spot-on with this list. Listing content warnings or trigger warnings is so important! Same goes for representation. I also hate the focus on owning lots of books– it’s just not something I personally am interested in/have room for/have money for at the moment. And that’s okay! Just like it’s okay to buy a lot of books. But, like you said, owning books should not be a requirement for being in the online book community. The disregard of international bookworms is definitely frustrating, especially when it seems like we’re having the same (fruitless) discourse re: book piracy every. single. time. Wonderful post!

    Like

  9. I adore the book community too !! AND agree that there are things that need improvement. 🙊 Like I definitely think there shouldn’t be shame for people who can’t buy a lot of books…or read a lot! I’ve had people say they don’t feel like bookworms because they don’t have time to read tons of books, and like, no?!? You are a bookworm if you LOVE BOOKS. The end! Doesn’t matter if we read 10 or 100 books a year.

    And while I’m thoroughly against piracy and hate it and how it destroys authors’ careers (it’s even already affecting mine) and a lot of pirates don’t seem to care…I am definitely SO sad that a lot of people don’t have access to books. 😔Although I get frustrated when people get mad at bloggers for not making giveaways INT. I mean, we’re all doing this out of our own pockets, and being poor/low on funds to do INT giveaways shouldn’t be something to be shamed about. 😭

    And clarifying what rep is in a book is so so important!! It’s got me reading books I’ve been searching for and might not have picked up before!😍

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