I used to be the blogger called YAL Book Briefs, but I grew bored of the handle and changed my name to Howdy YAL. I also respond to MJ. I like to read, write, eat truffles, and watch bad Lifetime movies.
This is going to be more of a personal rant than anything else.
But I’m done.
Completely done with people telling me the following:
1) Your opinion is wrong.
2) Your review is too long and detailed orianted.
3) You’re just being mean to get attention.
4) But you didn’t read the book.
My face whenever I read these comments is just dumbfounded.
Remember the first amendment?
Freedom of expression.
Trust me, there are some very short overly eager reviews that I don’t like, but I don’t comment on them. I don’t tell them that their fangirling annoys me especially when they skew with ratings (i.e. five star a book before it’s even released).
However, I’m “evil” for writing my opinion.
Well, it didn’t have to be so verbose and/or graphic, MJ. Or you didn’t have to be so mean about it?
Do I yell at you for your five million gifs of excitement?
The rampant trolling though and accusations get annoying after awhile. Sure, it’s like swatting gnats away, but some of the things that are said just hurt.
I know I’m not the only one that feels this one. Megan from Bibliodaze wrote about her experiences with this phenomenon. The thing is, I don’t consider myself a hater by any means.
Yes, I write a lot of books that I rate low, but I’m honest about it. I can’t help that I have horrible luck with books and that I’m ultra picky. I blog as a way to express my opinion. If I wanted to make everyone on the internet happy then, well, I wouldn’t be blogging.
It’s odd that book blogging has become so volatile. The thing is, I’ve written negative reviews on Trip Advisor and Yelp before for restaurants and hotels I’ve been to and never have gotten the reaction I’ve got for not liking a book. In the industry I work in, criticism is a crucial and vital part of the work I do. Even stranger, as a creative writing major I was encouraged to criticize and to be creative with my criticism.
But with blogging…I’ve been told
A) I’m a bitch.
B) I’m an attention whore.
C) I’m ignorant.
Interesting enough, two of these insults have misogynic roots. That gets me on another rant, but we won’t go there today.
Oh, I’m probably over analyzing about that (because, you know, I tend to that).
I guess I have the right to defend myself, though I doubt I’ll change anyone’s minds.
A) I’m a bitch:
If you think I’m mean in my reviews. I’m not. I’m really not. I’m a lot more evil in real life-I am a lawyer and a confirmed Slytherin after all. I think one of the problems that some people find with my reviews is that I tend to do deep analysis, but it’s just the way my mind works. Plus, I’m a sarcastic person by my very roots. Changing my style to fit a norm is not going to happen. Plus, it’s my voice when I write. Even in my five star reviews I’m somewhat sarcastic to a degree.
I’ll admit it though, if there’s something begging to be mocked I’ll laugh at it (cough, Cassandra Clare’s fifty million shadow hunter books, cough).
And I really do try try to find something positive to say. I really do. When I first started this blog, I had my reviews in a form where I made sure to list the books best feature. While the form that I originally used has disappeared for creativity purposes (because come on, writing reviews in the same format gets boring after awhile) I still try to list something positive in the most dullest of dull books. But to be honest, sometimes I think it’s meaner to say, well, the cover was pretty but the book sucked.
Plus, my momma always told me there was no bigger bitch than a fake. So, since I’m honest I guess that would mean I’m not a bitch.
And here I thought I was positively evil.
B) I’m an Attention Whore:
Um, have you seen the followers for this blog? Not that many in comparison to the rest of the blogosphere. And I really don’t care how many followers I have. I’m not in it for that. Or the ARCs. The main reason I blog is its therapeutic for me. My cardiologist told me I needed some form of relaxation and this is it.
If this blog entertains you and you like to comment on it or the other places I post reviews and are a nice person more power to you. I love making bookish friends-especially since my IRL friends think Fifty Shades of Grey is highbrow literature-but if you’re going to be an ass. Well…I probably won’t like you very much.
Also, for an attention whore don’t you find it funny how I don’t post numerous pictures of myself or use my real name?
Yeah, no attention of getting famous. In fact, to be honest, it kind of weirds me out when an author will retweet a positive review I’ve wrote.
C) I’m Ignorant
This will turn into a rant about how I didn’t understand the book and/or I’m being mean and horrible and I should consider the authors feelings/career.
A bad review isn’t going to kill a book, guys.
You know what’s going to kill it? Bad sales.
And with the amount of followers I have, I doubt I’m going to put a dent there. Oh, I might get a couple of people turned off. But you know what they say, curiosity kills the cat.
Plus, don’t you think it’s good that someone is actually talking about your favorite author? Differing opinions make for an interesting conversation. It brings something new to the table. And it makes for an entire major.
The thing to me is by trying to dictate this dogma of niceness vanilla-ness you’re eliminating a very valid part of the conversation. Trying to act like a product is good because the author is a really nice person or you don’t want to ruin their career is sort of silly.
It’s their job.
Honest feedback is critical for them to improve.
Let’s just put it this way: your doctor diagnoses you wrong and you almost lose your foot. Would you not report him/sue him for malpractice because he’s a nice person?
I get it, a bad book isn’t the same thing as a foot almost falling off. But it still work product that the author produces. It’s not a paper baby. And quite frankly, a mature author knows that not everyone is going to like their book.
I personally don’t view myself as a hater (like many people have called me). I view myself as a critical review. Yes, I point out lots of errors, even what many people think are minute errors, because they annoy me. And I’m expressing my opinion.
Something that seemed perfectly acceptable way back in the 1800s when Charlotte Bronte was ranting about Jane Austen but now…
I think the point I’m trying to make is that not everyone is going to like the way someone reviews, but they should at least have tolerance and not accuse the person writing the review of things and calling them names. It makes you look silly. People have their own motivations for reading and reviewing and you really can’t judge them.
If you don’t like what they say, don’t comment and write your own review. It’s that simple.
You’re not going to change how I review. If you think my reviews are too long, you’ll probably always think they’re too wrong. Think I’m a Negative Nancy-well, if you really read my reviews you’d know I have given my fair share of three, four, and five star reviews-but I’m still going to have one and two star reviews. Think I’m overly sarcastic and mean-well, that’s not going to change either.
The thing is, you should learn to tolerate. And just agree to disagree.
For now on, anytime I deal with a troll I’ll be linking this post. I’m done giving a detailed explanation for why I review the way I do, and I really don’t want to talk about it anymore. The sad fact of the matter, is I shouldn’t have to talk about it.