Sunday, July 22, 2012

The Sunday Salon: What I Didn't Sign Up For

This Sunday Salon is going to be a bit of a rant. It has been a long week and my brain is fried, thanks to a diet of Disney and Nick shows featuring annoyingly untalented tweenage divas which Boo has been watching nonstop since he has been home sick from camp for two days. (Thankfully, he seems to have made a complete recovery. My brain cells, alas, have not.) 

But running a sick ward is all part and parcel of this parenting gig, and I can deal with that. It comes with the territory and it's what I signed myself up for more than a decade ago, right?

Right. Even when you're woken up at 4:20 a.m. with a child getting sick all over your bedroom. 

So what does any of this have to do with my reading week? 

Well, there was this particular book that I simply couldn't finish this week. It happens to be a book that was out in the winter of 2011 and which was hyped to the heavens by many a blogger, who loved it. It's a little out of my preferred genres of choice, but I thought I'd give it a try nonetheless.

I lasted until chapter 3 before giving up. The book just wasn't holding my interest.

I started writing a Sunday Salon post about it. And then I started thinking about the latest brew-haha in the book blogging world, where we have book bloggers being harassed and their personal  information being dug up and posted online just because they had the nerve to give their opinions ON A FREAKING BOOK. 

Now, I don't know about you, but I have more than enough problems without the possibility of adding that kind of nonsense to the list.

From my understanding of the situation, the bloggers are being targeted because of the style and the manner in which they are reviewing the book/s. I don't think I fall into that category, as I try to be respectful even if I am giving a negative review. But if we're at a point where people are being threatened because of how they're reviewing a book, then I think we're on a slippery slope that could very well lead to the possibility of people being targeted because they merely didn't like a beloved book. 

You know what I'm saying? As we too sadly saw on Friday with the tragedy in Colorado, people are unstable in this world and capable of the most atrocious, unfathomable things. There's no telling what some people will do. 

Maybe I'm being dramatic. Maybe I'm not understanding this whole thing correctly. But no book nor my opinions on it is worth the safety of my family. So for the time being (and maybe indefinitely) you're not going to hear me say too much (if anything at all, really) about books I don't like. 

I'll still tell you about the books I love, like America's Women: 400 Years of Dolls, Drudges, Helpmates, and Heroines by Gail Collins that I stayed up way too late last night to finally finish. I'll even tell you about the books I LIKE but not quite love. But at least for the time being, until this craziness in the blogging world calms down (if it does), you won't be hearing much about the books I didn't finish or couldn't stand. (Chances are, they're the same book.) Somehow, I think the world will live without why I couldn't finish a book everyone else seems to love but me. If you really want to know the book, hit me up on Facebook or whatever. 

Some may say this isn't the right stance, that we shouldn't be silenced, that this is caving, that our opinions and reviews are a matter of free speech, that there is a need for a true and genuine dialogue about books. All true, yes. But when I decided almost four years ago to include my thoughts about books in my blog, I didn't envision a situation where people would be fearful for their families' safety because of what they wrote about what they were READING.

There are things we willingly sign up for and things we don't. And I didn't sign up for that crap.

copyright 2012, Melissa, The Betty and Boo Chronicles If you are reading this on a blog or website other than The Betty and Boo Chronicles or via a feedreader, this content has been stolen and used without permission.


Peppermint Ph.D. said...

I agree...I've been thinking a lot about this as well. Especially with opening up my blog to some possibly unwanted traffic through giveaway hops. I've committed to one more but I think I'm going to call it quits after that. I don't write many negative reviews anyway, but I have found myself pausing a little more often before finishing a sentence in a review. I hate that. I'd rather not write it than write it in a dishonest voice. I didn't sign up for that either. :(

The1stdaughter said...

I don't think you're caving at all. I recently did a survey on my site and someone commented that I don't do enough negative reviews (I do some, just not many). Well in a way, after this week, I feel okay with my decision to keep them to a minimum. It's terrifying what some people will do if they take things the wrong way.

Generally speaking I've not come across many books I flat out dislike, but I'd like to think that's because I've gotten better at picking books. But how sad that if we do happen upon a book (like you did) that simply doesn't grab us or possibly even rubs us the wrong way, that now we have to worry about talking about our honest feelings.

It's given me pause and I worry especially because, like you, I have a family to also consider. I've been contemplating whether the involvement of my kiddos on my blog is safe, even with me giving them nicknames. Because, as we've seen this week, if someone wants the info they'll find it. It's so scary!

I'm with you, I definitely didn't sign up for this. :o(

JoAnn said...

I've been so out of it this summer that I totally missed this latest incident. What I've managed to piece together scares and disappoints me.