Authors Defending Themselves and Other Bad Ideas

Yeah, I could make a long ass post on why this shit is unacceptable. I honestly don’t know why this defending harmful tropes/stereotypes has become a thing. BUT, I’ll just make a list for ya’ll.

  • If reviewers are saying that something is racist, homophobic, ablest, cissexist or anything else that’s harmful to a marginalized group, stop and think. It’s highly that people who are feeling this way are part of those groups. Authors defending themselves saying those groups are wrong is ridiculous (your privilege is most likely showing).
  • I know authors put in a lot of work into their books. I get it’s stressful, time consuming and whatever. However, being author shouldn’t be easy. Authors need to put their pride in the trash and listen to their reviewers (their marginalized reviewers at that).
  • Research is good and all but SENSITIVITY READERS IS A MUST for any book that has marginalized characters.
  •  Oh god authors, please stop commenting on Goodreads reviews, especially when you are defending yourself. You are making yourself look more like a fool than you already are lmao.
  • If you private message a reviewer, STILL DEFENDING YOURSELF, there’s a thing called screenshots and you will get exposed. #Stopthreateningreviewerswithblackmagic
  • Author’s friends: please stop defending you’re friend’s problematic work. Lookin at you Tamora Pierce.
  • Authors, tell your fans to stop attacking reviewers who call out you out. This is the worst thing ever and I’m tired of seeing on my twitter timeline of people I follow getting constantly attacked. IF YOU AS AN AUTHOR SUPPORT THIS BULLYING YOU NEED TO SIT DOWN WITH A CUP OF BITTER TEA AND REEVALUATE YOUR LIFE.
  • FANS: Yes, it’s tragic to see your favorite author produce a harmful book. I’ve been burned too (Personal example: Richelle Mead’s Soundless portrays disabilities in a very negative light). I love Richelle Mead growing up, she was like my Stephanie Meyer. However, I can’t defend her for a book that’s harmful to a marginalized group, I’m sorry. It’s hard to admit when your favorite author does something wrong but you know what, you just got to get over it. You just had to be like, “well fuck, Soundless was pretty messed up, I love Richelle Mead but I don’t recommend this book to anybody because of the ablest undertones.” You are not even betraying your author rather you are helping them realize their mistakes.
  • FANS: If you rate a book 5 stars and people start to speak out against the book on how it portrays harmful themes, STOP AND THINK. I’m not saying you should lower your rating. Star rating don’t really mean much tbh. However, putting a disclaimer in your reviewer about the situation doesn’t hurt either.

Well that’s it. I’m done. Have a great rest of your day!

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Favorite Books?|Criteria

ENTER MY CURRENT GIVEAWAY {HERE}

How does a book make it to my favorites list. What criteria does it need to have in order to have that “pristine” title? Well here are my top 5 elements a book needs in order for it to be my “favorite book of all time.”

Criteria #1: Rereadability  (try to say that 5 times) 

If I don’t feel compelled to reread a book, nope sorry you failed.

Criteria #2: Memorable Characters/Plot

“Oh, crap what’s that character’s name again?” Yeah BYE.

Criteria #3:  Become somewhat defensive

“Look, I just don’t think you fully understood the concept of The Virgin Suicides and maybe you should reread it?!?!”

Criteria #4: Makes me want to own a copy of the book

I’ve donated a big pile of trash (books) so I only own books that I really really REALLY love or books I know I’ll love. I read Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda on ebook and after I was done, I wanted to own and read the book again.

Criteria #5: Can confidently recommend the book

Hey have you read Dark Places by Gillian Flynn? What’s wrong with you? Don’t you like good books?

What’s your criteria?

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Top 4 Black Tropes I’m Tired of Seeing

Hey all,

When reading other perspectives, it’s sometimes difficult to spot harmful stereotypes. Hell, I’m not perfect, I’ve too fallen victim of celebrating books, TV, etc that features annoying racist tropes.

I think it’s important for people to know the difference between culture and stereotypes and so here’s the top 4 black tropes I’m tired of seeing in books. 

**And I would like to note that this is in my personal experience as a black woman.**

 

Token Black Friend

Image result for token black friend

Have you read a book that features a white main character who has that sassy/comic relief black friend? Or are they the black friend that rises above all the negative stereotypes and becomes the Oreo of the group (white on the inside black on the outside)? Folks, that’s your token black friend. I’ve been one, I’ve seen them on TV,  I read them in books. It’s annoying and I’m begging for this trope to finally end.

The White Savior

Image result for examples of the white savior blind side

Probably my favorite. Are you reading in a white perspective that helps a black person rise up against adversity  No black (POC in general) don’t want White people’s help. It’s not beautiful, it’s not inspiring. It implies that Black people are incapable of succeeding without a white savior. Also, there can be POC heroes too. Shocker!

The Strong Black Woman 

Image result for strong black woman trope

Oh, this is my most hated one for a number of reasons. I know that the trope name should be a compliment towards black woman but it’s actually the opposite. People (non-black people) who believe that black woman are supposed to be this “strong independent black woman who needs no man” *snaps fingers in z formation* actually makes it seem that black woman doesn’t go through depression, anxiety, etc. It makes it seem like black woman are supposed to be strong 27/7 and that if we show a hint of weakness, we are no longer “black.” Throughout my whole life, I felt like I had to hide my mental illness due to society’s image of the strong black woman (whoops getting a little ahead of myself). I’m a big advocate on POC and mental health so this trope is my biggest pet peeve.

Using Coffee to describe Black Skin

Image result for black people and coffee

Get your venti iced skinny mocha macchiato, sugar-free syrup, extra shot, light ice, no whip ass out of here please.

What other culture stereotypes are you tired of seeing ? List them down below!

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White authors having black protagonists?|A black reader perspective|BHM 2017

Happy start to Black History Month!

Note: I would like to note that all content expressed in this post comes from a matter of personal experience living in the United States, I don’t mean to offend any cultures and if I do, feel free to call me out in the comments since it’s crucial for one to be mindful of everyone’s experiences. This isn’t a white-hate post and I respect all backgrounds. 

Ah yes, an opinion right from the source…

If you would ask me this question a couple years ago, I would have been like “hey who cares, it’s fiction anyways!”

Now, I’m not so sure if that statement can justify white authors writing about black protagonists (POC in general but I’m using black people as an example since I’m black). I still sort of believe that white authors can write about who they want, but I think they have to put in a lot more effort and research since it’s a different culture who has faced oppression and still is today. They would have to do it right, something I feel can be complicated.

I read a book years ago (I’m totally blanking on the name it was like freshman year of high school, you’re the real MVP if you know what book I’m talking about) that a white woman wrote. It features a black female protagonist and a white love interest. This romance made me extremely uncomfortable. It made me uncomfortable because not that they are an interracial couple but the fact how they got together. It was a love/hate relationship but instead of cute flirtatious teasing, the boy was pretty racist. He would make comments about her skin color and he didn’t defend her when his friends were making harsh remarks because she was black. Yet, love wins and they develop feelings for each other and all her problems are solved.

What.The.Hell.

I was like no no no! This seemed weird and wrong to me. I don’t get how someone can just ignore the fact that they are racist. The whole, “love can change someone” is bullshit to me. As a black woman, I don’t think I can personally easily forgive something like that. Honestly, now the book seemed like the classic “The white saves the black” / “The blind side” situations. When the couple get together, no one talked shit about her or her skin color.

Flash-forward to now. More book reviewers are now dedicating their reading to #ownvoices. I wonder if a black author would have wrote that book. Would she/he would have used racism as “love” devise. Or would he/she have taken a different approach at a very sensitive topic and would have been more credible since he/she would have most likely faced racism in their lives?

I was reading what from a white author’s point of view, who thought that this is a healthy interracial relationship looks like (well in my opinion and who is coming from a family full of interracial marriages, this isn’t healthy).

This has made me hesitant to read from white authors who have POC protagonists (black specifically). It has put me off from reading The Help and Robin Talley’s Lies We Tell Ourselves –which sounds similar to the book I read years ago.

I  know there’s arguments on how a authors should “look past the race” and be “color blind” but I feel that’s silly. It’s denying the oppression POC has faced, denying their experiences and assimilating to popular culture. I really hate the colorblind excuse.

I would also like to note that black authors who write books with black protagonist are always going to be accurate. I don’t believe that you can’t discredit them because it’s their experience, their culture. Yes, I might read in a black POV that is different from my experience, but that’s because black people face different experiences, but they are all valid. A white author writing about their experiences are therefore not completely valid since they never had a black experience. 

In reality, authors can write about whoever they want. However, when it comes to sensitive topics and comfort, I think reading from a black author that’s about black people is better for me personally. It’s more legitimate and the experience itself is more authentic. I love that white authors are adding more diverse characters to their stories, but I feel reading in an #ownvoices perspective is worthwhile.

What do you think? Can/should white authors write books with black protagonists? 

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A Ramble: Possessiveness vs Protectiveness in Fiction

Ramble: crazy unorganized  jumbled thoughts

Discussion: Organized thoughts

This is a ramble… you’ve been warned.

Well here’s something that most of us can agree on: We hate abusive males, we hate abusive females, we hate abusive people. More and more people are starting to neglect books and series that contains these types of characters.

However, what constitutes an abusive character. Physical abuse and rape are the obvious contenders. But mental abuse and possessiveness (which are also different types of abuse) is a little harder to detect, at least from my personal experience. And even in those two types of abuses, possessiveness seems to be the most popular and the hardest to detect. Why? Well, I think it has

Why? Well, I think it has to do with people, including myself, attempting to figure out the difference between possessiveness and protection.

Definition of Possessiveness: demanding someone’s total attention and love.

Definition of Protectiveness: having the quality or function of protecting.

These two definitions are clearly different yet when it comes to fiction, I have trouble telling difference.

Let’s play out some scenarios

A guy is keeping a girl from battle because he’s scared that she’s going to get hurt, he tells her “no no you must stay you will die, I can’t lose you” she continues to say “no no let me fight stop worrying about me” soon he locks her up in a room because he thinks that it will “protect.” 

Here’s another scenario

A girl and a guy are in a romantic relationship. However, an admirer approaches the girl and starts to flirt with her. The guy, although is jealous, knows something about the admirer…he’s a skilled manipulator who seeks to kill the girl’s father. But if the guy tells this to the girl, they would both be killed by the father of the admirer. The boy tells the girl, you can’t see him ever again he’s dangerous. The boy makes it his goal for the girl to never see the admirer again by always being with her. At a ball, the admirer asks the girl to dance and she has to say yes out of politeness. She dances with him and looking in his eyes, she starts to fall in love with him. They are about to kiss but then the boyfriend pushes the guy away and both the girl and guy starts to fight. The boy tells her the secrets that admirer processes but at the end she still loves him. The boy yells at her, asking why she portrayed him, at the end of the conversation he says “why did you betray me, you’re supposed to be mine.”

Note: I am not a writer or skilled storyteller and I don’t plan to be

Are both of theses scenarios show signs of protectiveness or possessiveness?

In scenario one, the boy tries to keep the girl from entering a bloodbath and so he locks her up. In this case, it’s the bloodbath vs. him.

In scenario two, the boy tries to keep the girl (who is also his girlfriend) from marrying a guy who would kill her father.

I created two scenarios that make this ramble even more complicated. In the first scenario one, the boy wants to keep the girl from dying…he’s protecting her. However, some might interpret this as possessiveness because he said “I can’t lose you” (like you can’t lose a toy) and even went great lengths to locking her up (isolating her from freedom and having the ability to pursue anything else which basically makes her a prisoner ) In scenario two, I think it’s possessiveness.

In scenario two, it’s even more confusing. Yes, the admirer was dangerous and the girl was about to cheat on the boy. The boy was only trying to protect the girl from danger. The boy loved the girl so he was heartbroken. However, one thing in the story made it seemed to lean towards the possessive side. “You’re supposed to be mine” This statement means that the girl is his and nobody else. He demands her love and attention to only her.  BUT THEN I thought “Couples always tell each other that I’m yours and you’re mine. Hell, there’s even valentines candy that says “Be Mine” WHY IS THIS SO COMPLICATED?

I remember reading Consequences by Aleatha Romig. I thought it was obvious that the male in that book showed possessiveness (even rape never happened before). The girl in the book had to give permission to do anything, and she could never leave the property.

But I think that’s too much of an obvious example

Twilight. Let’s talk about Twilight. Although well-loved or at least was well-loved, many people believed that Edward was extremely possessive towards Bella.  Edward stalked her and was easily jealous of Jacob for just breathing the same air as Bella. He had his sister stalk her when he couldn’t and forbade Bella from even seeing Jacob (EXTREMELY POSSESSIVE).

Although it’s obvious now, why wasn’t it as obvious in the beginning? Was it because most of us were 4th grade-highschoolers and so we thought that it was cute when guys watched us sleeping? Was it our hormones. Lack of education?

We loved their relationship, we wanted more of it.

During my time in middle school, I’ve read books like twilight. I loved them and I kept on devouring them. I was in love with these books. Thinking about it, I was in love with possessiveness.

Now, in college, I’ve become the liberal, feminist animal lover of my family. Every book I read, if I see signs of possessiveness, I write in my book and make a note about it. I did that in the beginning of 2016. Almost every book I read (not including philosophy books I read for class) had a mark.

I’m tired and perhaps I’m only overthinking myself. Maybe it all has to do with people’s interpretation, interests and/or desires. I did not come to a conclusion about this topic and perhaps I will never and that is why this is a ramble.

If you made it to the end of this ramble, thank you so much you deserve great things in this world.

What are your thoughts on the issue? Is it easy for you to tell? What are some fictional examples that you can think of that it’s difficult to decide if a character is possessive or just trying to protect another character?

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Book to screen adaptations: Why I don’t compare the two

Every time there’s a new trailer for the latest book to screen adaptation, people will take the time to nip pick every little detail, criticizing how it’s nothing like the book.

I find that a bit absurd.

I separate the two. Someone on the internet once said that if the movie is not exactly like the book, then it should have never been a movie in the first place.

The characters 

You are entitled to your opinion, and I’m not trying to change your ways when reviewing movies. However, I just don’t get why people focus on the character physical attributes, and complain how they look nothing like the book character.

I just don’t care. I mean, sure people may have a different cast in mind but I just can’t get really upset by it.

Sometimes, I don’t even notice when a characters has a different hair color, eyes, or even skin tone.

The plot

When reading a book, we all have different perspectives on what the book is and what it’s trying to convey. When you read a book and loved the themes, the screenwriter may have a different these themes.

I don’t care much if the movie is completely different than the book. I almost prefer it. Watching a movie being exactly like the book could be boring because you’ll know what happens.

I’m facing this problem in a lot of the adaptations. Shadowhunters is a prime example. I know where he plot goes, I know what characters end up together, I know all the surprises and I know how the characters develop. That’s why I haven’t been watching the show on Tuesday nights. I wait because frankly, I’m not too excited to watch it.

In the Vampire Academy movie, it was similar to the books, except for the very last scene that caught me off guard. I was excited to see where the movies would go but, of course, it didn’t make a lot of money so no sequels.

The length of the movie is also a factor. Some may say that they could sit through a 5 hour movie if the book was perfectly adapted.

I’m not one of these people

When the change a plot (Sometimes this is a good thing)

I actually don’t mind this. A good example would be the Duff. I hated everything about the book. The characters were either dull or arrogant (the guy in the series was the worst) and the message was horrible.

Book: Seventeen-year-old Bianca Piper is cynical and loyal, and she doesn’t think she’s the prettiest of her friends by a long shot. She’s also way too smart to fall for the charms of man-slut and slimy school hottie Wesley Rush. In fact, Bianca hates him. And when he nicknames her “the Duff,” she throws her Coke in his face. But things aren’t so great at home right now, and Bianca is desperate for a distraction. She ends up kissing Wesley. Worse, she likes it. Eager for escape, Bianca throws herself into a closeted enemies-with-benefits relationship with him. Until it all goes horribly awry. It turns out Wesley isn’t such a bad listener, and his life is pretty screwed up, too. Suddenly Bianca realizes with absolute horror that she’s falling for the guy she thought she hated more than anyone. (Goodreads)

Movie:Frumpy high-school senior Bianca (Mae Whitman) has a rude awakening when she learns that her classmates secretly know her as the DUFF — designated ugly fat friend — to her prettier and more popular pals. Desperate to reinvent herself, Bianca enlists the aid of Wesley (Robbie Amell), a charming jock. In order to save her senior year from becoming a complete disaster, Bianca must find the confidence to overthrow a judgmental student (Bella Thorne) and revolutionize the school’s social order. (IMDb)

Although similar and ridiculously cliched, the movie was more empowering in my opinion. Although Wes was definitely present in both mediums, in the movie he didn’t overshadow the overall message. The movie turned out to be a cute (a bit platitude) and thought provoking.


 

I just compared the book and movie and I plan to never do that again.

Why I don’t compare:

1. I’m never disappointed because my expectations are low

2. I just don’t care.

A harsher view

“They ruined the book completely!”

Did they really?

Maybe they film makers were just trying to display that your favorite book is actually complete do-do.

Just kidding 


 

Do you compare books-to-screen adaptations?

 

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What is being a “diverse reader?”

As I was on surfing through Goodreads, I came across a bookshelf that was labeled “Diverse books.”I actually began to wonder, what is considered to be a diverse book and is it different depending on the person?

Knowing a diverse book is somewhat obvious. LGBT, person of color, ethnicity, and disability. However, for the most part, that’s our extended knowledge of classifying diverse book. But that’s not necessary a bad thing because well, despite the recent trend of increasing published diverse books, there’s still never enough of these types of books.

But, is being a diverse reader based on the book’s actual self, or is it depending on the person?

I was talking to my friend about the topic and she made a good point on one thing. See, she’s African American and also a reader. She solely reads books containing African Americans and usually doesn’t take the time to branch out of those books. She was telling me if she read an author who was Caucasian, would that be considered her reading a diverse book?

It’s really weird but I can’t help but think about that. I mean, she’s reading a book out of her comfort zone, and she’s reading a book that the characters are not her race. But is that really being more diverse?

Also, she mention to me that if I read a book about African American characters, would I still be a diverse reader, even though it’s not much different to me and that I can easily identify with them.

The definition of “diverse”: Showing a great deal of variety; very different.

She’s reading a book that’s very different TO HER. But in the book world, we define diverse books containing people of color.

We also need to think of the author themselves. I will admit, a lot of the authors I read are Caucasian woman; my favorite of all time falls into the category. Now I’m not saying reading a Caucasian male book is becoming more diverse. I’m half African American and half Caucasian, and it bothers me how I NEVER read a book by an African American author. I heard of some black authors, I shelf a lot of their books on my Goodreads, but I never actually took out of my time into reading their books.

I’ve even read a good chunk amount Asian authors (Justina Chen, Jenny Han, Stephanie Tromly) and Native Americans (Sheman Alexie) but absolutely none of my race.

That really saddens me.

BUT is not reading books by African Americans making me MORE of a diverse reader because I’m black? Or does that only apply if the characters IN the book is black since I can easily identify with them, and they wouldn’t be quite as different. I mean the writing doesn’t necessary change based on the author’s race.

This what my friend was talking about. BUT I think might still be considered as a diverse reader if I read about African American characters.

The first reason is that, when I read a book and the character’s skin color isn’t revealed yet, I identify them being Caucasian. I wish I didn’t do this but it’s an instinct. I’ve unfortunately conform to picturing the typical book character, and my goal is to diminish that image. Although I am half African American, I’m still “identifying” with the Caucasian because that’s what I assume the main character to be.

The second reason is that African Americans are still a minority. There’s only  about 13 percent of African Americans in the US…were not even the top minority (Hispanics taking that lead). Reading any books about the minority, no matter what race are you, should be considered as a diverse book.

Despite these reasons, what about other people from other countries? Would them reading a Caucasian book be considered as a diverse book? Asians is the top race of the world, but if a person from Japan reads a book containing Caucasian characters, are they diverse reader?

In the beginning of all this, I was a little bit confused. And now, I’m even more confused.

What do you guys think about the topic of diverse books? Based on book or based on reader or both?