Friday 31 August 2012

Bookish Links: First Editions, Giffingate, Fanfic and Hiddles

Source: Gifs of Hiddles

First editions of classic books
Flavorwire has rounded up images of the first editions of famous books like The Great Gatsby, The Lord of the Rings, Lolita and Ulysses. Imagine owning one of those babies...

Giffingate in the news
The Atlantic picked up the story of Emily Giffin's online meltdown. It feels like there's a new hissy fit every day lately, it's getting very tiring...

Bookish art
Thomas Allen's series "Beautiful Evidence" has some amazing pieces of bookish art.

10 authors who write fanfic
The Daily Dot profiles 10 published authors who have written (or still write) fanfic. I was intrigued by this list until I saw many were just pulled-to-publish examples, like E. L. James. Cassandra Clare also makes the list, but unfortunately they've left out the fact that The Mortal Instruments series is itself based on fanfic.

First look at the new Carrie
EW has featured the first images of the upcoming Carrie remake/adaptation. It looks good - but I love both Chloe Grace Moretz and Julianne Moore. Apparently, the new movie stays much more faithful to the book than the original. I haven't read it - but I plan to soon.

Non-bookish, but still fun:

Guys in suits (Best. Tumblr. EVER.)

Tom Hiddleston Gifs

Pinterest, You're Drunk

Malls in the 90s

YouTube clip of the week:

Tuesday 28 August 2012

Top Ten: Bookish Confessions

Oh dear, this could get me into trouble...

Source: Someecards

  1. I dog-ear pages to mark my place. The worst part is, I have quite a few bookmarks. Somehow I always go back to the dog ears.
  2. I read constantly, including while I'm eating. Did I mention I'm not very graceful? My books are full of stains. 
  3. I like my books to look well loved (see: 1 & 2), but I would never do that to somebody else's. If I have borrowed a book, I treat it with kid gloves.
  4. I judge books by their covers. If a book has a pretty cover, I'm 100 per cent more likely to buy it. If it has a fugly cover, I'll be inclined to pass it over (unless reviews can persuade me otherwise).
  5. I love the smell of books. I love the smell of new books. I love the smell of old books. I love the smell of bookstores. I love the smell of libraries... I can't pick up a book without smelling it, it's like a compulsion.
  6. When I was 11, I went through a massive V.C. Andrews phase. I still enjoy reading her books as a guilty pleasure.
  7. I am literally running out of space for my books, but I can't stop acquiring more. Today, I added 10 to my collection. And that's not counting e-books. I may have a problem.
  8. I compulsively re-arrange my books every few months. I can't seem to find the perfect way to organise them. Series? Colour? Alphabetical? Chronological? It changes all the time.
  9. I get sad when I don't read, or I feel like I'm reading too slowly. I feel guilty when I'm behind on reviews.
  10. My dream is to one day have a library like the real Belle. The chances of this happening are very, very slim. I'd at least like a library with a ladder, so I can do this:

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.

P.S. If you really love bookish confessions, check out this Tumblr.

Monday 27 August 2012

Mag Monday: Cleo, September 2012

The September issue of Cleo features a candy-coloured cover befitting its star, Katy Perry. I'm not a massive fan of hers, and I really don't like the purple pony she's rocking, so this cover (and the accompanying story) doesn't particularly draw me in. The cover lines don't really grab me, either.

September being 30 Days of Fashion and Beauty for ACP, the mag is filled with related features. Visually, I liked "My style icon is...", featuring readers with the people who influence their style (an older friend, sister, boyfriend and boss). But while the shoot is fun, all the people involved have been professionally styled using borrowed clothes, which I think undermines the authenticity of a piece that's supposedly celebrating "real" style icons.

I really enjoyed the feature "Meet the fatshionistas" by Nicole Elphick, which provides a spotlight on a corner of the blogosphere - and the fashion community - that isn't usually seen in the pages of a mag like Cleo.

"New-season style commandments" is a fun spin on a trend report, though I can't say I'm quite ready to embrace the tracky dack trend and "take them out for a spin with [my] fave heels" (as much as I love my trackies). Girlie pieces, neon, smoky eyes, statement earrings, floral prints and white nails I will be more inclined to try. The jury is still out on peplums. Speaking of - the following spread with a reader trialling the trends is an effective way to make them more accessible. I just wish I had the hair (and the braveness!) to try dip dye, and I know I'll never be bold enough to wear clashing prints and leather pants. Still - pastels, nail art and hot pink lips, I can definitely do.

"What's with all the hate?" is a feature by Genevieve Rota that discusses all the "Hatorade" that seems to be going around. So it's not just in the book blogging community, then? Rota focuses on the sledges leveled at celebs like Lana Del Ray, Lara Bingle and Delta Goodrem, interviewing a psychologist and therapist who put the problem down to a combination of jealousy and tall poppy syndrome. I can't say I'm convinced - I'm guilty of hating Delta Goodrem and Lara Bingle more than you should feel anything about someone you've never met, and I can't say I'm particularly jealous of either. They just really freaking annoy me. Anyway, it's an interesting idea, and I liked the breakout on online trolls, which is really a whole issue in itself.

To tie in with R U OK? Day on September 13, Lisa O'brien has written "Is he okay?", a feature about how depression affects men and what the women in their life can do to help. It's an important issue and refreshing to see guys allowed more depth than the usual "What he really thinks when you tickle his nipples" lines.

Then we have "Three in the bed", which profiles a couple who have started having threesomes to spice up their marriage. Ho hum, it's nothing I haven't read in Cleo/Cosmo 164 times before. I have to say I really can't stand these kinds of articles that imply you have to have threesomes or try bondage or whatever to have an interesting sex life. If that's your thing, go for it, but the way they feature them implicitly sends the message that you're not good enough in the sack if you don't perform bedroom acrobatics with multiple partners. It's telling that Mel, the girl featured in the article, says "Our sex life was in a bit of a hole. Andy and I dressed up for each other, went away for weekends and tried to liven things up by having sex in places where there was a risk of getting caught, but it felt like we were trying too hard." (Emphasis mine). That's exactly what gets me about these kinds of articles - people read them and feel like they have to do these things not because it actually turns them on, but because their sex life must live up to some Sex and the City-inspired myth. OK, end rant.

Other features include:
  • "Words with friends", about how to deal with tricky conversations. It's a good story, but I'm not a fan of the app-inspired design.
  • "What does success look like?" Helping others, mastering the balancing act, and doing what you really love, apparently
  • "Single with children"
  • "20 tiny tips to improve your life right now" It's common sense stuff but the tips are still useful - like making your bed, stretching, wearing something bright and - my fave - playing on the swings.
  • "Is someone sabotaging your diet?" I don't like the "d" word but it's a good feature about how others influence your eating.
  • "12 things you can do for a healthier you" A bit of overkill considering it's very similar to "20 tiny tips"
  • "A hungry girl's guide to portion control"
  • "The other woman", about mums who interfere in their kid's relationships.
  • "Great sex tips (in 50 words or less)" Same old, same old. Yawn.
  • "Fight club" Shirtless boxers who obviously haven't been hit across the head too many times, coz their faces are still pretty.
  • "7 reasons why you're still broke" 
Rating: 3/5

Friday 24 August 2012

Bookish Links: Must Reads, Sculptures and Great Expectations

Image via Hyperbole and a Half

I've been thinking of doing a links round-up feature for awhile, mainly because I spend a helluva lot of time online, and in my travels I find some pretty cool stuff (and, occasionally, some pretty dodgy stuff). I usually share sites or posts I love on Twitter, but I thought it couldn't hurt to put them all in one place here on the blog. The plan is to post these bookish links every Friday. To kick things off...

100 novels everyone should read
The latest list telling you how lacking your literary adventures are comes courtesy of The Telegraph in the UK. I've only read 12, plus half-finished two more:
-To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee (my review)
-Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
-The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde  by Robert Louis Stevenson
-Gulliver's Travels by Jonathan Swift
-The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood
-The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald (my review)
-The Big Sleep by Raymond Chandler
-Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
-Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte
-David Copperfield by Charles Dickens
-Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
-Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
-Half: Tess of the D'Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy (I started reading it for uni, but didn't finish because I found out how it ended)
-Half: One Thousand and One Nights (I got half way through and needed a break. I haven't picked it up since)

Six (plus) degrees of separation
Small Demons is a new site that catalogues the people, places and other things mentioned in books - and how they connect to other books. It is addictive and so much fun.

Fifty Shades Generator
Randomly generate your own 50 Shades-inspired story, or just get the instant hit you need for... laughs. Definitely for laughs. I would post some here, but then I would have to blush. A lot.

Amazing book sculptures
Kelly Campbell Berry has created some stunning 3D book art with upcycled classics. My favourite is the appropriately creepy Dracula.

Great Expectations trailer
I love me a movie adaptation, so I was excited to see that the trailer for the upcoming Great Expectations is doing the rounds. I love the casting of Helena Bonham Carter as Miss Havisham, though I'm not convinced on the actors for Pip and Estella. Still, it looks good.


Finally, here are some non-bookish, but still fun links:

The 20 greatest Cosmo headlines (with hilarious commentary)

Photo diary of a German officer in the Soviet Union during WWII

Naughty dogs are adorably shamed

The most random comments on corporate Facebook pages

Old people who don't know how to use Facebook

Brilliant Calvin & Hobbes gifs

Fuck yeah Tom Daley ('nuff said)

Want more links? 
I know I can never get enough, so shout out to these link-loving ladies:
-Read in a Single Sitting (Bookish news published every day. Super blogger alert!)
-Young Adult Anonymous (Bookmark Binge every Sunday)
-Nylon Admiral (Monday Links published - you guessed it - every Monday)

Tuesday 21 August 2012

Top Ten: Books I've Read Since I Began Blogging

Image by Denisa Kadlecova
1. Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro. This was one of the first books I read after I began blogging, and it completely blew me away. I gave it four stars at the time, I think because - although I thought it was amazing - it was such an uncomfortable read and made me feel ALL THE FEELINGS, so I knew I wouldn't revisit it very often (which is how I generally know a book is five stars for me - I want to reread it immediately). I kind of regret not giving it five stars. It definitely left a big impression.

2. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald. I tried to read this twice before I started blogging, and gave up each time. I just couldn't get into it. When I picked it up for the third time, after creating my blog, I pushed through and ended up absolutely loving it. Perseverance wins!

3. Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins. The whole The Hunger Games trilogy really belongs in this spot, as I read them all together in one blur. But Catching Fire was definitely my favourite in the series.

4. Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins. I probably never would have read this book if I hadn't started blogging. I'm one of those awful people who judge books by covers, and this cover is pretty terrible. Then I read a whole heap of gushing reviews on blogs I respected and my curiosity got the better of me. I'm glad it did, because this is now one of my favourite books. It's just so fun.

5. The Last Unicorn by Peter S. Beagle. I grew up watching the movie, and finally read the book as an adult. It took my breath away with its vivid imagery, lovely language, memorable characters and magical story.

6. Beauty Queens by Libba Bray. This is another one I would never have read if it wasn't for blogging and reading the rave reviews from my fellow bloggers. I wasn't really familiar with Bray's work prior to this so I didn't know what to expect, but I was pleasantly surprised to find a colourful, witty and intelligent story that I absolutely fell in love with.

7. I Came To Say Goodbye by Caroline Overington. This is a beautiful, haunting tale about family, the foster care system, mental illness, feminism, domestic abuse - but most of all, love. It's amazing.

8. The Weight of Water by Sarah Crossan. This was such a surprise for me because I didn't think I enjoyed verse novels, but after glancing at the first couple of pages of The Weight of Water I was completely hooked and couldn't put it down. It totally changed my opinion on verse novels.

9. On the Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta. 'Nuff said, really.

10. Jasper Jones by Craig Silvey. I read this pretty recently but I'm already a hardcore fangirl. Everyone should read it. I would say my adoration for this book is almost on par with my love for The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak. Almost.

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and The Bookish.

Sunday 19 August 2012

Book to TV: Puberty Blues

It's a bit hard to compare one episode of a TV series to a whole book, so I thought I'd just post some general thoughts on the first episode of Puberty Blues. I may do a more in-depth comparison once the season comes to a close. (Psst, you can see my review of the book here).

  • The casting is amazing. The adults, all Aussie veterans, are obviously great, but I think the young cast is really brilliant. Deb, Sue and Garry were highlights for me, though that could be coz they were obviously given the most screentime in this ep.
  • Deb and Sue's story is off to a solid start, while the adults and boys have been given much bigger story lines than in the book. I like the way the first show focused on Garry's problems; he already stands apart from the other dropkick guys. But I hope the show doesn't sanitise the overall misogyny too much - it would really undermine the message of the original. They don't seem to be shying away from the more disturbing aspects, like date rape. As for the parents, the setup for their subplots is promising, and provides a bit of welcome balance to the squeals of Deb and Sue.
  • I wrote down the exact quote and lost it, but I loved the inclusion of Persuasion by Jane Austen and the comment along the lines of the way it portrays the restrictions placed upon women in the past - just like Puberty Blues. Intertextuality, woo!
  • While they took a lot of things - the horses, the panel vans, the language - straight from the book, it kinda annoyed me how the girls were wearing flares. A minor point, I know, but they make such a big deal out of straight-legged jeans in the book that the flares really stood out as wrong to me.
  • LOLPAST moments: The "hilarity" of drink driving - with your child in the car - with no seat belts. The boy who'd rather be whacked with a ruler than read a book as punishment. There was also the fact that Sue's mum only told her not to get sunburnt coz of how much she whinges, instead of, you know, skin cancer.
  • Name drops: Many "molls", "You're dropped" and "pash-off".
  • Food drops: Splices, Cheezels (five finger rings!) and Sunnyboys (taking the shape of missiles hurled at Deb and Sue).
Did you watch Puberty Blues? What did you think?

Tuesday 14 August 2012

Review: Puberty Blues by Kathy Lette and Gabrielle Carey

I read Puberty Blues along with the Top Chicks ShirleyJess, Lissa, Zoe and Mandee a couple of weeks ago, and because I'm a slack-arsed moll I'm only getting around to writing my review now.

My first encounter with Puberty Blues was when I was a young teenager; my mum would sing the theme song from the movie whenever I would get all angsty. It was as annoying as it sounds. When I was a little older I watched the movie, and was pretty horrified, cringing the whole way through. When I was a little older than that, I watched it again, and this time thought it was equal parts horrifying and hilarious. Having now read the book, I can say my feelings for the source material are pretty much the same - I found it both horrifying and hilarious, often at the same time.

If you live under a rock - or, y'know, not in Australia - Puberty Blues is the semi-autobiographical account of two teen girls trying to fit in with the popular surfie crowd in 1970s Sydney. It's sparse in both length and language, with a frankness that emphasises the rawness of story. The narrator, Deb, describes characters and relays events in a matter-of-fact manner that leaves you with eyes wide and pearls clutched. I'm talking 13-year-olds having sex, doing drugs, being gang raped... I want to give a copy of this to every person who claims "kids today" are more sexualised than ever and say, o rly?

Interestingly, the fact that internal narration or reflection is limited works to highlight how awful the whole situation is, especially because when Deb does comment, it's very tongue-in-cheek. As they look back on events a few years down the track, it's clear Deb and Sue are wiser and definitely not OK with how they were treated in the past. There's a kind of credulity in certain parts; it's as though they're saying, "Yep, we did that, can you believe it?" But, importantly, while they may shake their heads at their naivety and invite others to do so, it's not about passing judgement on the girls. If there is judgement, it's on the boys who treated them so abysmally and the culture that not only allowed but encouraged this kind of behaviour.

Shirley mentioned in her review that she considers Puberty Blues to be a feminist book, and I agree. While it recounts some very sexist words and actions from a group of misogynistic boys (and girls, actually), the perspective of hindsight discussed above means that this sexism, while not overtly criticised, is purposely shown in a negative light. The closing scene, in which the girls triumphantly decide to forget about what others think, get their own surfboard and teach themselves to surf (something that was previously taboo) reinforces the ultimately feminist message. I would have liked this scene and their victory to have been expanded upon, but really, its brevity is in keeping with the rest of the novel.

I did appreciate the book, and there were parts that were really funny, but more than anything I was disturbed. It's scary to think that that's the way things used to be for girls - and even scarier to contemplate whether much has changed. I certainly hope it has!

While I think the writing was really effective overall, the first person narration didn't quite work at times. Although Deb is the main narrator, she would talk about events and conversations that she wasn't present for. Of course, it could be explained in that Sue (or someone else) told her about them - but it's not. I just found it sloppy and distracting. It could be due to the writers' inexperience at the time, but I would think an editor at least would pick it up. It's not a major problem, and I can see why this book is such a cult classic, even if it's not entirely enjoyable. At just over a hundred pages, it's a quick read - but not an easy one.

Rating: 3/5

So excited for the TV show that starts tomorrow night, although it looks like they've seriously toned it down.

Fine Print
Genre: I guess this would be young adult, although it deals with pretty mature themes and has been around since before YA was officially a genre.
Published: 1982
Get It: Readings

Monday 13 August 2012

Mag Monday: Vogue and GQ

I'm not really a Vogue kinda girl, but the cover this month is so beautiful, I just had to pick it up. Lookie!

Unfortunately there wasn'y much to capture my attention between the covers. There was some more pretty pictures though.

The August edition of the American GQ on the other hand, is filled with awesomeness (and pretty pictures too, natch).

The cover story and images of Joseph Gordon-Levitt are lovely, although JGL protested the way the story described his brother's death. I can understand why he's upset, however I can also see why the magazine would have included the "alleged drug overdose" reference. It's part of the story, after all. That aside, I predict JGL will be the next Ryan Gosling. He's got the swagger, he's got the adorableness, he's got the multi-talented thing down, and he's a former child star... he's totally the brunette RGos. He just needs a Nicholas Sparks movie to catapult him to meme status.

But JGL isn't the only hot guy in a suit GQ has on offer this month. Oh, no. Their main fashion features Douglas Booth, David Oyelowo, Kit Harrington AND Max Irons. Whoever came up with that idea is literally a genius.

What did I tell you? GENIUS. As if that wasn't enough eye candy, they also have an entire feature dedicated to ice cream. With pictures of an ice cream galaxy. ICE. CREAM. GALAXY.

On a more sombre note, Sean Flynn's in-depth story on the massacre in Norway, featuring survivor's experiences, makes for a chilling but fascinating read.

I'm not exactly the target audience but I found so much to love in this GQ - I'll definitely be picking it up more often in the future.

Friday 10 August 2012

Talking Point: Let's Hear It For The Bloggers

Warning: This post is totally sappy, but I don't care. It needs to be said.

I've always loved reading, but when I left uni, moved out of home and started working full time, I struggled to find time for it. I went from studying English Literature and reading multiple books a week - and analysing them in depth - to reading one or two a month at the most. I missed reading, and I missed talking about books with people who were as passionate about them as I was. So I started my blog, hoping to make reading a priority again and connect with some like-minded people. Little did I know...

The community I discovered as a result of book blogging was (and is) amazing. A whole online world opened up to me that I hadn't realised was there. I was welcomed by many and quickly made a bunch of friends - not because I'm awesome, but because the community is. Not only was I thrilled to find lovely people who shared my passion for books, I was excited to read their posts and reviews. Because of them, I became interested in authors I would never have taken any notice of before, and discovered new books to read on a daily basis.

This is kind of embarrassing, but before I started blogging, I had one bookshelf in my apartment - and half of it was filled with dvds. Within a couple of months of blogging, I had acquired so many new books thanks to reviews and recommendations from online friends, I had to find a new spot for the dvds. Within a year, I had to get another whole bookshelf. Both shelves are now bulging and floor space in my apartment is shrinking as books stack up all over the place.

Before blogging, I could probably have named a couple of dozen books off the top of my head that I knew I wanted to read. Now, my TBR pile - books I own but haven't read yet - is 210 books high, while my wishlist currently sits at 171 and grows on a daily basis.

This is all because of bloggers and Goodreads reviewers. They inspire me every day with their passion, their humour, their wit and their warmth. They are some of the smartest, funniest and most supportive people I've ever known - and I've never even met them.

So I wanted to post this incredibly cheesy post and say thank you. To anyone who follows this blog, is friends with me on Goodreads or chats with me on Twitter - thank you. Thank you for making me smile and laugh and think every single day. Thank you for loving books and championing authors and sharing that passion with the world. Thank you for being a friend. You're awesome.

Tuesday 7 August 2012

Top Ten Tuesday

This week's Top Ten Tuesday is "Top Ten Posts On Your Blog That Would Give The BEST Picture of YOU (as a reader and a person -- so pick the 10 best reviews/posts that you wish every potential reader of your blog would see!)". This is a really hard one! Oh, the pressure. But I'm going to try to find the top posts that really represent me as a person and a reader. Please note: if this picture isn't pretty then, um, please disregard. Now excuse me while I dig into my archives...

1. Review of Red Riding Hood by Sarah Blakley-Cartwright and David Leslie Johnson. This is my first ever post. I hated the book so much I finally got off my butt and created the blog I'd been thinking about for ages - just so I could get my rant on. I promise I'm not as feral as that suggests.

2. My five favourite books of all time. Obviously, this says a lot about me as a reader!

3. Bookish Buys. This is a regular feature on my blog, combining two of my favourite things - books and stationery (and other assorted merchandise). The post linked here is my first in the series.

4. My favourite mini-series adaptations. I'm obsessed with book adaptations and feature them pretty heavily on the blog, so this is a good indication of my interests. PS. My favourite movie adaptations are listed here.

5. Five series that defined my childhood. These are the books that shaped me as a reader (and probably as a person).

6. A tribute to Charles Dickens. He's my favourite author. 'Nuff said.

7. Book Vs Movie: The Neverending Story. Remember how I mentioned I'm obsessed with adaptations? I have a tendency to over-analyse them. This is just one example.

8. Review of On the Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta. One of my favourite books from one of my favourite authors. This review is pretty much just me fangirling, but y'know, that's me.

9. A love story. I wrote this for my wedding in May. You could see it as either really sweet or totally vomitous.

10. Review of If You Ask Me (And Of Course You Won't) by Betty White. This is not so much a review as it is a recount of the time I waited in line for over two hours to spend approximately 20 seconds with one of my idols, Betty White. Fangirling ensued.

Saturday 4 August 2012

Talking Point: Reviewing Books Vs Authors

I haven't really commented on the Site That Shall Not Be Named here on my blog. Mostly because other people have spoken out about it far better than I could. But there's one point that's really been bothering me (I mean, aside from all the stalking and creepiness, which is far more serious), so I wanted to post about it and get my thoughts out.

One of the main "arguments" the Site That Shall Not Be Named makes is that certain reviewers are bullies because they criticise ("attack") the author, and not the book. By their logic (and I use the term loosely), any review that mentions the author is inappropriate; and if the comments are negative then it's a "bully" review. Unfortunately, they're using the recent kerfuffle with hidden reviews to validate their argument, especially Patrick Brown's reference to how reviews should "review the book and not the author."

Now, I agree that book reviews should be about the book itself, and not the author. But to use that idea to claim that book reviews should never mention the author is preposterous; if we hid every one that did this, there wouldn't be many left on Goodreads or in the blogosphere. Does that mean they're all "bully" reviews? Hell no. It just means that in many cases, mentioning the author is relevant to the book in some way. Because book reviews tend to discuss things like language, characterisation, story structure, plotting, grammar... you know, things the author created. Discussing the way the author did these things is an integral part of many reviews, and does not equate to a "review of the author" or a "bully" review.

Of course, an author's personal life should never be discussed in a book review. Unless - and oh god I'm scared to say this but dammit it's my opinion - it's relevant to the book. I studied English Literature at uni, and we always learnt about not just the texts, but the authors themselves. Their lives, personal experiences and beliefs were studied to give context for and insight into their work. As Victoria Foyt, a "victim" according to the Site That Shall Not Be Named, says herself, "Writers pluck bits and pieces from their lives and weave them [into their work], often unconsciously, only hoping the seams between reality and fiction do not show." 

I'm not saying that we should know or mention all the gory details of an author's private life. That's creepy (I'm looking at you, You-Know-Who). But if they, say, make public statements about their doubt that African Americans read or talk about their personal horror at being called a racial slur one time (when it was something "usually targeted at blacks"), and their book is about race - then yes, what the author says or does in such situations is entirely relevant to a critique of their work. Especially if those statements have been made in relation the book.

I don't think it's right to rate or review a book that you haven't attempted to read. Note I say attempted - if you do give it a go, and it's a DNF - then I think it's completely valid to explain why that's the case in a review space. It's also valid to boycott a book based on an author's behaviour. This is not bullying. This is exercising your rights as a consumer. It's the same as boycotting Chris Brown's music because he is violent, avoiding a food chain because of their views on sexuality or refusing to shop at a certain store because of their crap customer service. Creating personal shelves on Goodreads - which, by the way, is one of the main purposes of the site - so you can keep track of which books you're boycotting (in addition to reading or coveting, natch) is a legitimate use of the site. Naming those shelves whatever the hell you want is not only OK, it's encouraged - note Goodreads lists "overrated-drivel" as one of their favourite shelves - and it shows you have imagination and a flair for words (unlike certain people who Shall Not Be Named). Seeing additions to your friend's shelves pop up on your home page and investigating why they've shelved books that way, before deciding for yourself where you stand on a book and shelving it accordingly, is also a valid use of the site. It's social networking! That's the whole point. It's. Not. Bullying.

You know what is bullying? Verbally abusing, spitting on and holding down a co-worker; belittling, harassing and physically assaulting a fellow student; telling a teen girl she should kill herself; or even falsely accusing someone of being an alcoholic and a negligent parent. All of those things are examples of bullying. Writing negative reviews, creating snarky shelves on Goodreads, discussing books and authors with friends on the internet, and criticising a public figure on a social network? None of those things are examples of bullying.

If all else fails...

Wednesday 1 August 2012