Welcome to another Let’s Talk Bookish post! Let’s Talk Bookish is a weekly meme, created and hosted by me, where we discuss chosen topics, share our opinions, and spread the love by visiting each other’s posts.
Today’s topic is: How do you feel about content warnings? (suggested by Lydia @ Lydia Schoch)
Many thanks to Lydia for suggesting! I think that content warnings are necessary for certain triggers, and that they can be helpful for readers, reviewers, and in some cases, publishers.
First of all, what are content warnings?
Content warnings are things in any form of media (but specifically in this case for books) that can potentially result in the reader having a strong emotional response. They are more general, while trigger warnings are more specific, and could have severe responses from certain readers. For this post, I’m going to be talking about both content and trigger warnings together.
Should they be included in books?
Yes. I think that they should. Not only would this be helpful for readers who are sensitive to certain topics, but it could also help reviewers who want to include trigger/content warnings when they are writing reviews.
I didn’t know much about content warnings and when I learned about them, I wanted to include them in my reviews, but I wasn’t sure what exactly would be considered a sensitive topic for a reader. If authors or publishers included content or trigger warnings in books, I could just copy what they mentioned in my review as well.
And most importantly, adding content/trigger warnings in books can help sensitive readers stay away from books that could potentially harm them. Sure, it might result in a book getting less sales, but isn’t it more important that the health of the reader is also taken into account?
Someone who doesn’t want to read a gory mystery might pick up a book thinking that it is clean, and then get shocked by excess description. That would probably lead to an upset and negative review, which doesn’t help the book. If the publisher added the warning so that the right kind of people would read it, it would save time on both sides, and possibly help reduce the amount of negative reviews written by people who had been hurt by the trigger.
Adding a content or trigger warning for every little thing in a book is not ideal, so I think that specific ones, such as abuse, death, gore, rape, and other serious triggers should be included at all times. The rest depends on how frequently it happens in the book, but then for some people, the trigger happening once is enough to hurt them. But, I know for sure that serious triggers need to be included in books, especially the books that don’t sound like they would have something like that.
It also depends on what kind of book it is. It’s ridiculous to put a content warning for murder/death in a murder mystery or an assassin thriller. Obviously there will be death and murder, even maybe a little abuse and gore, in those kind of books. But if the book sounds innocent, perhaps a heist or a contemporary novel, then I think it is necessary to include those kind of trigger warnings.
This Week’s Participants:
That’s it for this Friday! What do you think about content warnings? Should they be added in all books regardless of their severity or of the genre of the book? Have you ever been shocked by a book that you didn’t expect to have that kind of trigger? Do you prefer when reviewers include content or trigger warnings in their reviews? Chat with me in the comments below!