Discussions · Discussions about books · Let's Talk Bookish

Let's Talk Bookish – Content Warnings

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:

Sumedha @ The Wordy Habitat | Literary Lion | Jane @ Blogger Books | Megan @ Megabunny Reads

Chat with me

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!

15 thoughts on “Let's Talk Bookish – Content Warnings

  1. I think content warnings are tricky. How the topics are handled in the books dictates whether or not they will trigger a reader not necessarily just because it is in the story. But I’m not sure what standards you would apply to this so that publishers and authors know.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. That’s a great point Tessa! Yeah, it would be kind of difficult to make it a rule, because someone might not think it could be a trigger, but for someone else it is. But I still think there should be an effort on the publisher/author’s part to include this information.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. This is a great topic. And, in addition, a beautiful website. My opinion is that some non-spoiler language should be included in the synopsis and on the websites that sell the book. For instance, I have decided again reading books if they hint at animal or child abuse. I cannot tolerate either.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you so much!! That would be really helpful, especially since some content warnings could also be spoilers. You don’t want to spoil something major, but you also don’t want to hurt readers. That’s actually something I didn’t consider before, and it would make things kind of sticky.

      Like

    1. Yeah, it’s happened that a book would seem, like for instance, a straight forward mystery, but it would end up being more about the characters side romance with a lot of extra stuff that I was absolutely not expecting…. Definitely disappointing.
      Thank you for reading πŸ’š

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Rukky, I believe writers should include generalized non-spoiler content and/or trigger details in the book synopsis typically included on the back cover and all internet buying/review sites. Beyond that, the reader should accept personal responsibility for how the story makes them feel.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I agree, it would be really helpful to have content or trigger warnings that are not spoilery on review sites and on the book. That way a reader has a general idea of what to expect, and yes, it shouldn’t be the book/author’s fault if they get triggered. But this is as long as it is either hinted at in the synopsis, or mentioned as a trigger warning.
      Thanks for reading πŸ’š

      Like

  4. Great discussion! I think it is good when content warnings are there, and then you can decide yourself if you want to do anthing with it!

    (www.evelynreads.com)

    Liked by 1 person

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