Let’s Talk Bookish – Reader & Blogger Responsibilities

i’m alive!! in case you were wondering

I kind of took a rather impromptu break despite my grand plans for a couple of posts this week. But never fear! LTB is here and I am back once again with another discussion.

this is just so cringy, I can’t. but I’m leaving it here anyways, cause why not?

If you’re new, Let’s Talk Bookish is a weekly meme hosted by me & Dani @ Literary Lion, where we discuss certain topics, share our opinions, and spread the love by visiting each other’s posts.

Today’s topic is: Our Responsibilities as Bloggers & Readers

I actually chose this topic during all the issues and drama that’s been happening these past two months. I actually don’t really have an answer for this, but I just wanted to talk about it.

So as you all know unless you’ve been living under a seriously enormous mountain, since the recent BLM protests and the J K Rowling issue, there has been an ongoing discussion in the bookish community on the racist, or unjust treatment of authors and readers of color as well as a discussion on separating art from the artist.

There are so many amazing discussions that really talk about this, such as Faith’s about performative allyship and anti-blackness in the community, Aditi’s post on whiteness in the community, Kay’s on reclaiming Harry Potter from the author, Chana’s on why you really can’t reclaim books, and then there have been other discussions about how book bloggers are underappreciated. Marie wrote an amazing discussion on that and Cielo actually asked people on Twitter to share how much they earn to discuss how bloggers barely get paid if they even do.

And then, I also read a discussion by Divine where she talked about how she’s trying to read more diversely and whether she’s putting in enough effort, and suffice to say, after all this reading, I’m kind of tired and also confused about what my role is in all of this.

I would highly suggest that you check all these posts out!! They are all phenomenal.

I’m a quiet person about a lot of things, and I usually just sit on the sidelines when huge issues blow up because, I’m admittedly afraid. I don’t want to say the wrong thing, and I don’t think I know about these things enough to be talking about them. But I still try to learn more so that I can be informed.

All these stats about black or POC authors getting paid less even if they are more popular, the fact that a lot of things in the bookish community and publishing industry are very white centered, performative allyship, authors doing problematic things, and trying to be diverse, but not actually being that diverse at all – it’s all just so exhausting and makes me feel like, “what’s even the point? why am I here? how do I move on with all this unjust terribleness everywhere?”

The bookish community is supposed to be a safe space about equality and love, and all that, and for the most part it is. But then things like this happen and you realize that we’re all kind of glossing over all the negatives at times.

This is not supposed to be taken in a bad way; I’m just stating what I’ve seen. This time last year, I didn’t know about these issues. I just blogged and read my heart out, and now I’m kind of having an awakening and trying to understand how I can move forward with all this.

What are my responsibilities as a blogger and reader? Because despite that naive belief that “blogging is for you, do what makes you happy”, the fact that you are putting information out there and people are reading what you have to say means that you have to be responsible about who you support and talk about.

I’ve tried to stop talking about all of the books that I’ve come to realize aren’t all that great, either because some people find the things in the book problematic, or the author has done some problematic things.

I’ve taken a step back to reexamine the kinds of books that I read. I’ve come to realize that I’m a part of the problem because I don’t read that diversely, even in the kinds of rep that I relate to.

Honestly, how horrible is this: I’m Muslim yet I’ve only read 7 books with Muslim rep out of the 178 that I’ve read. HOW??? And let’s not even get started on books with Black MCs, because only 2 are coming to mind right now.

Out of all the books that I listed as my favorites of 2019, only 1 was by a diverse author.

Since I started a blog, I’ve gone from reading just a bit of YA and fantasy, to them becoming two of my primary genres. there’s nothing wrong with that, it’s just not the kind of content I want to be consuming so much of

And I’m reading so many books with the same white narrative that I had to sign up for diverse reading challenges for me to even go out of my way to read more diversely.

I’m just really tired and disappointed in myself.

I’ve been doing a lot of creative-ish posts recently that don’t focus that much on actually talking about books just out of avoidance of the issue. Because I don’t know which book is problematic, or which author is problematic, and I don’t want to be talking about X book and gushing about it and recommending it, just for me to see a post three days later where someone raises awareness about the problematic things in the book or that the author has been doing.

I don’t know if I want to ignore the books that I loved but are problematic for some people or written by problematic authors all together, or if I should just quietly love them. Is it wrong for me to love them even?

I don’t want reading to be something I become paranoid about, but I have to do something to change all of this.

So, back to the main question. I think I know what my responsibility is, but my issue is just moving forward.

That went in a totally different direction than I was expecting, but I’m going to leave it here anyways. I kind of always try to be happy and cheery and be the one offering advice and suggestions all the time, but right now, I’m just not feeling cheery nor do I have the answers. And I think it’s not a bad thing to show my ups and downs πŸ™‚

This Week’s Participants:

Dani @ Literary Lion | Evelyn @ Evelyn Reads | Aria @ Book Nook Bits | Sammie @ The Bookwyrm’s Den

So, any advice/ideas? What do you think are our responsibilities as bloggers and readers? How do you find diverse books to read? Have you ever had a blogger/reader identity crisis which I think is what I’m having right now lol? And just for some happy thoughts, what did you have for breakfast? Chat with me in the comments below!

36 thoughts on “Let’s Talk Bookish – Reader & Blogger Responsibilities

  1. This is such an interesting post, thank you for sharing (and for mentioning my post as well!) ❀
    I can also relate to being the quiet one, I've always been like that both in real life and on social media, but I feel like as content creators, like you said, we have certain responsibilities. We're recommending books and shouting about them and I think it's so, so important to do our very best to educate ourselves and listen to see what might be problematic that we haven't spotted, to listen to marginalized voices and boost them, jjust as well. We will make mistakes because no one is perfect, but as long as we keep on learning along the way and keep on doing our very best every single day πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    1. No problem, I’m glad you enjoyed it πŸ’–
      Yeah, I’m defintiely the quiet one IRl too. Exactly, what we read and support reflects on us as a person, so we have to be sure of who we are supporting. I just have to actually start doing that more often, instead of falling back into my defaults. Thank you so much for your lovely comment βœ¨πŸ’•

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I can relate to you about being the quiet one. That’s often me when something’s happening and I see it directly. Like you I’m afraid of saying something wrong or offensive. One thing I can do right now is to educate myself more on things.

    As for diverse books I’m happy to say that I’ve been doing quite well in reading more of them. But it all thanks to other bloggers who constantly recommend these books to me in their posts.

    This is a very good post! You got me thinking a lot on the things you mentioned in your post.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah, I usually just end up reading more about it, fuming quietly with myself, but never saying anything out loud because I’m just too afraid to do so. Defintiely got to work on that.

      I think I need to add some more diverse bloggers to my list. And I need to take the time to find diverse books in my favorite genres as well.

      Thank you! I’m so glad πŸ€—βœ¨

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Great post! I think we can always do better, but as long as we keep improving, it should count for something. It’s definitely easy to become overwhelmed when we’re not sure what the right move is, but that’s when I look to others who know better than I do. I hope these are discussions that continue! ❀️

    Liked by 1 person

  4. The JKR issue breaks my fucking heart because I love Harry Potter so much I can’t bear to let go of it but like…maybe she should have stayed off twitter Β―\_(ツ)_/Β― I will continue to love this world she’s created but I no longer love her. I cannot abide by the things she has chosen to say publically and I feel like she’s really let me down.

    As far as reading more diversely I definitely feel a burden to do that! I try to read any kind of rep I can because I think it’s so important for different stories to be told. I wasn’t good at reading diversely for a long time but I’m getting better and I’m proud of that.

    I never eat breakfast, I had cup noodles for lunch because I’m a gremlin.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m so sorry that you’re feeling that way βœ¨πŸ€— I think that you can love the world and still acknowledge all the wrong that she has done, and that could possibly be in the world itself πŸ’– HP has been a part of a lot of people’s lives for a long time, and even though I’ve never read it, it’s still really sad to see how she’s put everyone in such a difficult and painful situation.

      I’m so glad that it’s working for you! I can’t wait to start trying to find all those books as well, and I honestly hope that I can still find diverse books in the genres that I love.

      Lol, why not? Haha, I hope you enjoyed it!! (and I feel like the gremlin thing is a joke…but I sadly don’t get it πŸ˜‚πŸ˜…)

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Thanks for picking this topic, I think it’s an important discussion to have! Unfortunately I wasn’t able to write a post for this one as I was super busy with work last week. I think we do have some responsibility to support marginalised voices and read more diversely. That’s something I really want to do is start thinking more about what books I’m reading and read books by more variety of authors from different backgrounds. I’m not super active on social media so I don’t tend to get involved in discussions about problematic books but I usually absorb the discussions and make sure I can learn from them.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s no problem at all!
      Yeah, it’s defintiely important to be more careful about what we read. I hope you’re able to find more diverse books!
      Same, I don’t have any social media, and I only hear about all these issues after the fact, so I just tend to read and educate myself. But I just don’t say anything about it, which is also something I’ve got to work on πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  6. This is such a good post! I used to be someone who just observed, I’m on both twitter and bookstagram so I often see the discourse which unfolds and most of the time I take a silent approach to it. I’ll retweet certain tweets where I agree with what that person has said but I don’t often voice my own opinion, unless I feel like it can somehow help? It’s still something I’m learning to because I was so afraid of messing up, saying the wrong thing but I’d rather say something than say nothing at all which is far worse than messing up and needing to educate yourself so you don’t make that same mistake again.

    in terms of problematic books, I think it really comes down to the specifics of the problematic content and the author. There are some books which I’ve read and adored, that I’ve come to learn are problematic, I still love them but I also make sure I acknowledge them being problematic and I don’t talk about that constantly. You can quietly love problematic books without needing to show them/boost them in your content. Again this is totally dependant on the book and author like at the moment I quietly love SJM’s Throne of Glass and ACOTAR series and I still love a lot of Cassandra Clare’s books but I’m not sure if I’m going to be buying anymore of CC’s books going forward. It’s something I’m still seriously asking myself and letting myself sit with. Particularly as the community cancels AOC so quickly but takes months…years to even come close to cancelling white authors.

    Finding diverse books is pretty easy for me since I’ve surrounded myself with bloggers who boost and promote the heck out of diverse books. I just need to be better at picking them up and reading them and it’s something I’m working on.

    Going back to the being quiet and afraid, I think it’s important to acknowledge that we may be afraid and may want to be quiet. But we’ll never grow and we’ll never change anything if we’re all quiet. If you were to throw a pebble into water it’d create a ripple, the first ripple is relatively small but gradually the ripples increase in size. We are all pebbles, who have the potential to cause a ripple affect within the communities we’re part of. We’re not perfect, we will make mistakes and that’s ok, as long as we keep trying, learning and doing our best.

    Ooops I’m so sorry for this long comment *hides* I loved this post though as you can tell from essay worthy comment ❀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah, I don’t have twitter or instagram, so I’ve never seen anything happen directly. Honestly, that sounds like the exact thing I’d do if I had either: silently retweet and never voice my opinion in my own words. And I kind of know on a certain level that it’s probably better to say something and get it wrong than to say nothing, but I don’t know, I hate doing or saying something wrong, especially publicly so that’s still holding me back.

      Yes, I agree about the problematic books. that’s kind of my method now with books that I’ve heard are problematic. I’m still not sure about authors because I’m still excited to read some books by authors who I’ve heard have done some questionable things. Thing is, I only hear about these things after the fact when someone mentions it in a comment, or in their post, or something like that, since I’m not on Twitter or Bookstagram so I don’t see it happening myself or hear about it much sooner.

      I really need to do a better job of finding blogs that are specifically about promoting diverse books! Any recommendations? πŸ™‚

      I love that analogy! And I agree, we all have that potential. I just have to take that step and stop being afraid, or even be afraid but still push myself and go ahead and do it nonetheless.

      Aww, thank you so much Clo!! This comment made me feel so much better ❀ I’m also an expert at writing essay comments lol, so I really don’t mind πŸ’–

      Liked by 1 person

      1. In the time I’ve had my accounts on twitter and insta I’ve definitely learned there’s a time for me to be vocal and express my own opinion and there’s a time where my opinion is not needed as it’s far more important to boost other people’s voices, opinions than add my own to the pool. I hear you on that, honestly the only reason I’ve become more confident is because I soak in the thoughts, opinions and listen to the diverse bloggers I’ve surrounded myself with. I know I’ll still mess up but I feel like I’m not totally clueless anymore like I was even just a year ago.

        Bloggers who are recommending diverse books, some of my favs are:

        Charvi @ Not Just Fiction

        Rain @ bookdragonism

        Sophia @ Bookwyrming Thoughts

        Kate @ Your Tita Kate

        Shealea @ Shut Up Shealea but she’s currently not got a blog, but she runs Caffeine Book Tours which prioritse diverse books and ownvoices reviewers. If you do ever make a twitter highly recommend following her (and the others of course!)

        Fanna @ Fannatality

        There are so many more, but these are the main ones that came to my head ❀

        Liked by 1 person

  7. This is such a relevant discussion right now, and I’m definitely feeling somewhat in the same boat. I am also someone who stays quiet on a lot of political issues, because I don’t watch the news and I don’t feel it’s my place to comment on things I don’t fully know about.

    Having said that, I do think there is a certain level of responsibility we have as bloggers to represent a diverse range of books. Anyone who only reads and promotes books by white authors is arguably part of the problem. (I think the nature of the publishing industry and what gets pushed the most means this will always be a problem and it does require a conscious effort for readers to pick up diverse books.)

    As for problematic things, I try to avoid “cancel culture” except in cases of serious accusations like blatant racism, sexism, transphobia, etc. I don’t think everyone can or should be expected to constantly know exactly what an author has done, or every aspect of a novel that someone somewhere thinks is problematic.

    In the end, no blogger will ever be perfect, but as long as we all do our best to improve I think that’s okay. 😊

    Liked by 1 person

  8. i really get where you’re coming from rukky! but i think that it’s important to remember that we can all do better and nobody is a perfect ally! what matters is that we try to improve everyday and listen to marginalized voices ❀ i totally understand how easy it is to just keep quiet/not care, but i really don't think we should do that. it's our responsibility to help the trans people that are affected by JKR's bigotry, support books by Black and POC authors all year round, etc. i'm not saying that i do any of these things perfectly, but i try. and i like to think that if i make a mistake, i'll do the work the educate myself. also, about not knowing whether a book or author is problematic, being on platforms like twitter and instagram makes it almost impossible to not know what's problematic :") but i totally get why you wouldn't want to join those—being on other platforms can be time-consuming and not good for your mental health!

    anyways my comment above was all over the place and i probably wasn't helping πŸ₯ΊπŸ₯Ί but just know that you can talk to me any time!! i don't have all the answers, but we can try to help each other ❀ ❀


  9. Well, I try to keep politics out of my book blog, but I guess that doesn’t always work. Even I got into it a bit back when American Dirt came out and people were calling it cultural appropriation, because the author wasn’t Latinx. I’m of two minds here. I want to read books that are in genres that I already love, so that I can promote them with my reviews. On the other hand, I want to read more diversely, but I’m finding that many books that would fill that category are in genres I don’t care for. If I read a book because it was written by a POC or LGBTQ+ author, but I don’t like it because of the genre, I won’t be doing it much good to give it 2-3 stars, knowing full well that readers in those genres will give it 4-5. See what I mean?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah, I see what you mean, and that’s even worse than my situation. So long as there isn’t diversity coming into the genres that you love, you’re stuck with undiverse books. But like you said, it’s not helpful for you to read diverse books in genres that you know you don’t like and then subsequently giving them low ratings. It’s just like punishing yourself, and it doesn’t help authors or the books.
      I really hope you’re able to find some balance or a genre that is diverse and that you like ✨❀

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Well, I do seem to have no problem finding literary fiction that are by LGBTQ+ authors, and it isn’t like I avoid diverse authors. I didn’t know that Taylor Jenkins Reid was Latina, and I’ve read two of her novels and one short story, but only one book has any reference to her heritage. I think I’m going to look for some more Toni Morrison and James Baldwin books to read, since their works are literary fiction.


  10. I agree with this post so much Rukky!! I’m also pretty quiet and don’t want to say the wrong thing, but it’s also not good to not say anything, so sometimes I feel kinda stuck πŸ˜‚ I feel like we really went in completely different directions this week, but I loved reading this, and thank you so much for writing this post πŸ’•

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Exactly, that’s how I feel! Stuck right in the middle. Sigh. Haha yeah, it seems like everyone went in a different direction with this week’s discussion, and I actually like that, because we get a variety of different posts and opinions all on the same topic πŸ’•

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Great discussion!
    I’m like you, the quiet person haha. I’m afraid to say something wrong, but I do educate myself and do go out and buy book by POC authors!


    Liked by 1 person

  12. I love this post so much!! I agree with everything you said in it- especially about reading and loving and writing about a book just to find out about the problematic aspects of it 😦 something I do is go through the Goodreads reviews AFTER reading the book (as long as there was nothing super bad in the first couple Goodreads reviews I don’t go digging before reading lol) and see whether readers called out the author on any problematic behaviors.
    Regarding what you feel is a duty to promote more diverse books, I 100% agree with you on that! It’s something that I’ve struggled with as well. But recently I’ve tended to avoid books with a white cishet MC unless it’s super unique because A) I’m bored of the same story being told again and again πŸ˜‚ and B) there’s lots of amazing stories which have BIPOC/LGBTQ MCs and there’s no need for me to read a repeat of every YA contemporary ever written if it’s uninspiring.
    You’re already doing an amazing job of calling yourself and others out! I think that’s the first (and hardest) step. From there on, everything just falls into place πŸ™‚
    Thank you for linking to my post!! I loved reading this discussion ❀ I think I might participate in this weekly meme sometimes ! πŸ˜€

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah, I do that too sometimes especially with popular books, but then I’m kind of still stuck…because if I loved the book, now I’m reading everyone calling the author out and I’m just like losing my enthusiasm for the book and I feel awful. Lol
      Exactly, it’s so boring to read the same narrative over and over when there is so much diversity and so many untold stories in this world. Aww, thank you for writing such an amazing post! And also thank you for this comment, it made me feel so much better πŸ’–πŸ₯Ίβœ¨

      And I am so so sorry for replying so late, Aditi!! πŸ’–

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Lmao don’t stress about it too much- if it’s really really bad then definitely acknowledge it in your review/rating and just don’t recommend it to people :))
        For sure!
        No problem at all ❀


  13. Haha I’m a very opinionated person but I only discuss something that I know the facts about. I’m also the kind of person who likes to discuss controversial issues (to the point where people tell me to chill out πŸ˜‚πŸ’€)

    Buttt, I understand where you’re coming from. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed and confused about where to go next…βœ…

    If a book is problematic for me… I tend to discuss it with people I know, people that I feel safe to discuss it with. Even with discussions… I’m not scared to be attacked because my opinion would remain either way (unless the person has a valid point that convinces me), I just don’t know how to respond πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚

    I’m trying to make peace with the fact that I can’t change everything in the world, otherwise these things really make me mad…☹️

    As for what I has for breakfast, I had avocado on toast and a cup of tea πŸ˜„

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Lol, it’s fun to discuss controversial things with people that you’re comfortable with and I love discussing with you πŸ™‚
      I guess my problem is that I don’t discuss these problematic issues a lot with people, so it’s just me battling them in my mind by myself, so it doesn’t really work. But yeah, they really make me mad, and I keep that all pent up at times…which results in outbursts like the above lol

      I am so sorry that I’m replying so late!! ❀ And I don’t think I’ve had avocadoes before, but I curiously don’t like them anyway lol


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