A lot has changed since I joined the book community over five years ago. It’s crazy because it doesn’t feel like it’s been that long. I’ve noticed everyone seems to be more close-knit. There are bonds formed that, with the help of things like social media, have been realized in person which is super awesome. I discover more and more people every day promoting the books they love, sharing their thoughts, helping out authors. I love it because it’s such a positive thing in a world that isn’t always so nice. But I’ve also noticed an increase in some of the negatives.
Today, I watched as people attacked authors.
Attacked each other.
Took tweets out of context to further their own agendas.
Plagiarized tweets and changed words to fit their argument’s needs.
You get the idea. Now this all took place on Twitter as that was what I had running in the background so I can’t speak for anything that has happened on other sites/platforms.
I won’t make any claims to being completely in on all that is happening. I am an observer. I’ve seen these comments go through my feed. What I’ve noticed is that people are hanging on a single comment and running with it. It’s bringing up a lot of hate and the backlash is downright ugly. And a lot of it (though not all) seems to be surrounding the idea of diversity in books.
I’ll be completely honest when I say that I don’t read as many “diverse” books as I should. Perhaps it’s due to the genres I read, or just which ones I pick up as I don’t usually look into anything past the synopsis when I grab a book. But my thing is that yes, diversity is a part of our world, a part of life. To truly capture that in literature would mean to include more than a singular type of character. HOWEVER, the author is the storyteller. It is their creation, their characters, that they put out into the world. Yes, there are more of some types of books than others but I don’t believe that gives anyone the right to attack someone over a book.
IT IS A BOOK.
[As a sidenote in all this, it is not okay to send death threats to ANYONE. I don’t care how much you don’t like their book, this is beyond crossing the line and I’m disgusted that it happens in the first place.]
I hate saying that but when all is said and done, you are reading fiction. I do believe that authors should try to include more diversity in their books because it shouldn’t be ignored but there is nothing you can do about a book that is already written and published. It’s out there. It’s done. You’re not going to be able to change it by bashing the author or even readers who support them.
Want to see more diversity in literature? Try starting discussions about it. Civil, respectful discussions that bring out what’s currently on the market and what you, as a reader, think there needs to be more of. Promote the books that ARE out there that really capture your vision of diversity because another thing I’ve noticed is that everyone seems to have a slightly different definition.
Please don’t think that I believe diversity should be ignored because that’s the farthest from the truth. What I’m trying to get at in my late-night-rambling state is that instead of hating and bashing what’s already written, respect those who put the effort into the work. Discuss (in a civil manner) your issues about a particular book instead of being nasty toward each other. Promote books and authors that you enjoy and you feel represent what you want to see in literature. Don’t expect people to know everything because we’re all learning all the time. People make mistakes and that is okay.
I apologize if I have offended anyone, though I did try to leave out specifics to avoid doing so. But I also stand by what I’ve said and would be happy to respectfully discuss anything I’ve mentioned. As I’ve said, I don’t claim any expertise when it comes to diversity in literature but felt the need to at least comment on what I have been seeing.
Read what you want to read. Read what makes you happy. Don’t bash readers for enjoying a book. Don’t bash authors for writing their stories. There is so much positivity in the book community and it only stays that way if everyone contributes to that instead of the hate.