Today I want to really delve a bit deeper into this topic especially as the past couple weeks there has been some bookish drama and its really made people think on matters a bit more. Even when authors behave badly I don’t support the canceling of them. There were two big dramas that happened one with Dana Isly and Cora Reilly. Now with Dana Isly, she did major wrong here but as I don’t read her I wasn’t too focused on it, it just didn’t affect me as I hadn’t read her writing although she had been on my TBR so I was highly disappointed in her actions. So I do know that this was hard one for a while. As there was accusations of plagiarism with Aros (who has a Patreon and does some aspects of sexy narrations that is unconventional and unique and has attracted many readers and makes money from it which is really interesting) There was a messy timeline of this, so it was difficult to make sense of what was true and what was not true. At the same time there was an explosion of Tik Tok that was against Aros due to him being a man. There was almost this battle of whether or not romance is just for women and only written by women (which is SO not the case, my dad got me into romance who is a very masculine male. So you can see where I will stand on this type of issue). But I also wanted to keep an open mind that every victim matters no matter their gender. (and YES ….MEN matter too and we should fight for their injustices just as much as we do for women). Now Dana Isly also made some sexual harassment towards him. There were also other matters with Dana Isly with a couple of her books “Dipped in Holly” and “Flames of Mirror and Starlight” that were plagiarized. There is some evidence of this on the Tik Tok account @anyapolanco (which you can view the side to side comparisons given on this) Now this author I will take from my TBR Goodreads list, I don’t plan on reading her. I just am not okay with plagiarism but also an author that attacked a man and all the justification that some members of the community made in her defense because the victim was a man and so it was justified. (any sexual harassment is NEVER okay in my book) The genre of romance is not just for women and is always written by women. Some of my favorite authors that write romance are actually men. And yes they are out there. Men can love LOVE just as women can. This one was so difficult to watch because we see some confusing aspects come about but also lots of accusations by various content creators within the community. I hate seeing us so divided.
Below are the links to check out this more deeply and for further evidence of this happening and the timeline if you want to do more research (I found many of these under Izzy’s channel with Happy For Now as I couldn’t locate the ones I had gone through so this should help to clarify)
Now with Cora Reilly, it’s a bit more of a complex situation. Basically, if you aren’t aware, she was working on a book that featured a disabled heroine, now she chose not to publish the book at first because there was high criticism of some of the wording in the blurb and everyone was so up in arms about it. Now here is my personal take on it. NO author is going to write diversity or experiences that would satisfy every reader. I understand why some people were hurt by this, BUT, everyone’s personal experiences are going to be different. And it’s interesting how only certain experiences or struggles are so enforced in the bookish community but not others. (For example, I was once sexually assaulted, but authors never get this right —just sayin’, but I don’t get upset or angry about it or attempt to destroy an author’s career. I don’t believe in that or treating authors in such a manner but I also don’t see hardly the community up in arms about this either.) None of us are perfect and unless you have lived an experience, writing a story isn’t going to match everyone’s past or current experience. And also this will only keep authors in the future from attempting to write more diverse reads because when they look at how Cora Reilly was treated in an attempt to do something good, and write diverse representation, and just because it wasn’t written in the way they insisted (in this case it was just the blurb, this wasn’t even the book) many in the community tried to cancel her for it. To me this is why cancel culture in our community is toxic and poisons our community. There was a time when authors had the freedom to write what they wanted, and now that is NOT the case. I feel for authors today, that don’t have that freedom to write what they want and also its not an author’s responsibility to check our triggers. We as readers need to be responsible for what triggers us. Readers do need to have more accountability for what they consume. If there is something that triggers you and you are more sensitive towards, read the reviews and spoilers if you need to. Talk to book friends who have read the book already and ask them about it so you can see if it’s a book that will work for you. Now, maybe I am old-fashioned or old school in how I read. I mean I am not a new reader. I have been reading the majority of my life, and even when I see something that can be a struggle at times, I still get through it or if its too much for me I will set it aside and that is more than okay to do if it needs to be done. We are individuals are NOT responsible for the whole world, that is insanity. All we can control is ourselves and our actions and taking accountability for what we do in our lives. So some of the things you can do if you want to be a more accountable reader: Now I do want to point out that Cora Reilly took the suggestions to heart and is going to get some sensitive readers for this and adjust the blurb I believe. (I do know she had already planned on beta reading this with sensitivity readers to proof it beforehand but not many people realize that so who knows what is actually in the story before all this actually went down). Now You can go to the author’s instagram page where she talks about her decisions here and how she took the criticism constructively I am SO proud of her, many authors get highly defensive. But she took it to heart, and you can see how true her intentions were here. We need to recognize that and understand imperfections will happen and should be accepted. It’s not like she went out to hurt the community or certain members, she really wanted to write this story. This I truly believe was just an honest mistake on her part and she is working on fixing it. I will continue to read her (as I have loved her books so dearly).
Links to read (straight from the Author’s Instagram
First Post (Removing book from consideration after the blurb fall out )
Second Post (reconsidering releasing the book)
Below I have some tips on how to be a more trigger-aware reader and be more proactive in what you read if you have more sensitivities.
- Be More Picky—-I know I know, sometimes we just want to read whatever sounds good and all the books that look good. But sometimes if you know its not going to be enjoyable or work for you, or could have triggers, you don’t have to read it. Look for the four-five star reads and not the mediocre reads that won’t be enjoyable for you
- Read the spoilers and reviews if you can—I personally don’t find that reading spoilers spoil a book for me. I read reviews for books before I read so that I know what I am going into. There are some aspects that can be a struggle for me if I am not mentally prepared for it (example non consent or dubious consent) I am normally good as long as I know its going to happen. So if you are that type of read, read those reviews because not every authors will list all the triggers —-and for some books its impossible. But like if you are going to read a dark romance, know that it most definitely will have elements that could very highly trigger you because its dark romance and it pushes those boundaries that we don’t see in the mainstream. And they can have dozens and dozens of triggers which is why some authors don’t list them, but not everyone is triggered by the same thing as we are all different as humans and as readers. Do your due diligence and research if you get triggered badly.
- Seek Advice From a Friend–we all have bookish friends, and if you don’t know of many, go to Instagram, Goodreads and any other bookish platforms and just ask questions from other readers you may just follow. Trust me, most readers are open. I get messages all the time asking about this. Its more than okay to reach out to other readers and ask them about a book and if it contains certain factors.
- Check Author Websites-Quite a few authors these days will have the spoilers/triggers listed sometimes on their websites. This is another viable option, they won’t always put it in the book so check their website as it could be there as well.
- Look out for each other—if you read a book that you feel may trigger another reader that they will probably pick up —-give them a heads up about it if you know they are planning on reading it soon.
So tell me what are your methods on dealing with triggers? how do you feel about the situations with cancel culture and writing diversity? Do you want authors to feel free to write diversity even if its not perfect and are trying to write something with good honorable intentions? What are your thoughts on the Cora Reilly situation? (its more than okay if we disagree, lets have some open conversations about this) LET ME KNOW IN THE COMMENTS BELOW