So you guys know that last year (2014) was a crummy year for me personally for more than a few reasons. What little reading (well, 160 some books is not little but, you guys know how much and how fast I read) I did last year compared to my usual was a comfort in the midst of a lot of crummy things happening. And I'm glad I had a chance to share what books I read with you guys whether I loved them, disliked them, or was the far measure between.
It's funny that Amy Spalding just so happened to be the person who crafted that BINGO card because in the past several weeks, here's what happened:
I read "Ink is Thicker Than Water" during a mini-book marathon I had earlier last month. I liked the book, it was a 3.5 star read for me, and I'll admit, it had caveats. But I haven't even had a chance to mark it as read in my book catalog because of being swamped with day job and family stuff, still in spells of grief mode from life events of the past year, and focusing more on reading ARCs than writing reviews (though I'm actively trying to do more of the latter.) Each time I went on Goodreads to mark it, I kept forgetting because I was busy reading other books. I feel guilty because I've had it on my ARC stack for a while, and it just so happened to be one of the ones that I chose out of my TBR jar at the time I read it.
I got an ARC approval of "Kissing Ted Callihan" not even a week ago. And I was looking forward to reading that, too. I even said these very words (verbatim) when I gave feedback on the NetGalley Buzz Books compilation that Spaulding's work was featured in.
Some of the complaints I had with "Ink is Thicker Than Water" were on that BINGO card. I haven't even had a chance to think about, let alone write the review yet. How do you react when someone mocks your potential commentary on a portrayal that's possibly problematic before you even have the chance to say anything? Even if it IS a common complaint in the community? How do you not feel offended when your potential words or things that you find to be problematic are mocked relentlessly by someone who claims they love readers and reviews of all walks, but yet if you are not a certain "appropriate" age to them or have a certain perspective that agrees with the creator of the work, your opinion is deemed irrelevant and worthy to mock?
Following this incident, mind you, I feel very little motivation to write reviews for either one of these works. It's killing me on the inside right now because I want to write them, but I emotionally can't do it. I'm beyond offended; it's freaking past that point. I'm being very serious here - not overdramatic, not even emotional, just point blank - probably to the point where I'm just numb at the repetition. I feel like someone just told me that I should just shut up and read and have nothing to say about the reading experience unless it's praise or commentary meant for the author herself. Forget my personal experiences. Forget what I was taught to do in terms of voicing things that I might have a problem with - speak up.
*sighs* Look my end thoughts are going to be this - I'll find time to write these reviews eventually, but they won't be right now. Not for a little while. My love for reading is much stronger than any author's self-inflated ego who won't make room for multiple dimensions of commentary or who won't embrace the many and varied audiences that are out there that peruse said author's work. To me, the BINGO card was a mess of inflated ego musings, prejudicial attitudes towards many different audiences, and arguments meant to "bait" just to get an emotional reaction from the mention. And to me, that's not funny. That will NEVER be funny to me.
I still don't understand the laughter or humor to be had out of this. I really don't. I have an open sense of humor, and I will concede there are some humored events that go right over my head. Some may even not be my cuppa. That's fine, everyone's different and I accept that.
But why is it that so many of you laughing about don't see what's wrong with this picture, or at least the willingness to see why it's problematic?
Nonetheless, I still have my love for reading. At least I have that to hold onto, and the measure that at least someone out there, even if it may not be the author, may appreciate my reflections for what they are worth.
Voltaire said famously (paraphrased) "I may not like what you say, but I'll defend to my death your right to say it."
And true, even Spalding has the right to have her opinions and voice them the way she wants. But that doesn't mean I don't have the right to disagree, nor does it make me wrong to say I've lost a hell of a lot of respect for her.
Two cents, and none further.