What are examples of shelves that will be deleted?
From a Goodreads announcement on shelves being deleted from the platform.
So there’s a pretty sad episode going down over in Goodreads land. You may have read about it here. Between scary stalking behaviour and Goodreads needing to specify that the shelf names above are personal attacks on authors it seems the community has gone to a bad place. It also makes me worried about being so open with my identity online, which I do for work anyway.
Here’s the thing. I hate writing negative things about books. I hate it. I don’t want to. For this reason I have only given one book a one star review. But if I write fraudulently glowing reviews of everything I read none of them will be worth anything. Not to me, not to other potential readers and not to authors. I am a writer by trade, I consider my words to be important. I even try to spell them right most of the time, which is more than I can say for some novelists who need to have a stern conversation with their editors.
What I hate most about writing negative reviews is that I can imagine how I would feel if I were that author. It would hurt, I know it. There’s nothing wrong with being “butthurt” as the good people of the internet would phrase it. If you didn’t care you wouldn’t feel butthurt, but what’s the point of doing something you don’t care about?
However. Why should we read authors who make us feel frightened? I read a comment by a reviewer who claimed the author she gave a negative review to went to her town and hit her on the head. What are these authors doing to their business?
The point of this rambling post is to ask you, be you reader, reviewer, author or both, how do you feel about negative reviews? Is there a way in which I can write reviews, positive or negative, to be more productive than hurtful or enraging? Are reviewers or authors actually in jeopardy or is this a big beat up?