Cue the drama channels’ wii music soundtrack.
So, in case you guys weren’t aware, there has been a lot going on on Book Twitter in the last…well, forever. There’s always a controversy or some bit of drama going on in the world of Book Twitter. While many of these issues are really important. I thought I would bring a bit of light and fun by redirecting the negativity towards a more positive topic in the form of book recommendations!
I was honoured to have Joel from Fictional Fates help me out with some recommendations, to make sure we are recommending a wide variety of books with bipoc, poc and own voices authors. His new YouTube channel just smashes content out of the park for me, and I’m proud that I can call him a friend.
Disclaimer: These book recommendations are in no way, shape, or form, here to invalidate the legitimate issues and problems in the world and in this community. Just a way I thought I could create an open and positive space to promote what I believe in; particularly basic human rights I think we all deserve.
Authors Attacking Reviewers & Reviewers Attacking Authors
There have been multiple instances of pretty crappy behaviour between authors & reviewers. Nobody has ever been only on the good or the bad side, there has been bad blood here and there. From reviewers cancelling authors to authors stalking reviewers and more.
To counter this horrible situation, we thought we’d recommend books that really deep dived into the themes of empathy and mutual respect. Let’s bring back some humanity and experience a novel that can show us what it’s like to step into someone else’s shows for a while, to understand their circumstances and personal experiences a little better.
All experiences are valid, and everyone has their own beliefs, values and histories in this world. There is no need for hate, abuse or cancelling. Let us instead look at holding accountability, open education and open discussion. Our 2 book picks are A Thousand Perfect Notes by C.G. Drews and The Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi.
Both of these books include narratives that are emotionally charged and with various obstacles to overcome. ATPN is about Beck, who’s experiencing a coming of age as he pursues his passion for composing music despite his violent mother that forces him to play piano pieces of hours on end. CBAB is about Zélie’s fight to bring back magic to her people and strike against a monarchy creating strife in its attempt to eradicate magic once and for all.
Authors Being Transphobic
How about, we just not? Let’s just not be transphobic. If anything, we should be embracing and supporting the community and why not do that by reading these two gorgeous books that feature a trans and a non-binary character as the protagonists! Cemetery Boys is about a Latinx trans boy on a mission to get rid of a ghost he summoned; well, the wrong ghost, who happens to be the resident bad boy. This book comes out in September and you bet that it’s on our TBRs.
The second recommendation is I Wish You All The Best by Mason Deaver. In this book, we meet Ben, who’s recently been kicked out after coming out to his parents as non-binary. Stuck living with their estranged older sister, Ben attempts to finish high school under the radar until an unexpected friendship with Nathan begins.
People Feeling Excluded from Twitter Group Chats
While it might seem like you’re feeling left out, everybody has their own tribe and a specific one may be just wasn’t for you. We shouldn’t hold grudges or have beef for others creating a community for themselves. Let’s have safe spaces for everyone, and by that, I mean let’s read books about huge heists like Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo and Gilded Wolves by Roshani Chokshi! Both about different types of heists, these books are all about exploring friendship within groups and how in many ways, we all hold an important role in the communities we are part of.
Male Authors Being Held Accountable for Sexism
The greatest thing about feminism? Bringing attention to the fact that we don’t need no man and we deserve all the love, equal rights and will not tolerate being treated otherwise. In this first recommendation, we’re hitting up the romance genre for a steamy rom-com that is all about female empowerment. Get a Life, Chloe Brown by Talia Hibbert is a recent favourite that embodies romance and female empowerment as meet Chloe; a chronically ill computer geek with the goal of getting a life which may potentially involve also getting a love-interest.
For the second recommendation, we have Cinderella Is Dead by Kalynn Bayron, where we’re in a world where men continue to choose their wives at a big annual ball and our main character Sophia just won’t have any of that, especially when she’d rather marry her childhood best friend. All about strong women breaking the constructs built around them, this ought to explode with girl power.
Reviewers Cancelling Books for Being “Problematic”
There have been many books that have been called out for being problematic and there will be many in the future – but canceling a book for its problematic themes is a little harsh because censoring only hinders discussion. Why cancel and remove a book that’s problematic, instead of discussing why it’s problematic and encouraging others to understand what could’ve been done better? For this, we are recommending books that are all about protesting for equal rights and against censorship; from censorship of books such as Banned Book Club to censorship of rights with The Hate U Give. I won’t say more because you should just check them out regardless of their synopsis since they are both so important.
“The simple fact that a book contains repugnant ideas is not in itself, in my opinion, a reason to condemn it. Literature has a long history as a place to confront our ugliness, and its role in provoking both thought and change in thought is a critical one.”Vicky Smith
Booktubers Plagiarising Book Bloggers
Plagiarism is never cool, and unfortunately, that can occur due to a lack of morals, self-esteem, self-confidence, and self-pride. So for this, we are recommending books that are all about celebrating who you are and gaining the confidence in yourself you should always have.
First is Frankly In Love, which is also about Frank gaining confidence in himself and his Korean heritage with his family as he fake dates a fellow Korean friend to hide his interracial relationship. Next is You Should See Me In A Crown, that’s all about a young woman going for prom queen to get a scholarship and finding more about herself in her journey to trying to get out of her small town.
Cancel Culture, Picking Sides & General Book Discourse
In a discussion, aside from the basic moral discussions (i.e. basic human rights), there shouldn’t be pressure to pick a side. A healthy discussion is being able to talk about what we all feel and think about a topic without fear of repercussions. Cancel culture may be toxic but it’s the harsh reality of how people are bringing about consequences to people with influence and people with a voice, who should ideally use that for good.
As great as book twitter can be, it’s not always the best environment for a book discussion and things can easily escalate, especially when short tweets are taken out of context. A few sentences within 280 characters are not enough to discuss something and we should be more open to people explaining and discussing rather than judging them harshly. It’s not a myth that words hurt, and more than ever they’ve become dangerous to people’s careers and livelihoods. Thoughts on Tomes did a video much better on this, (see here), which is far more eloquent than what I could say in regards to how we interact with others on book twitter and the kind of negative environment it can foster.
With these recommendations, I will emphasise the big message here – and that’s to be kind, have common sense, and remember what really matters. There are always going to be, just absolutely shit people in this world, especially online where others feel like they have more power behind anonymity. Our book community is full of such amazing people and we should work together to use our voices for good and lift each other up
What did you think of our book recommendation? Are there any favs you enjoy that might fit these scandals? What books would you recommend for any scandals we might’ve missed?
Until next time,