For the first time since Monday when I began my foray into blogging about the two daily designated Armchair BEA topics, I won’t be separating the posts. Why? Well, for one, when it comes to the non-fiction genre, I have never been a big fan so have little to say. As for the topic of ethics in blogging, I probably have too much to say and would thus launch into another rant, not so mini this time! LOL! So I’ll cover both subjects within this one post.
Before I do that, here are the relevant links to what has been happening with Armchair BEA, both on their blog with the links to the hundreds who are participating, and on my blog.
My blog post telling all about it: Armchair BEA Begins!
Discussion of “genre fiction” with my list of favs
Discussion of Literary Fiction with list of favs
Ethics in Blogging
Really, this should be simple: Be honest, be kind, be respectful, and be lawful. Or, to place it into even more basic terms, follow the Biblical Golden Rule–
Therefore all things whatsoever would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them. Matthew 7:12
I can’t separate being a blogger from being an author because primarily anything I post on my blog has to do with presenting my product in a positive light. Fortunately I am a naturally “nice” person who truly doesn’t ever want to hurt a fellow human being’s feelings. We all know there are those times when “keeping it real” or “tough love” or whatever cliche you like in that vein is necessary, and actually for the best. Yet that still doesn’t require being mean or purposefully hurtful. There are ways to soften the blow.
Perhaps the above paragraph would translate to some as more to do with morality or human decency rather than true ethics in the sense of legalities and the like. To me it all goes hand in hand. If each person approached every situation in their life with the concept of simple kindness – the Golden Rule – as their guide, our world would be a much happier place. Call me Pollyanna, but I truly do believe that.
As for book blogs, where I see this concept of simple kindness too often lacking is in two prime areas:
One is the desire of the blogger to be witty or edgy, which leads to writing a blog post – no matter what the topic – that can have a cynical bent. It may be accidental, but if not careful in word choice and “tone,” people will be hurt. Sadly it is too often not accidental, some bloggers proudly wearing their “snark” or “bitchy” badge and going out of their way to blast someone, either personally and blatant, or indirectly through a book review.
And that leads me to the second area – Honesty, kindness, integrity, and, yes, ethics, in rendering a book review. Does this mean a reviewer can never write a review of a book they disliked? Of course not! But it does mean, IMO, that an ethical reviewer should,
a) point out why the book was disliked in a thoughtful manner that is actually helpful to the person trying to decide whether to buy that book,
b) should place the emphasis on it being the reviewer’s opinion, and not a universal absolute that the novel is the worst thing ever written since the dawn of time,
c) should give specific reasons that are honest, clear, and not lies or exaggerations for effect,
d) keep in mind that the author of that book is a fellow human being with feelings who, regardless of whether you liked the book, actually WROTE one and deserves at least a modicum of respect.
Those are my big issues in regards to blogging ethics. There are many, many others, of course, and I have no doubt the discussions on this topic will be VERY interesting!
I am a HUGE fan of history and that includes learning about real people as well as places, fashion, geography, politics, etc. Even in school I adored writing research papers on a historical figure. Crazy, I know! I remember when my daughter was assigned to write a paper on Mary Queen of Scots, and I was over the moon excited to help her with the research, all while she looked at me as if I was off my rocker. LOL!
It is rather surprising, then, that reading a whole biography or a book covering the dry details of a time in history are really not my thing. I would much rather learn about the Civil War by reading Gone With the Wind!
That being said, I have read a few in my lifetime that I have greatly enjoyed for various reasons.
He was only twenty-eight when he died in a plane crash with two of his small children, but singer/songwriter Keith Green had already created a legacy of music and inspiration that would outlive him. A spiritual revolutionary, he found freedom through Jesus, not religion, and spent his last years convincing others to refuse to accept the status quo and instead to bring compassion and honesty back to the church. He touched people through vibrant lyrics in songs, and Last Days Ministries, which he and his wife Melody founded, went on to challenge thousands of people to take to the mission fields of the world.
Hailed as “the world’s preacher,” Billy Graham has enjoyed a career that has spanned six decades and his ministry of faith has touched the hearts and souls of millions. In Just As I Am Graham reveals his life story in what the Chicago Tribune calls “a disarmingly honest autobiography.” Now, in this revised and updated edition, we hear from this “lion in winter” (Time) on his role over the past ten years as America’s pastor during our national crisis of the Oklahoma bombing and 9/11; his knighthood; his passing of the torch to his son, Franklin, to head the organization that bears his name; and his commitment to do the Lord’s work in the years of his and his wife Ruth’s physical decline.
Number-one bestselling author Ken Follett tells the inspiring, true story of the Middle East hostage crisis that began in 1979, and of the unconventional means Ross Perot used to save his countrymen.
With a suitcase full of Jane Austen novels en español, Amy Elizabeth Smith set off on a yearlong Latin American adventure: a traveling book club with Jane. In six unique, unforgettable countries, she gathered book-loving new friends— taxi drivers and teachers, poets and politicians— to read Emma, Sense and Sensibility, and Pride and Prejudice.
Whether sharing rooster beer with Guatemalans, joining the crowd at a Mexican boxing match, feeding a horde of tame iguanas with Ecuadorean children, or tangling with argumentative booksellers in Argentina, Amy came to learn what Austen knew all along: that we’re not always speaking the same language— even when we’re speaking the same language. But with true Austen instinct, she could recognize when, unexpectedly, she’d found her own Señor Darcy.
**This book is special to me, not only because it is wonderful, but because I am a friend of Amy’s, so I know how truly incredible her adventure.
This fascinating, lively guide clarifies the sometimes bizarre maze of rules, regulations, and customs that governed everyday life in Victorian England. Author Daniel Pool provides countless intriguing details (did you know that the “plums” in Christmas plum pudding were actually raisins?) on the Church of England, sex, Parliament, dinner parties, country house visiting, and a host of other aspects of nineteenth-century English life — both “upstairs” and “downstairs.”
In this commanding book, Pulitzer Prize–winning author Robert K. Massie sweeps readers back to the extraordinary world of Imperial Russia to tell the story of the Romanovs’ lives: Nicholas’s political naïveté, Alexandra’s obsession with the corrupt mystic Rasputin, and little Alexis’s brave struggle with hemophilia. Against a lavish backdrop of luxury and intrigue, Massie unfolds a powerful drama of passion and history—the story of a doomed empire and the death-marked royals who watched it crumble.
Who Moved the Stone? by Frank Morison
Mimosa by Amy Carmichael
The Agony and the Ecstasy by Irving Stone
The Diary of Anne Frank
Georgette Heyer’s Regency World by Jennifer Kloester
And now it is time for you to share a non-fiction favorite.