Friday, May 31, 2013

Armchair BEA: Ethics & Non-Fiction

Heavy topics today!

So blogging ethics. Hm. Folks, once you put something on the internet it's out there for everyone to see. I try to use the think before you speak thing in blogging as well and frequently rewrite things to try and be a bit more even toned and such. If there's anything I'm a bit on the fence about, in terms of content or tone, I tend to remove it just to be on the safe side. I don't censor myself but I try to be aware of the potential issues that could crop up.

Plagiarism is a hot button topic. It's not something that I've had a whole lot of experience with - I post my opinions on books, there's not a whole lot of grey area there in my opinion. When I do post an image, a synopsis, or anything that's not my own, I link back to the source and I post the source as credit. Giving credit where credit is due is a courtesy at minimum. It takes, what, two extra seconds to add in a little bit of extra text? Good manners as well as covering all your bases. Ultimately, though, I guess I don't really put a whole lot of thought into it because I don't understand it. If you're blogging, I assume you're blogging for you (I am). So I can't wrap my head around someone who would try to pass off someone else's material as their own. There just doesn't seem to be any excuse.

As far as review ethics are concerned, I'm not sure what to say. Everything posted here on the blog is my own opinion but I do come from a bookseller background. What does this mean? It means that even if I dislike a book, I'm hard pressed not to find something positive about it simply because I understand that I may not be the right audience for the title. It doesn't mean that I give glowing five star reviews to books that I hate (and I rarely hate a book) but it does mean that if the writing is good and the story is interesting but doesn't quite hit the spot for me, that's what I'm going to say. I receive review copies. I'm not paid or pressured to write positive reviews. I am a very eclectic reader and I choose which titles I want to read out of my own stack of ARCs and purchased books, so I do generally enjoy what I'm reading. I'm not assigned books so there's less of a chance that I'm going to completely detest what I'm reading. If a book is terrible I might actually opt not to write a post. It's my choice.

Onto the genre topic: Non-Fiction

I'm incredibly picky when it comes to non fiction. First, I like non fiction that reads like fiction. A prose approach to the narrative itself, can't be too academic, and has to be entertaining.

My non fiction tastes extend pretty much to food related topics (food memoirs are super fun!), anthropology related topics, and virus related topics.

Some faves are:

Richard Preston's The Hot Zone. Holy moly! This book really does read like fiction and I've been tempted to pick up Preston's other non fiction titles as a result. I've yet to at this point (though I have read his one fiction release and I'm a big fan of his brother's work).

Jon Ronson's The Psychopath Test. Really fantastic and super funny (in a twisted sort of way). Definitely one I highly recommend.

Heather Pringle's The Mummy Congress. This one's been out for a while but it remains one of my favorite reads on the subject.


Holly Harris said...

I "love" (heavy sarcasm) how people want "privacy" and then post stuff on the internet. Internet and privacy is an oxymoron! They don't coexist and people should not be naive to think they can.

Good thoughts!
Holly @ Words Fueled by Love

Charlene C said...

A great post on ethics - and I agree with everything you say. I too try to keep my reviews even toned because with reading so many book blogs and reviews I am definitely aware how people's tastes differ and what I absolutely don't like in the book, someone else will love.

Anonymous said...

I am not a big non-fiction fan, but I loved The Widow Clicquot - it reads like historical fiction. You might enjoy it. Happy reading!