Housekeeping, now with 110% Extra Rant
I want to step outside the reviewing stuff for a moment and do the talking about the blog and writing and reading in general thing. Firstly, I want to say thanks for all the support and encouragement and just all-round engagement from those of you reading and commenting. Talking about books, and writing, and, well, sex, is rarely boring for me, so it’s great seeing some conversation happening around these things.
Secondly, I’m sorry about the infrequent updates. There isn’t an excuse, the reasoning is that I have a fair bit going on in my life and I work in a job that’s fairly full on and which manages to eat into my off-work time –in that I’m often asleep—and therefore won’t be reading or reviewing (or writing!) with the speed I’d like to be. I also like to have several things on the go at once. In amongst reading, writing, skating, working, sleeping, interacting with my kids and trying to write, I have a serious love of gaming, and it’s been months since I played anything properly. Mass Effect 2 has stolen my heart, and it’s a rare moment when I can get use of the TV and gaming consoles in my house, so when those opportunities arise, I grab them with both hands and go into defence mode. I also read other stuff: there are at least three manga serials I’m completely nutty about, and I love my non-fiction. Someone told me the other day that “the more you do, the more you get done”—I’m not sure about that, but it means that anything I do takes longer than it should.
(Curiously, someone commented about “where do [I] get the time to do such lengthy reviews?” and the simple answer is: I don’t. I grab time from other things, and I don’t do plenty of things a lot of people do, like go out to movies, watch TV, take vacations, do social shit, etc. I also work in a job where I sometimes get time to read around work. [No complaint about this, either: it’s just about choices and preferred activities. Also: I type and think very quickly. Ever heard of NaNoWriMo, that thing where you write a 50,000 word novel in November? One year I set the benchmark higher because—well, there were a few reasons for it, actually—I felt like it, and I wound up writing 200,000 words. I never finished the novel, either. And I actually developed some serious RSI, but overall, I wasn’t losing sleep or missing work or anything else to do it. I was actually disappointed: I’d aimed to get 250,000 words done.])
Thirdly, I’ve seen the two subsequent Shades novels at Savers, and since The Administration is seven books of awesome, I guess I could keep on doing the Shades series. Unless I hit a point with them like I did in the third book of Twilight, where I went, “You know, I just can’t read this any more. I don’t care.” Perhaps having the motivating factor of getting to snark on the internet to drive me on might make me see these through to the end. I seriously cannot wait to get into some of the later Administration stories and hope people can stick with me on the series: I still believe it’s the most underrated thing in the literary world ever. I believe in it like Warrick believes in the sim. It breaks my heart and frustrates me, though, that it’s only got such a small audience.
Also, I want to do some meta-ish posts about stuff, but am worried that I’ll start talking about stuff that happens far further down the track in the Administration series, so I’m really trying to hold off this.
And finally, when I announced that I was doing a readthrough of Shades, a friend of mine pointed me towards another blog which is doing the same thing. I make a point of NOT reading Jennifer Arnimtrout’s reviews until after I’ve done my own, which just adds to the motivation in getting my own finished. Anyway, if you like this stuff, Jennifer’s reviews are awesome. (http://jenniferarmintrout.blogspot.com.au/p/jen-reads-50-shades-of-grey.html?zx=edd7f0f80aa36f6a) They’re very funny, and I find it hilarious, and kind of haunting that sometimes we both pick up on similar things. (The Lion King, for example.) The fact that people on the internet have attacked her for daring criticise the series is mind-boggling, though, and if anyone needs some love, it’s her. (I don’t know her, btw, and haven’t read her books, but her blogging is lots of fun.)
Unfortunately, though, Jen’s hate haters. 😦 The accusations that criticism equals cyberbullying are baffling and unfair: criticism = saying “This stinks” or “This stinks and this is why.” Cyberbullying: saying “You stink and you are a horrible person who should jump under a bus/we’re going to kill your kids and rape your cat because we don’t like what you say/OMG, you’re [insert characteristic that’s not hurting anyone else in here]? Die, you horrible hellbound evildoer.” Hell, YouTube comments offer more examples of cyberbullying than snark blogs do.
Frankly, unless you’re being unfairly mean to someone on the internet or advocating doing awful things, I don’t think you deserve meanness and death threats. Picking on and laughing at terrible writing (or other public displays of awfulness) mightn’t be in everyone’s taste, but it’s not hurting anyone. E. L. James made millions out of the books, so I think the joke’s on us anyway. If I hear someone saying that she should be degraded/injured/raped/killed for the awfulness that is the series, then fine, I’ll flip the shits. But I haven’t heard anyone saying that stuff, just laughing at the terribleness of the book.
Let’s face it: if you put something out publicly, you’re asking for a response. And you have no right to dictate if and how people respond to you. You don’t want your book laughed at? Take measures to minimise the chances of that happening. Research things. Get an editor to read it first. Take their suggestions on board. You don’t want argument? Go out of your way to remain silent. (No matter WHAT you say, if someone wants to be offended by it or start drama and you’re in their line of sight, you can guarantee you’ll piss off someone. Maybe that’s just my experience of fandom talking.)
Equally, I’m not saying people have to love what Jennifer Armintrout and other readthrough bloggers including yours truly are doing, and we’re just as open to criticism as E. L. James is. What I am saying is there’s a difference between saying “I respectfully disagree” or “I don’t really like what you’re doing,” or “You made a mistake in [xyz]” and “You are a hideous example of humanity and you are going to burn in hell for this” and variations thereof. And for everyone whinging about snark blogs and asking how people have the time to write them: couldn’t you be using YOUR time to do something other than read them and hate? I don’t trawl the internet looking for stuff to piss me off: I have limited time on this planet and I’d rather spend it doing things I enjoy. (And yes, I enjoy snarking. And I enjoy making other people amused. And I enjoy being useful if it’s no skin off my nose. To some, my blog offers this… so, hey: whatever diddles yer skittle.)
Anyway, where are the real issues to get pissed about and to fight for? While I’m writing this, CNN is talking about how terrible it is that rapists are getting punished, shelter animals are being posted on daily “kill lists” and networked all over FaceBook in the hope that people will come through for them in 11th hour pardons, and twelve year old girls who know even less about sex than Ana Steele are being called dirty fucking whores by random men on the internet. Surely these things are more worthy of your time and anger than whinging about someone rolling their eyes at a book you happen to like, right? (I like disagreement and debate, but some of the nastiness I’ve seen levelled at Jen has been ridiculous. Honestly, people: if you’re reading Shades, one assumes—and hopes—you’re adults. Fucking well act like it.)
All right, rant over; I didn’t intend for things to get that long, but hey, I didn’t once use the word “fervently” or talk about my inner goddess or my subconscious, so I’m still in a good mood. Catch you on the flipside, folks: where we get the invasive potential mother-in-law who taught Grey about people’s boundaries!