Readers' Favorite

May 31, 2013

ArmchairBEA: Ethics and Non-fiction

I'm doing a double header in this post for ArmchairBEA. 
Chairs, Reading
Chairs, Reading (Photo credit: moogiemedia)

Ethics and the Blogger

I tend to stay away from the big dust-ups that have occurred in the blog world over the past year. I don't need my hobby to become embroiled in controversy, but that's not to say I haven't seen some questionable behavior. Thankfully it seems that most bloggers tend to stick with the basic ethics of writing. 

Give credit where credit is due

It seems every few months a big blow out about plagiarism comes around. Remember all that stuff you learned in high school about citing what you write - it still applies today, on the internet. Actually it is easier to cite stuff when blogging as you can directly link to it and you don't have to worry about the proper citation format. I'm sure you would love the shout out if someone used your stuff, so do likewise for the people you are quoting. 

Be honest

Seal of the United States Federal Trade Commis...
Seal of the United States Federal Trade Commission. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Going along with giving credit, also be honest and open with your readers. If you get a book or are compensated some how for your post disclose it. It's actually required by FTC policy. Letting your readers know any connections you have with the author/publisher/publicist is a good practice and really nothing to hide. It could be more damaging if after the fact people realized you were being paid for your endorsement.

Show professionalism 

Negative reviews is another hot button topic that seems to raise its ugly head every few months. If you don't like a book, that's perfectly fine. I say write the review. There is a need in the marketplace for negative reviews - something you didn't like about the book may be the exact reason someone else loves it. Kind of like me and sex scenes. If you want to write reviews for books you don't like, here's a couple of points to keep in mind:
  • No personal attacks! You might not like the writing style, but that really doesn't have anything to do with who the author is as a person.
  • Try to find the positives. Like I said you may not like the book, but someone else might. What might someone else find likeable about the book? 
  • Everyone is entitled to their opinion. Be respectful of other reviewers' thoughts on the book

Genre Talk: Non-fiction

When it comes to non-fiction, this is where my truly eclectic reading choices are really seen. Here's a sampling of some of the non-fiction I've reviewed (many are courtesy of Lucinda of Lucinda Literary)

  • Environmental Ethics: An Anthology
  • Eats, Shoots & Leaves by Lynne Truss
  • Vaccine-Nation by Andreas Moritz
  • Going Solo by Eric Klinenberg 
  • You Are What You Wear by Jennifer Baumgartner
  • Attached by Levine Amir and Rachel Heller
A couple of memoirs:
  • The Slave Next Door by Theresa Flores
  • The Watchmaker's Daughter by Sonia Taitz
And a couple of blogging books
  • My Blog Traffic Sucks! by Steve Scott (great book!)
  • StumbleUpon Exposed (Not worth your time)

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  1. Thanks for sharing all those non-fiction reads I haven't read any of those, and am always on the lookout for something I might like.

    Tanya Patrice

  2. I think I'm (turning into or just realising that I am) a geek. I love books on language, linguistics, and the like. Absolutely loved "Eats, Shoots & Leaves"!

  3. I so agree about being honest with book you don't like. I recently wrote a negative review of the new Joyce Carol Oates. It was a little daunting to take on the work of a literary giant, but I think my views were legitimate. I was professional and fair.

    Thanks for your post.

  4. I loved Eats, Shoots and Leaves!!!! Great post on ethics! Happy reading!

  5. I completely agree. I think publishers and authors need to know what we as readers didn't like or didn't think worked. How can anyone get better and grow if they don't receive some CONSTRUCTIVE criticism. Nice post.

    Sandy @ Somewhere Only We Know

  6. I don't think blogger ethics are really any different than IRL ethics. Or at least they shouldn't be. If you wouldn't steal something or not credit someone in real life you shouldn't do so on a blog. If you wouldn't tear someone down in real life, you shouldn't do it in a review. I try to always be about the book and not the author.

    1. I don't if it is the anonymity feel about posting online or maybe they are like this is real life, but they forget that blogging is a public forum and common courtesy should be observed.

  7. I'm not a big fan of non-fiction, but am putting together a list of recommended titles to check out. I need to expand my reading horizons, so might as well start with books I know others loved! Thanks for the heads up!