Responding to Book Drama, or Why I Mostly Stay Quiet // Discussion Post

Book drama is a thing. And I don’t think it should be any surprise that drama happens. Every community has drama. I mean, just look at Alexander Hamilton and Thomas Jefferson. So much drama between these guys. We get two rap battles, a gleeful take down AND a public scandal all because these two geniuses just loved drama. Thanks for making history fun, Alex and Tom. 

Okay back to books because Hamilton is awesome but we’re not here to keep chatting about my favorite founding father. (technically 2nd favorite because 4th grade me fell in love with James Madison)

Since I joined the book community, I keep seeing drama happening. Drama between readers. Drama between authors. Drama from outside the community, criticizing the community.

Most of the time, I read the public response, maybe watch a video, and just ignore it. I don’t tend to write response posts, or talk much on twitter, or make booktube videos defending or attacking anyone.

Is this a good response from me? Should we respond to drama? What’s the best response? I have lots of thoughts about book community drama, and since I haven’t talked about it much, I think it’s time to write a discussion post.

Book drama can address important things

I should start by clarifying that I don’t always think book drama is silly or over the top. Sometimes, I think it brings to light problems in the community that need to be addressed.
An author harassing a book reviewer, or how publishers ignore diverse reviews for mainstream white reviewers, or how teen voices are ignored in a book community about YA books. All important topics that need addressed.

Every community has problems. Conversation helps elevate minority voices, and hopefully, constructive conversation will help fix these problems.

Does every conversation equal drama? I DON’T THINK SO!!! Okay, this makes me a tiny bit frustrated. When someone is hurt, sharing how a community has hurt them is NOT drama. Problems exist and conversations about these problems is part of the solution to fixing said problems.

So my whole point about book drama addressing important thing? HAHAHA, it’s kind of a trick! Because this whole section? I don’t think it’s actually about drama. It’s really about IMPORTANT CONVERSATIONS!

Book Drama can be Overdone or Repetitive 

People are always mad. It’s true. there’s never going to be 100000% agreement about any issue. And in a community like the book community, there’s huge variety of people! Older readers, younger readers, and different cultures and backgrounds and just different people.

But just because we’re different doesn’t mean there should be drama! It’s okay for people to disagree and view life from different views. This is good and should actually grow the community.

Sometimes, however, it seems like people don’t like other opinions and attack fellow readers. Or create drama by critiquing people’s personalities.

And the criticisms and attacks seem to be very, very similar. For example, I see the argument over audio books ALL the time and criticism over people buying so many books and materialism. Some drama arguments just feel exhausted. Everything that can be said about the subject seems to already be said.

When I see an argument I’ve seen several times, I kind of just ignore it. I “read” audiobooks and I know some people say this isn’t reading. But when I see this argument on twitter, I just sigh and keep scrolling.

I don’t need to defend myself. I’m probably not going to change anyone’s mind, and engaging in this conversation will just exhaust me and rehash an age old argument. 

Should we Ignore Some Things? 

Sometimes, I think if we ignore things, it helps invalidate it. By engaging with a really stupid critique, we’re saying that the argument is valid and worth dealing with.
I mean, if someone is just racist, do we need to tell them how terrible they are? Don’t the genuine members of the community already hate this kind of prejudice?

When I saw the annoying criticism of booktubers wearing make up, I just rolled my eyes. Old guys always, probably since the dawn of time, fuss at other people for enjoying life and wearing make up.. Calling them out just makes us have to listen to them defend this stupidity. So, should we mess with calling it out?

On the other hand, some things should just not be ignored. Harassing readers, and spreading false information, hurting members of the community. Yes, call that kind of behavior out.

I know this idea, deciding when to ignore and when to engage and call people out is a HARD decision.
There’s this old proverb that I used to read and be super confused by.

Do not answer a fool according to his folly,
    or you yourself will be just like him.
Answer a fool according to his folly,
    or he will be wise in his own eyes.

Now, as an adult, it’s still funny to read, but I totally get what this proverb is talking about! Especially when it comes to drama!

Other People have Better Responses

Often when I see a terrible position on the internet, I am immediately frustrated. And I pretty much immediately check to see how people have responded. Most of the time, someone has called the problem out really, really well.

I literally have nothing more to add 😂 Sometimes, I just clap my hands and retweet. I might comment a really insightful, I agree!


But seriously, if someone is dishing on minority communities, I think it is better to elevate diverse voices. When criticized, let these communities speak up for themselves.

Yes, I know people’s voices can be silenced, and have been silenced throughout all of drama’s history. (by the way, I’m pretty sure Achilles invented “worst way to respond to drama, ever”)

But the wonderful thing abut the internet, is that it gives everyone a chance to speak. And as a mostly privileged person, I really want to listen to other perspectives and opinions.

Needing a Drama Break

I haven’t logged into my personal twitter account in a month. Because I follow a lot of progressives on twitter, because mostly, I support the progressive agenda. But it becomes overwhelming. Every day, someone is mad about something the president and his administration has down. And I get it, there’s a ton of bad stuff happening. It’s hard to not be constantly mad. Really mad.

But the constant outrage, it’s exhausting. I become too cynical, and I live in a political conservative area, so I already feel at odds with everyone. I don’t want to hate people or constantly distrust my classmates. I needed a break from the online outrage. Outrage leads to mental exhaustion which leads to me just scrolling online more, which leads me to not actually working in real life to fight problematic things.

Now, book drama is definitely not as vitriolic and angry as political drama. But it’s still drama. And the best thing for my health is to not engage. Engage in conversations that are good for my mental health and help make reading and blogging fun.

Online life is fun. But if I don’t leave twitter and create good work, then drama has won. If I don’t leave political twitter and talk to my parents about how the president’s policies are hurting minority communities, then drama has won. If I am too frustrated to converse online with my friends and support other creators and readers, then drama has won.

Whelp, I think I have exhausted my discussion skills. Who knew I could write 1,300 words about drama when I normally avoid drama like the plague? 

Okay, I knew I could write a lot because I respond to drama in my head ALL the time! Then I never post my responses, so I should blame myself for writing such a long post. Because I’ve had all these thoughts for MONTHS.

I am laughing at myself because I think, I’m going to avoid book drama, and then I wrote a whole 1,000 word plus post about drama. Wow, go me.

But I’m a redhead and gingers tend do drama pretty well. I mean, just look at Thomas Jefferson, the most redheaded founding father and his innate ability to be dramatic about EVERYTHING with EVERYONE.

lets chat

How do you respond to book community drama? Does drama frustrate or tire you out? Insert other questions that my December brain can’t currently think of.

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7 Comments

  1. December 6, 2018 / 10:55 am

    “But just because we’re different doesn’t mean there should be drama! It’s okay for people to disagree and view life from different views. This is good and should actually grow the community.

    Sometimes, however, it seems like people don’t like other opinions and attack fellow readers. Or create drama by critiquing people’s personalities.”

    Amen to that!!!! I had to take a prolonged break from social media as a whole because of the unnecessary drama. Not all of it was due to the book community, but it was still part of that. Some people only care about the shares and the Rts, and don’t even consider the toxic negativity these kind of actions spread.

  2. December 6, 2018 / 3:48 pm

    Drama is ridiculous. Seriously. We’re all adults. And some people need to start acting like adults. I understand sharing opinions, creating dialogue, and opening conversations about important topics. However, the mudslinging and muckracking is crazy and ridiculous. It’s a shame that many (not all) use the Internet to troll others and stir up unnecessary emotion and havoc. Ugh. Great post!!

  3. December 6, 2018 / 5:38 pm

    This is such a great post! I agree that sometimes ignoring a thing that’s causing drama can be helpful to invalidate said thing. I feel this way occasionally about articles people write about YA when they obviously don’t know anything about YA. I think it’s pointless to talk about those types of articles and give them any validity and bring more attention to them when they just hurt the community (though honestly it can be fun to bash them and point out how wrong they are).

    I think you make such an important point about people expressing hurt over problematic elements of a book not being “drama.” People treat it like drama but really it’s someone expressing an opinion that needs to be heard.

  4. December 7, 2018 / 3:39 pm

    Same! I don’t engage in the drama for much the same reasons as you. It doesn’t feel worth it to me and taking the time to respond only causes stress. It’s not good for my health to be part of the drama so I stay out of it.

  5. December 7, 2018 / 10:45 pm

    Ugh. I despise drama. Book drama. Political drama. Drama of any sort. It just makes me want to stay in my room with my books and my laptop and write and read and never come out again. XD But I have to say that I agree with pretty much everything you have said! I tend to leave myself out of all the drama when it comes to books and all that good stuff, but sometimes I like to read a post or watch a video dealing with current issues in the book/writing community, simply so I can stay afloat on what’s happening and changing. And I think you are so right. Some things that are made out to be drama are simply conversations that need to be had, and aren’t actually drama at all. So basically I just really like this post, and to reiterate that lovely GIF…I’ll have to say I agree. XD

  6. Connie Hollis
    December 8, 2018 / 10:10 am

    Elizabeth, I always enjoy your blogs even though I don’t do blogs myself. Your point is well taken and I for one avoid all drama especially political drama that I am so tired of.

  7. December 9, 2018 / 2:51 am

    I really love this post! Personally, I tend to stay out of the drama because I feel like it’s exhausting and even just looking at it all is bad for my mental health overall. I’m mostly privileged too, so just like you do, I also want and would rather listen to other people’s opinions on some matter, whose voice is more important than mine is 🙂

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