I don’t think anyone’s missed it all that much – but surprise, this blog has been pretty sparse this year! I know, you’re shocked. But – I’m not. I’ve had a lot going on, and I’m simply not the type of person that can keep shouldering the pile-on of Things That Must be Done and balance it all and get it all done. You know, where it all looks shiny and quality. Something’s got to give. I’ve talked about this a few times on the blog over the years, but I’ve also tried really hard when posting not to be too much of a downer. Books and reading are not supposed to be sad, bad-mood-inducing, party-pooping piles of crap. And that’s exactly what some people would like for it to be for others.
People like that Kathleen Hale author. If you’re a part of the book blogging community, you know exactly what all that means. Because, fuck her and her knowing she’s “bonkers” and not caring how what she did was wrong. And illegal. And total bullshit. And that’s all I’ve got to say about that one in particular.
I got an email notice from my hosting company that Lurv will be up for hosting renewal in about 89 days, as I’m notified every year about this time. I’ve been contemplating most of this year whether to just shut it down. I pay for the hosting myself, and that’s just one more cost to worry about when I also have other hobbies I like to pay for. What in the heck to do.
I started Lurv as a place to be a safe space for me to talk about books. I started my online life not long after my kiddo was born because I was looking for other book lovers to talk to about books. Will anyone be surprised that I wanted to write books at one time? After all your fake gasping is done, I know, I know! The surprises, they just keep coming! But I fell unsuspectingly in with a pretty bad group headed by a person who was…almost unreal in their approach to bullying writers of a small publisher into silence. People who were new to the whole idea of publishing, some not so much but just wanting to, you know, write some books that hopefully someone would enjoy. Thankfully I got out of that situation and that’s all there is to say about that. And I have been cleansed of any need to write books for a living. That is no longer a piranha-infested pool I want to step into.
Then I met some very cool folks on am Amazon message board, and the idea was hatched to start a reader message board based on our collective love for a certain author’s vampire work. I’ve mentioned it here before in the early days, so it’s no secret. The Phade lasted for about four years before said author’s street team made it pretty much unbearable to keep it open. I met some wonderful people there who I will always remember fondly, but mostly what I remember is how awful this author’s “friends” made something that was supposed to be, like most reader spaces, a safe place to discuss books. I admit it, I gave in.
After that, I thought Lurv would be the answer. At least I could review books, talk about cover art, things like that, and in doing so, stay in a community of people that cares about books and finds joy in discussing them, whether wholly positive, wholly critical, or somewhere in between.
Except, it has become apparent eventually that nowhere is really safe. A blogger is being sued by a publisher for news that the same publisher said about themselves. Authors constantly seem to be attacking reviewers for not liking their books (nothing new, just feels like it’s escalating). Nationally lauded news sources give these kinds of people platforms in which to share their sad, horrifying stories of admitted stalking, garnering mystifying sympathy for them at the same time. It’s, understandably, enough to make any seasoned book blogger wonder: why go on?
I’ll tell you why: fuck them. They think the’re getting what they want…except, they won’t. Fuck them. Don’t give in. Keep reviewing books. Keep talking about them. Write Goodreads (as much as I loath that reader-silencing site now) status updates on how dumb the book is. Or good! Fill reviews with ridiculing GIFs illustrating reactions to books. Or fill them with rainbow-pooping cats and unicorns if you wish. Give a book the finger, or give it a hug. Tell us never to read a book again or tell us we must read it now!!!!! And why. Always why. Because we care. We care about what you have to say. We want to share that with you. There are still plenty of authors, readers, bloggers, booksellers, and publishing workers who genuinely care. Hell, I wrote this because I’m tired of all the drama and my right hand is injured to boot! Because I decided after contemplating for a long while whether it was worth keeping on keeping on. And I have my decision.
Fuck the rest. To tiny little pieces.
Now let’s go read some books and discuss the absolute shit out of them.
ETA: I do want to be clear that I completely understand anyone wanting to steer clear of controversy and keep their privacy intact. You should always do what you, personally, need to do.