The Sunday Post AKA What’s on my (Mostly Virtual) Nightstand 10-26-14

Sunday Post

The internets, or at least the book bloggers section, exploded this week with the continuing saga of YA Author Kathleen Hale’s stalking of a book blogger who gave her most recent book a less than stellar review. Many book blogs, including this one, put a day or a week moratorium on book reviews to highlight this issue. For the latest updates, the twitter hashtag is #HaleNo. What makes this situation even more chilling than the usual “author behaving badly” scenario is that Hale has close family ties to the traditional publishing infrastructure.

blogger blackout badgeSome book bloggers have blacked out this entire weekend in support of the blogger blackout. I thought about it, but in the end didn’t. (Friday’s review was a blog tour, and I wanted to honor that commitment) But I don’t review on weekends, my weekend posts either promote my blog, as this Sunday Post does, or help me organize what I’m doing, as both the Stacking the Shelves and Sunday Posts do. (I don’t want to think about how many times I’ve discovered a previously unremembered commitment while putting together the Sunday Post.) I hope that others find these posts interesting or helpful, but I need the organizational exercise (sometimes very badly).

I ended up changing my schedule for the upcoming week again. The Censorship essay moved one of my reviews, and one of the books I was intending to review this week disappointed me enough that I dropped it in the middle. I had high hopes for it, but just wasn’t engaged. So instead I turned to something I knew would be engaging, Rhys Ford’s Cole McGinnis series. I was chuckling so much at the snark last night that I had to stop reading in case I woke my husband up.

Speaking of organizational details, this week Word Twit Pro finally croaked. It hasn’t been updated for a while, but continued to function. This week, it stopped tweeting everything. Joy. So now I’m using the native twitter functions in JetPack. They seem to have finally become as flexible as Word Twit Pro started. Internet years are obviously way speedier than dog years. Sometimes that’s a big “damn it”.

Current Giveaways:

Winner’s choice of Rogue’s Pawn, Rogue’s Possession or Rogue’s Paradise by Jeffe Kennedy (ebooks all)
$10 Amazon or B&N Gift Card in the Spooktacular Giveaway Hop

key by pauline baird jonesBlog Recap:

A- Review: The Key by Pauline Baird Jones
B- Review: The Monogram Murders by Sophie Hannah and Agatha Christie
C+ Review by Cass: Heaven’s Queen by Rachel Bach
Censorship, Stalking and the Blogger Blackout
A- Review: Rogue’s Paradise by Jeffe Kennedy
Guest Post by Author Jeffe Kennedy on Ebooks and Libraries + Giveaway
Stacking the Shelves (109)


forcing the spring by jo beckerComing Next Week:

Forcing the Spring: Inside the Fight for Marriage Equality by Jo Becker (review)
Dirty Secret by Rhys Ford (review)
The Unwitting by Ellen Feldman (review)
Burn for Me by Ilona Andrews (blog tour review)
Duck Duck Ghost by Rhys Ford (review)

Censorship, Stalking and the Blogger Blackout

blogger blackout badge

We interrupt our regularly scheduled book blogging in order to bring you a slice of real life where too many worlds are intersecting.

YA author Kathleen Hale admits in her Guardian essay that she didn’t just tweet and post online about her extreme unhappiness with a one-star review she received on Goodreads from a YA book blogger, she fully cops to stalking the pseudonymous blogger in real-life. Hale received the blogger’s address through misrepresentation, and paid an internet search firm to find her work address and phone numbers.

The Guardian essay (here) reads like a piece of fiction, but it isn’t. And the blogger has decided to stop book blogging as a result of this harassment.

Because yes, it is harassment. Parking in your car outside someone’s home, looking in the windows and backyard to see if the furnishings and the dog match pictures on Pinterest, all constitute stalking. Which is illegal.

Hale’s purpose was to shut down or shout out her critic. Not someone who had stalked her, but a book reviewer who received a review copy of Hale’s book and did exactly what she claimed she would do; she posted an honest review on Goodreads. She didn’t criticize Hale as a person, she criticized her commercially available work.

Which is something that book bloggers do every single day. Because we love reading in general, even if we don’t love a particular book. So we share what we liked, and what we didn’t. We provide our own opinion, not speaking ex cathedra, and all we ask is that our readers use our words as a tool for evaluating what they choose or don’t choose to spend their own time reading.

I use my real name in this blog. I am fairly easy to find. The conduct of Hale and those who support her is frightening, and it creates a chilling effect for any blogger who finds some of the books they read as less than stellar.

That chilling effect I refer to is just another name for censorship. It is a way of frightening people into censoring themselves, so that they do not publish material that the censor finds unacceptable. In this case, it has both worked and not. The original blogger has chosen to stop blogging; her real life has been threatened and she has had enough.

Many of us are taking the opportunity to highlight this offensive behavior and the negative effects it has on the book and reading community. This week, many book blogs are posting a blackout day or week to commemorate this event. The blackout has been organized by Dear Author with this post. She is publishing essays this week to give a brief glimpse of what it would be like for publishing if we all stopped providing reviews. The Book Pushers will also be blacked out for a day, as am I.

Instead of a book review, I’m posting this essay to show my support for Dear Author and the blackout, and to go on record that my reviews will not be written in fear.

I am also a gamer. A female gamer, one of the 48% of the gaming population that identifies as female. (Much as I hate giving in to the need to prove my creds here, I will say that my copy of Dragon Age Inquisition has been on pre-order for months.) Women who write critically about video games and the video game industry are stalked, catfished and receive death threats, unfortunately on a regular basis. I hear an echo of Anita Sarkeesian, Zoe Quinn and Brianna Wu’s treatment in this case where an author stalks a critic, and I am chilled.

But now cowed. And especially not silenced.