Twitter mobs ruin young-adult fiction again

Jennifer Senior used to be a book-review editor for the New York Times, but now she’s an op-ed editor. Her history at the paper has served her well in her new op-ed about the social media mobs who now police young-adult fiction (YAF) for ideological purity. (Click on screenshot).

What happened is that Kosoko Jackson, the author of a new book called A Place for Wolves, was forced by a Twitter mob to pull his accepted and already-printed book from the shelves.  The irony, as Senior points out, is that Jackson was not only black and gay, but had himself been one of those “sensitivity editors” who professionally vet this kind of fiction for purity.

You would have thought Jackson would learn to avoid putting himself into the shoes of characters of different ethnic or racial background, for that is the Number One Sin that gets YAF books damned by both sensitivity readers and the Outrage Police who descend en masse on works they don’t like. But when Jackson came to write his own book—a book that Senior thinks is flawed—he discovered the joys of imagination: he put himself in the shoes of people from Kosovo during the wars of the late 1990s. In particular, he made the two main characters Americans, though both are gay and one is black. The other characters are Albanians and Serbs, and one of them, an Albanian Muslim, is an evil character.

Despite the gayness and blackness, this just won’t do, because the Albanian Muslim was—horrors—not exemplary in every way. Muslims must be honored. And so the social media thugs descended. As Senior notes.

As often happens with these things, the online pile-on was mainly led by people who hadn’t read Jackson’s book. It did start with someone who had — a reader who’d written an intemperate, if highly impassioned, review of an advance copy for the community website Goodreads. But it most likely would have remained just that, a pan from a citizen critic, had the review not been noticed by that corner of Twitter that’s obsessed with Y.A. fiction. Even by Twitter standards, it’s a hothouse subculture — self-conscious, emotional, quick to injure. Not unlike teenagers themselves.

I have read Jackson’s book. Before I get to the actual contents, let’s get this out of the way: What happened to Jackson is frightening. Purity tests are the tools of fanatics, and the quest for purity ultimately becomes indistinguishable from the quest for power. In the Twitterverse, ideologues have far more power than moderates. They have more followers; their tweets get more traction (studies have shown that emotional tweets pretty much always have more traction); they set the terms of their neighborhood’s culture and tone.

What Jackson’s case really demonstrates is just how narrow and untenable the rules for writing Y.A. literature are. In a tweet last May, Jackson himself more or less articulated them: “Stories about the civil rights movement should be written by black people. Stories of suffrage should be written by women. Ergo, stories about boys during life-changing times, like the AIDS epidemic, should be written by gay men. Why is this so hard to get?”

How did Jackson get into this mess? Because he used his imagination, which is what fiction writers are supposed to do. And here Senior gets the dilemma of ideological purity tests exactly right:

Let’s stop to contemplate this for a moment. When Jackson was left to his own devices to create and dream — rather than to simply read books for possible cultural violations — his natural, irrepressible reflex was to write about something that went beyond his own experience. Because that’s what novelists do: conjure other worlds, imagine their way into other realities, guess at the texture of other people’s consciousness. It’s part of the pleasure of inventing stuff for a living.

As I said, Senior, who read the book, didn’t like it: she found it clumsy and poorly paced. But its flaws could have been better vetted by the market than by a bunch of censorious, virtue-flaunting literary thugs. Senior ends her description and critique with these powerful words:

If the book-buying public had found “A Place for Wolves” as criminally distasteful and insensitive as Twitter did, it would have sunk the novel in slower, more deliberate ways. Librarians would have read it and taken a pass. Bookstore owners would have decided it wasn’t worth the space. Book critics would have savaged it — or worse, ignored it.

It should have failed or succeeded in the marketplace of ideas. But it was never given the chance. The mob got to it first.

This kind of social-media demonization is only getting worse over time, and I don’t know how to combat it. I do know where it comes from: from the entitlement, fragility, and purity culture infecting American college campuses, which now, as college students enter the job market, is seeping into both politics and art. And its effects are not salubrious. It’s time for all of us to stand up against it, even if it means you get called a bigot or an “alt-righter”. Kudos to Senior for having the guts to call out the call-out culture.

h/t: Greg

77 Comments

  1. Caldwell
    Posted March 9, 2019 at 11:57 am | Permalink

    The mob got to it first.

    I don’t understand the mechanism – how does a twitter mob get a book removed from libraries, bookstores or from Amazon?

    • Posted March 9, 2019 at 12:19 pm | Permalink

      “What happened is that Kosoko Jackson, the author of a new book called A Place for Wolves, was forced by a Twitter mob to pull his accepted and already-printed book from the shelves.”

      • Caldwell
        Posted March 9, 2019 at 12:40 pm | Permalink

        “Forced” meaning the “Twitter mob” came to his house and held a gun to his head?

        Below, Mike Anderson seems to say that it’s just peer pressure; if so, the authors should quit reading Twitter. End of problem.

        • Filippo
          Posted March 9, 2019 at 1:05 pm | Permalink

          sub

        • Jenny Haniver
          Posted March 9, 2019 at 1:09 pm | Permalink

          I think that many publishers either set up or encourage authors to establish twitter and/or Facebook accounts related to their books. If the publisher sets one up, what can the author do but demand that it be taken down; but its done to increase sales and young people are hooked on social media. Don’t think they’d see an ad in the newspaper.

          I believe that this website was created after the publisher of WEIT suggested, but if I’m incorrect, I will stand corrected.

          • Posted March 9, 2019 at 2:10 pm | Permalink

            It’s one thing to set up a Twitter account for the purpose of publicising your book. It’s another to actually care about what a small minority of nutters on Twitter actually say.

            There are millions, perhaps billions of people on Twitter and they can all direct tweets at you. If only one in ten thousand people hate you are your book enough to send you a malicious tweet, you could still end up with thousands of such tweets in your inbox.

            Kosoko Jackson should just have ignored the Twitter outrage, that is, unless he thought his book wasn’t any good and he was looking for an excuse to pull it. I hate myself for being so cynical as to believe that is plausible.

            • Heather Hastie
              Posted March 9, 2019 at 4:30 pm | Permalink

              I’d say it was the publisher rather than the author who had the book taken off the shelves. They would do it because of the backlash against them affecting their other authors. The author probably had no say in the matter.

            • Heather Hastie
              Posted March 9, 2019 at 4:37 pm | Permalink

              I said above that it was probably the publisher who pulled the book. I may be wrong in this case, but I bet there are cases where the publisher pulls books in the YA market because of social media.

              • Posted March 9, 2019 at 4:43 pm | Permalink

                Right. The bullies threaten to call out whole publishing company if they don’t toe the line. It’s modern day McCarthyism. The publishers probably don’t want to risk everything defending a single author when there are so many other authors dying to be published.

              • Mike Anderson
                Posted March 9, 2019 at 4:53 pm | Permalink

                Jackson is claiming he pulled it.

                (Maybe the publisher compelled him to, and allowed him to take woke credit for it.)

              • Heather Hastie
                Posted March 9, 2019 at 5:01 pm | Permalink

                Thanks for the info.

              • Posted March 11, 2019 at 4:33 am | Permalink

                @Mike Anderson: If I was reading that letter without the context, my impression would be that he didn’t feel the book was good enough. In fact, he explicitly states he thinks he got the bit about having queer characters defined by more than just being queer about right.

                He claims to be withdrawing it because he got the history wrong.

        • Posted March 9, 2019 at 2:07 pm | Permalink

          I think the problem is not that the author is on twitter but that the (potential) readers are. It’s very difficult to isolate the market from the effects of twitter, especially given that social media is a large part of the market place itself.

          • infiniteimprobabilit
            Posted March 10, 2019 at 4:33 am | Permalink

            “I think the problem is not that the author is on twitter but that the (potential) readers are.”

            Really? They’re actually capable of reading more than 140 characters at a time?

            (Sorry, sometimes the urge to sarcasm gets the better of me 🙂

            cr

            • GBJames
              Posted March 10, 2019 at 8:58 am | Permalink

              I don’t know what that’s like.

  2. Posted March 9, 2019 at 12:02 pm | Permalink

    “It’s time for all of us to stand up against it, even if it means you get called a bigot. . . .”

    Amen to that!I don’t think I’m a bigot (bigots never do), but I’d rather be a bigot than abandon any semblance of intellectual honesty for fear of being called one.

  3. Mike Anderson
    Posted March 9, 2019 at 12:02 pm | Permalink

    What happened is that Kosoko Jackson, the author of a new book called A Place for Wolves, was forced by a Twitter mob to pull his accepted and already-printed book from the shelves.

    I disagree with this characterization. Jackson wasn’t forced, he succumbed. It was his decision to pull the book from publication. He enabled a small group of people to effectively censore him.

    I’m not casting judgement on Jackson for this decision, but it was his decision.

    • Posted March 9, 2019 at 2:02 pm | Permalink

      Since it seems that he also tests YA Fiction for purity, I don’t see how he could do otherwise but go along with the mob.
      I do hope he saw the irony.

      • Mike Anderson
        Posted March 9, 2019 at 2:13 pm | Permalink

        True. Being woke is a dangerous sport.

  4. Ken Pidcock
    Posted March 9, 2019 at 12:09 pm | Permalink

    Purity tests are the tools of fanatics, and the quest for purity ultimately becomes indistinguishable from the quest for power.

    Ultimately becomes indistinguishable from the seems a rather long-winded way to say reflects.

    • Historian
      Posted March 9, 2019 at 1:13 pm | Permalink

      Yes, purists (a synonym is ideologue) are fanatics and can be found abundantly in our current politics. Absolutely certain of the goodness of their beliefs, they view those who oppose them in the slightest as evil. Rightist purists control the Republican Party and leftist purists have made inroads into the Democratic Party, but do not control it and hopefully never will. Purists destroy democracy because they reject the concept that it is based upon: decisions are made through compromise through the give and take between different interest groups. The Constitution has been generally successful in restraining fanaticism (except for the Civil War), but it is always being tested, now particularly so. The results of this test are still to be graded.

      • Davide Spinello
        Posted March 9, 2019 at 2:01 pm | Permalink

        What configuration of the Democratic Party would you consider as controlled by the purists? Currently it seems to me that the discourse is controlled by various identitarians openly using intersectionality jargon, with incursions into vile racism (of course of the type approved by the left), to the point of dismissing Nancy Pelosy as a white feminist (with disparaging meaning) for daring to criticize some of the darlings at the top thanks to their cumulative credentials in the oppression hierarchy.

        Who is pushing back to this nonsense? Bernie Sanders, which seems to be among the saner ones, often openly embraces it. What would you have to see to declare control from the purists?

  5. neilmdunn
    Posted March 9, 2019 at 12:09 pm | Permalink

    An example of the power of social media. Kylie Jenner has 128 million instagram followers (175 total with other sites included) and at 21 is now the youngest billionaire ever.
    https://www.scmp.com/magazines/style/people-events/article/2189059/how-self-made-billionaire-kylie-jenner-earns-us1

    • Filippo
      Posted March 9, 2019 at 1:15 pm | Permalink

      ” . . . self-made-billionaire-kylie-jenner . . . .”

      “Self-made.” No doubt in the hard-scrabble sense of A. Lincoln.

  6. GBJames
    Posted March 9, 2019 at 12:13 pm | Permalink

    sub

  7. harrync
    Posted March 9, 2019 at 12:27 pm | Permalink

    Someone pointed out that this may be why so much YA fiction is sci-fi or fantasy, though they did also note that somewhere out there someone is likely to say “I’m a vampire, and I was offended by that book.”

  8. Mike Anderson
    Posted March 9, 2019 at 12:54 pm | Permalink

    Not an isolated case:

    https://www.vulture.com/2019/01/ya-twitter-forces-rising-star-author-to-self-cancel.html
    (“Blood Heir” – condemned and self-censored)

    https://www.vulture.com/2017/08/the-toxic-drama-of-ya-twitter.html
    (“The Black Witch” – condemned but not self-censored)

    • BJ
      Posted March 9, 2019 at 3:15 pm | Permalink

      And imagine how many novels and stories have not and will not in the future be written because of this climate.

      • Mike Anderson
        Posted March 9, 2019 at 3:22 pm | Permalink

        To be honest, the demise of this genre won’t break my heart.

        (First they came for Young Woke Adult Fiction, and I did not speak out –
        for I didn’t read Young Woke Adult Fiction.

        Then they came for the postmodernists…)

  9. David Evans
    Posted March 9, 2019 at 12:56 pm | Permalink

    I wonder when they will get around to Tom Clancy. His villains include Muslims and, at different times, Russians, Chinese, Japanese, Arabs and no doubt others.
    Maybe he’s beneath their notice.

    • Posted March 9, 2019 at 2:18 pm | Permalink

      He’s been dead for five years. I’d say he is beyond their notice.

      • GBJames
        Posted March 9, 2019 at 2:28 pm | Permalink

        Being dead might protect him but his books are still subject to mobcraft (so to speak… and apologies to Mobcraft Beer).

        • Posted March 9, 2019 at 2:30 pm | Permalink

          But his books make so much money that I reckon the publishers are prepared to put up with a little Twitter hate.

          • Heather Hastie
            Posted March 9, 2019 at 4:36 pm | Permalink

            Yep! Also, it’s not such a big deal with adult stuff, though it’s still there. YA society revolves around social media so it can make or break a book or anything else in that market.

  10. Jenny Haniver
    Posted March 9, 2019 at 1:02 pm | Permalink

    This “wokeness” has also infected the corporate world,now that the woke college students graduated and moved out into the world bringing their oppressive values with them. https://spectator.us/woke-corporation-campus-madness/.

    I’d expect that PC purity tests are making inroads into general adult reading as well. Libraries will be denuded of books.

    Diversity training is probably ubiquitous with big corporations,but it’s becoming more extreme, as this article recounts, and extends to the workers’ private life, too. Of course, nobody’s being forced, but if you aren’t a team player, you stand out at your own peril. “And this quest for purity ultimately becomes indistinguishable from the quest for power.”

    It does not “reflect”, it “becomes.”

  11. Diana MacPherson
    Posted March 9, 2019 at 1:23 pm | Permalink

    Of course no one in the mob recognizes that by insisting that ethnic minority characters (or racialized, a new term I hear often, which, to me, sounds so much like radicalized it makes me cringe)are always “good guys”,is racist. It’s racist to treat non white characters as 2 dimensional and void of any personality that makes them human. There are minority actors who revel in the fact that they get to play all sorts of people, good and bad characters, and that these characters have nothing to do with their (the actor’s) ethnicity.

    • Diana MacPherson
      Posted March 9, 2019 at 1:23 pm | Permalink

      sub

    • Posted March 9, 2019 at 2:24 pm | Permalink

      The bad guys are always the most interesting.

      I suppose the problems arise when the badness of the guy is a reflection of a racial or ethnic stereotype. For example, I could write a novel in which the antagonist is a venal miser, which would be fine, unless I also made them explicitly Jewish.

      • infiniteimprobabilit
        Posted March 10, 2019 at 4:46 am | Permalink

        Shylock? In Venice in those days (I’m guessing here) it was probably the case that most moneylenders were Jewish.

        Suppose one was writing a novel set in Jerusalem. Then it’s likely that both the heroes *and* the villains would be Jewish. Making sure that the villains were some-other-ethnicity would be, actually, more racist than having Jewish villains – in that particular scenario.

        IMO the verdict of whether a depiction is fair should depend entirely on the accuracy of the depiction of the character and not at all on the ethnicity or colour of the author.

        cr

        • GBJames
          Posted March 10, 2019 at 9:00 am | Permalink

          For fiction, I think the word “believability” may be closer to your meaning than “accuracy”. 😉

        • Posted March 11, 2019 at 4:26 am | Permalink

          Shylock?

          That’s exactly who I had in mind. I don’t think there’s any doubt that a modern play with that character in it would be considered antisemitic by some at least (qualified because I haven’t seen it).

          To balance things up a bit, Isaac of York in Ivanhoe is a Jewish money lender because all the money lenders in England at the time were Jewish. His character is drawn quite sympathetically IMO (I have read Ivanhoe). He has his flaws but they are partly driven by the antisemitism he experienced.

          • GBJames
            Posted March 11, 2019 at 6:55 am | Permalink

            You haven’t seen it? You must.

            Let me recommend the 2004 production of The Merchant of Venice with Al Pacino as Shylock. The rest of the cast is great, too.

            But, yeah, it is an anti-semitic portrayal.

    • BJ
      Posted March 9, 2019 at 3:19 pm | Permalink

      Like most rules of the “woke” crowd, there is no way to win. If you create a non-white/non-male character who is a villain, you’ll be vilified, and if you create one who’s perfect, you’ll be vilified for making them a “Mary Sue.”

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted March 9, 2019 at 5:23 pm | Permalink

        The Lobster was unlike anything else I’ve seen on film, which is something I always appreciate. Watching it was more like reading post-structuralist, absurdist literature — a story taken from a Donald Barthelme short story, maybe, with the deadpan dialogue of Don DeLillo. Or maybe a play by Beckett or Stoppard or Edward Albee.

        I thought it was fascinating. And well-made. And well-acted, too.

        • BJ
          Posted March 9, 2019 at 6:59 pm | Permalink

          Is your dog OK? I hope so.

          Anyway, agreed on all counts. But I think the ending is intentionally open to interpretation, rather than just a “non-ending,” as you intimated earlier. If you listen to the credits, you get the sound of the ocean after the initial song ends. So, did he get turned into a lobster? Did they go off together to a beach in Italy (one of the places they wanted to go together that she listed in her journal earlier in the film)? Did he blind himself, walk out and leave her there, or not blind himself but tell her he did because he realized that surface-level similarities don’t matter? I like to think he didn’t blind himself, but still went back to her and either told her he did, or told her he didn’t and explained why it doesn’t matter.

          What’s the film about? Is it about the impersonal nature of dating nowadays? Is it about how we change ourselves, compromise, and often lie to get partners? Is it about the pressure society puts on people to find “love”? I think it’s about all of these things.

          And what’s the significance of him choosing a lobster? I read up on lobsters after watching the film, and I could only come up with three aspects: (1) the animal has blue blood, perhaps like aristocracy; (2) lobsters are monogamous, though they don’t stay together for life; (3) lobsters have a hard exterior, but a softer underbelly.

          • Ken Kukec
            Posted March 10, 2019 at 3:28 pm | Permalink

            I agree with your analysis, Beej. I didn’t mean to suggest that it didn’t matter how The Lobster ended, only that, however it ended, it was bound to be ambiguous. (I also may not have picked up on all the nuance of the closing scene, since I was simply relieved we didn’t see Colin Farrell do a Oedipus number on himself).

            Anyway, in the first viewing of a movie, I like to see it cold, with as little advance information as possible — as I did with The Lobster, not knowing anything beyond the identity of the director — and let the film’s rhythm and spirit and feel wash over me. Subtext seeps in on subsequent viewings.

            I’m looking forward to seeing The Lobster again.

            • BJ
              Posted March 10, 2019 at 4:18 pm | Permalink

              I agree with you about watching a movie “cold.” I always make sure to avoid any information about a movie if I know I’ll want to see it. I only read about lobsters after I watched this brilliant gem. There has to be some meaning behind that choice — Lanthimos’ works are obviously very deliberate — but I’m not sure what it is.

              • GBJames
                Posted March 10, 2019 at 4:22 pm | Permalink

                Not sure how that rule would work for me. We’re off to see Apollo 11 this evening.

              • Posted March 10, 2019 at 4:35 pm | Permalink

                It’s a complicated rule. You have to know at least a little about a movie to be motivated to see it but knowing too much may spoil the experience. Clearly, plot details can spoil it but so can reviews that bias one toward the film. On the other hand, a review that lowers expectations can make the movie a surprisingly pleasant experience.

                This reminds me of my comedy rule. If the jokes in the trailer aren’t funny, then the movie or tv show will disappoint. In other words, the producers or the trailer are able to choose the best jokes reliably.

              • Diana MacPherson
                Posted March 10, 2019 at 7:49 pm | Permalink

                In my youth, I just like to go to movies. It’s how I stumbled upon one of my favourite movies, Pulp Fiction. I had no idea what it was about & as I watched I just loved it.

              • Posted March 10, 2019 at 7:52 pm | Permalink

                Yes, that’s a good one though his movies are pretty brutal. My wife couldn’t watch movies like that so I watch them alone.

              • Diana MacPherson
                Posted March 10, 2019 at 9:44 pm | Permalink

                Yeah I have friends you can’t watch pulp fiction or reservoir dogs or kill bill or any of those but I find it really fun to watch and I tend to laugh at a lot of spots so that probably says a lot about me.

              • BJ
                Posted March 10, 2019 at 4:32 pm | Permalink

                Take mushrooms first?

              • Ken Kukec
                Posted March 10, 2019 at 5:14 pm | Permalink

                @GBJ

                I saw Apollo 11 this afternoon. I thought it was great. They put it together without narration, simply using clever editing of the raw footage.

              • Posted March 10, 2019 at 5:17 pm | Permalink

                I’ve heard only good things about it. Thanks for reminding me to go out and see it in IMAX while I still can.

              • GBJames
                Posted March 10, 2019 at 5:23 pm | Permalink

                Aw, Ken! Now you’ve gone an ruined it for me! 😉

              • BJ
                Posted March 10, 2019 at 6:11 pm | Permalink

                Don’t worry, GBJ, I won’t tell yo how it ends 😛

          • BJ
            Posted March 10, 2019 at 4:21 pm | Permalink

            Also, I’ll be interested to hear your thoughts on follow-up (though seemingly unrelated) film, The Killing of a Sacred Deer. I thought it was…fine. It certainly had many of his hallmarks, but it just didn’t grab me and I found quite a bit of it rather ponderous.

  12. Posted March 9, 2019 at 2:03 pm | Permalink

    Actually, this story could be the plot for a YA Fiction story.

  13. Posted March 9, 2019 at 2:15 pm | Permalink

    This insistence that there is no place for fantasy and everything must be literal is the favourite weapon of religious fanatics as well. There is to be only one interpretation of reality — ours. It destroys art and crushes the soul.

  14. Vaal
    Posted March 9, 2019 at 2:39 pm | Permalink

    Looks like to be safe any novelist better just write about him/herself.

    A male dare not include the thoughts of female characters, let along anyone of a different race.

    Though I doubt even literary solipsism will be good enough for the perpetually offended.

    • BJ
      Posted March 9, 2019 at 4:50 pm | Permalink

      But then it will be criticized for not being diverse.

  15. Posted March 9, 2019 at 3:47 pm | Permalink

    Makes me pine for the good old days when all publicity was good publicity. I wouldn’t want anyone telling me what I can and cannot read. I’m surprised there isn’t more pushback. While many these days don’t seem to value Free Speech per se, most don’t like people telling them what to do. Why should negative reviews be so binding?

    • Ken Phelps
      Posted March 9, 2019 at 5:38 pm | Permalink

      Probably because they’re actually shitty books that, in the tradition of The Painted Word, the terminally trendy can’t form an opinion about until they are given permission. Writing that actually appeals to normal kids and parents is independent of this self-referential world.

  16. mfdempsey1946
    Posted March 9, 2019 at 4:21 pm | Permalink

    Whenever another story like this surfaces, a phenomenon that seems to be happening often enough nowadays to foretell a central feature of a dire new world…

    I find myself wondering, despite all that has been good about life…

    if Sophocles may have gotten it right:

    “Not to be born is, past all prizing, best.”

    — “Oedipus At Colonus”, Line 1225, as translated by Sir Richard Jebb.

  17. Posted March 9, 2019 at 4:25 pm | Permalink

    When identifying with people of races/genders different than our own becomes the # 1 cultural sin, we’ve pretty much lost everything the Civil Rights movement had attempted. It’s particularly disheartening to me that “progressives” are leading this regressive stampede to undo everything that movement stood for.

  18. CAS
    Posted March 9, 2019 at 4:42 pm | Permalink

    Like Trump, these faux liberals are destroying norms of decency and rationality.

  19. Ken Kukec
    Posted March 9, 2019 at 5:32 pm | Permalink

    Chrissake, these people are starting to eat their own with their purity standards. Maybe it’s time for a YA allegory about the French Revolution. Or would that require an actual, real-live Jacobin to write it?

    • Ken Phelps
      Posted March 9, 2019 at 5:40 pm | Permalink

      The problem is more likely that such a book would require self-awareness in the reader.

  20. Dionigi
    Posted March 9, 2019 at 6:49 pm | Permalink

    I guess that means no body can write science fiction unless you are an alien. No more were wolves, no more vampires, and police will no now to arrest all crime fiction writers.

  21. Posted March 9, 2019 at 10:19 pm | Permalink

    Fantastic article. As a new adult author with non politically correct ideas, this sort of thing worries me. Thank you for taking a stand.

  22. Posted March 10, 2019 at 1:20 pm | Permalink

    The range of the population reading young fiction includes many more than just the young. The standard is high and is shared across the globe. If the book is good it will be read widely regardless of a tranche of opinions expressed to date. It would be nice but realistically unlikely for us all to think and feel alike. Maybe maturity will bring them deeper understanding but hopefully they can allow readers (not silly people who comment without actually reading it first) to form their own opinions and live in harmony with those who have differing opinions.

  23. gravelinspector-Aidan
    Posted March 10, 2019 at 7:24 pm | Permalink

    a reader who’d written an intemperate, if highly impassioned, review of an advance copy for the community website Goodreads

    I don’t think I’ve knowingly actually gone to this “goodreads” website and certainly not ever to read a book review (I normally put the newspaper aside when I get to the book/ theatre/ movie/ music reviews ; file under “not interested”). I do recognise the name, but is it actually worth the effort of finding out if it in the slightest bit worth bothering with?

  24. Posted March 11, 2019 at 11:54 am | Permalink

    Do people not learn about the pathetic fallacy any more?


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