Be the Internet You Want to See
That sounds like a sappy affirmation. But since the only behavior I can change is my own (what’s a better time for clichés than a New Year’s resolution post?) I aim to stop bemoaning the state of the bookternet and start providing more of what I’d like to read. I’ve certainly said my share of things I regretted online. I’d like to do less of that. To which end:
- I am so sick of subtweeting. I will not do it, and I will not respond to it. (This will be hard for me). This year, for the first time, my feed saw plenty of people I generally like and admire subtweeting at each other, and also subtweeting about how their mutual followers should be calling the other one out. I’d love it if people addressed each other directly on the substance of their disagreements instead of subjecting the rest of us to this, but I’m not expecting that. Here’s the only thing I will say about this phenomenon (since I don’t want to sub-blog either): I don’t see every tweet, post or comment by the people I follow; often I don’t know what someone is supposed to have done or said. I don’t always agree with the people I follow. Sometimes I think everyone’s partly right and partly wrong. Sometimes a line you think was crossed is not my line. Sometimes I think you’re the one who’s wrong. Sometimes I don’t know the context well enough to have an opinion and don’t have time or interest in finding out. Therefore, I’m staying out.
- The exception: There were a few cases where I thought someone was factually wrong about an issue but I chose not to say anything. I’m going to try to be more courageous about responding to those in the future (conflict is very hard for me) when it’s someone I actually “know.” I will do so directly and privately and not via subtweet.
- I am going to Look Away and Not Weigh In on kerfuffles and for the most part on more serious conflicts, too. There are a lot of issues where I think nothing I say would have any effect besides upsetting me. There are also things I think are really important to talk about, but where we seem unable, right now, to have a productive conversation. I’m mostly staying away from those, too, unless I think the specific conversation is useful and that I have something valuable to contribute that hasn’t already been said by others. It is very, very hard not to get sucked in when something blows up in my social media world, so some days I may need to stay away altogether.
- OK, that was the negative part. Here’s the positive: more in depth posts on individual books. I miss these kinds of discussions and I think they can be more helpful than general posts for addressing issues in the romance genre. Plus, I like digging in and close reading, and I haven’t been doing enough of it.
More Shared Reading Experiences
Many people have noted how fragmented Romanceland feels these days. I definitely felt like an outsider this year, because I read so little romance and even less of what everyone else was reading. It was fun to read something like A Bollywood Affair and have lots of other people to discuss it with.
I started this goal off right: I’m reading Lavender Parker’s Flower in the Desert with some Twitter friends (OK, they’re mostly ahead of me, but still!). Ridley tweeted the 70s-style cover after Jill Sorenson included the book in her diverse reading post; it’s a 99⊄ novella, so next thing you know, several of us had bought it.
I also joined the TBR Challenge SuperWendy organizes–a Romanceland institution. It should inspire me to read more romance and feel more a part of Romanceland book conversations again, even though no one’s reading the same books. (The great thing about older books is that usually someone has read it and will comment).
More Books by Authors of Color
This was a goal for me last year, but I didn’t want to attach a specific measure to it. Yeah. I read about eight. (I did slightly better counting books about people of color by white authors, but that wasn’t the goal). So this year my goal is at least two books a month by authors of color. If I read the same number of print books as last year, that would be about a third of my reading. (Given my usual choices of audio–classics and specific favorite authors–it’s harder to diversify there, but I’ll try).
I’m starting this goal off right, too, thanks to the Lavender Parker read-along and the fact that I have Charles M. Blow’s memoir out from the library.
I particularly want these books to be across all genres I read, because I think it’s easy to only read certain kinds of books by people of color: e.g. immigrant stories. I read a couple of great articles this year about having to tell stories for Western tastes and I’m hoping to find more variety.
There are so many things I’m looking forward to reading this year. My main goal? Keeping it that way!