Uproar, Diversity & Naivety on my Part #WeNeedDiverseBooks

There has been a lot of talk in the bookish industry in the past couple of months. Certain announcements have brought in to question not only the diversity among authors, but the level of representation the characters written in the books by said authors give to everyone, which is surprisingly not that much.

Something that has rocked the blogosphere is the announcement of the BookCon panel (a sub event of BEA). Described as the “rock stars of kidlit” the panel consisted of while, male authors. To elaborate, no women, no LGBT’s and no people of colour. YA is absolutely saturated with female powerhouses (Malorie Blackman, Laurie Halse Anderson, Rachel Caine, Richelle Mead, Sarah Dessen – just to name a few!). To have no ladies on the panel is an insult to the people who underpin the genre and to have a complete lack of diversity sets a bad example for teens.

All of the response has made me think not only made me think about the kind of books I read, but also who they come from. I didn’t really know that this was a problem. I am the norm (white, middle-class and English as a first language). Only about 10 % of my books on Goodreads consist of people who are not white, straight and middle class. I never thought about how people of colour have to write about a white character and how people can’t get published because none of the characters identify with the norm. I was naive. I thought that books were sold and published based on the fact that they were actually good. I have found that this is not the case. If you head over to the Diversity of YA tumblr you will see how much of a problem this is. It is not a case of good content conquers all like I once thought, there is not an equal playing field. We as bloggers and readers need to actively seek out diverse content. Not only for the benefit of us and to inform myself but for future generations. The black guy can be so much more than the funny character and a homosexual male character can be so much more than the gay best friend.

Representation is important. Diversity is important. Everyone deserves the be the hero of the adventure regardless of their skin colour, gender or sexual orientation.

EXTRAS:

The #WeNeedDiverseBooks campaign has had an immense response. There is so much buzz and talk around it that it makes me proud to be (an albeit, tiny) part of the bookish community. If you want to read any further, here are some articles and websites you can visit:

“#WeNeedDiverseBooks goes Viral” – Salon
The Official #WeNeedDiverseBook Tumblr & Twitter
Diversity in YA Tumblr
The Guardian on #WeNeedDiverseBooks
BookRiot has written a few articles on both BookCon and the #WeNeedDiverseBooks campaign. Here are some of my favourites (1, 2, 3)

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BookLikes: All You Need to Know + The New Goodreads?

Ever since the change in T&C’s over at Goodreads (click here for more info),  everyone has been squealing censorship and trying to find new alternatives. Although I whole heartedly agree with some of Goodread’s changes, I have looked for alternatives and one that has come up amongst all of the results (LibraryThingShefariRiffle) was Booklikes.

Booklikes is very new to the book blog industry. As far as I can find, it was created only a few months ago. For me it is the bookish version of Tumblr. You can like people’s reviews, repost them (reblog – i.e post them on to your blog) and you can comment on them. Like Goodreads you can categorize your books and you can create shelves, but there are some additional features that I am a fan of.

For those who don’t have the time to read an in depth post about Booklikes, all I can say is that it is as Good as Goodreads. Due to the fact that there has been a tidal wave of people joining at the moment, it can be slow but apart from that you get all of the features you have with Goodreads and a lot more.

Here are some features of Booklikes that I have come across. These are the ones that are similar to Goodreads. The ones that are additional to Goodreads (and what make Booklikes better) I will discuss further on in the post.

1. Homepage  

When you have created your account this is the first thing you will come across. The home page is your main source of info. It allows you to post 5 kinds of posts: Text (in this option, you can click review and it changes it to a review where you can link it to a book and it adds a photo of the cover for you) Quote, Photo, Video, and URL. From here you can add books to your shelves (you automatically have 7 – 3 main ones: Read, panning to read, currently reading and 4 subs shelves: favourite, wishlist, reviewed and private)

2a. Features of the homepage: Friends Activity

As with Goodreads, the homepage is where most of your follower’s activity can be seen. It allows you to see them as they would be seen on their blog and from here you can repost, like and comment on people’s activity/posts. One of the main things I like about the “Dashboard” is that each post is given so much more space than in Goodreads and it allows you to scroll through your follower’s post with ease.

2b. Reading Challenge

As with Goodreads, on the left hand side of your homepage below what you are currently reading it displays your yearly reading challenge which can be updated in your settings. There is not much to be said with the feature as it is practically the same.

2c. Currently Reading 

On the left side of your homepage just above the reading challenhe, it displays what you are currently reading if you mark it in to your shelf. Even though this feature is similar to that of Goodreads, I prefer this one as it actually shows a bigger picture of the cover. When you click finished, it automatically adds it to your read shelf with the date you finished reading it.

Now on to the additional features! With Boolikes, not only do you get a place where you can see your friends activity, shelve books and display what you are reading, but you also get a blog that comes with it (which is the same as Tumblr) you get given a web address with you user name: username.booklikes.com (mine is http://alexsarahlouise.booklikes.com/) and within the blog you have you shelves, timeline and Booklikes blog which contains all of your activity)

3. Your blog

Your blog will look something like this. There are 3 themes to choose from which you can customise in terms of fonts and colours. This is my favourite part of Booklikes as it takes all that you would do on Goodreads and make it in to a blog for you. I can’t post that often on here but it is nice to know that I can just put what I am reading on Booklikes and it comes up as a post.

4. Timeline

 

 

This is accessible from you blog and from your homepage (it doesn’t take you to you blog page, it takes you to a timeline on the main site). This is one of my favourite features. I know you can see when you read your books on Goodreads, but to see them in chronological order in the form of a timeline is divine. It is also interesting to see how your tastes have changed over time.

5. Shelves

 

These are the shelves that are accessible via your blog. As you can see in screen shot 3, there are 3 links: blog, shelves and timeline. In your settings you can change it so when people click on the link to your Booklikes it will go to one of those three options. This is not that much different to Goodreads accept that I think that it is a bit more sleek and tidier when it comes to presenting your reads.

6. Features of the blog: The side bar

Huge images so you can see them! So, this is the side bar that comes with the blog and timeline. One thing I liked was that it allows you to put all of your links in there. This goes for all three templates too! As you can see it allows for many links. In mine there is: Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, and Tumblr. You can edit the header of you blog, so if you are a book blogger and you have a main blog, I recommend you put your blog URL in there as I have done (screen shot 3)

Now on to the nifty things! I think these features are so useful and they definitely deserve a mention.

7. Importing books

 

One thing that put me off moving books sites (or making another one anyway!) was the concept of re-adding books. I have just over 500 books on my shelves and the thought of adding them one by one crippled me. However, there is an option to import books from many other sites (Goodreads, Librarything, Lovely Books) and it is as easy as pie. All you do is go to Goodreads, export your books as a CSV file (which it does automatically) and then select the file when you click choose file to import. If you want me to do a tutorial on importing and exporting from Goodreads to Booklikes, comment below. Warning: The import process is running slowly at the minute due to the influx of users moving from Goodreads.

8. Adding pages to your blog

If you are going to use Booklikes as your main book blog (I have considered it) you are going to want to add an about me/contact/review policy page. With Booklikes you can do it. All you have to do is go in to settings. Also, want all your posts that are tagged with something to be in one place? (e.g. horror reviews) All you have to do is change page type from “simple text” to “redirect to URL” and write in the box “tagged-insert tag here”. For example, if you want all of your reviews tagged with “horror” to be in one place and create a page for it type “tagged-horror” where it says page address and Horror Reviews in to the pages title box and off you go. If you want an in depth tutorial, comment below!

9. Widgets

As you can see by my sidebar, Booklikes have also made widgets which fit in pretty well with blogs. They also do other types such as your shelves and so on. The only thing that is turning me off for Booklikes is the fact that they don’t have an App yet. I assume with how fast it is growing, that they will have one soon though.

So here is my roundup of Booklikes. I think it is the next best thing when it comes to migrating or opening up your options when it comes to cataloguing books. The additional features of Timelines, Blogs, Shelves, Pages and Imports are fab and ease usage. I really do think this is the next best thing when it comes to cataloguing books. I urge you all to get one, even if you don’t use all of the features. It is still a good way to keep all bookish people connected. I personally will be keeping both my Goodreads and Booklikes and see how all the T&C’s fiasco pans out.

DISCLAIMER: I am by no means an expert. All this is opinion and based on my experience of what I have found on the site while using it. Thank you 🙂

Bookshelves: How Do You Organise Yours?

Bookshelves, you have got to love them. Mine is the centrepiece of my bedroom and it always starts a conversation when someone comes to visit. I have always been curious to why some people organise their shelves in certain ways. I for one, have tried to organise my shelves In so many different ways but I have always turned it back to what it was. I have had them: alphabetically, rainbow shelve, by genre, by when I read them.

Here is mine… Do pardon the wall paper, I am decorating. (Still. Also, you may have seen this picture in my Feature and Follow Post)

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It has always been organised the same. The longest I have had it out of this way is 3 weeks and it sent me crazy. Here are the steps to how mine is organised.

1. I have done then top to bottom, left to right because I can’t get all three of them in the same wall.

2. The book are organised first by how many I have by the same author. Ie. I have 29 books by Rachel Caine so she starts it off, I have 15 books by PC Cast, 10 books by LJ Smith, 8 books by Cassandra Clare and so on.

3. When it gets to the point where I have the same amount of books by multiple authors (I have a lot of finished trilogies for example) they go in order of which I read the first book.

4. If a series goes jumps up in numbers due me reading its sequels, books get shuffled along. Meaning that if I read the first book in a series in 2011 and it has 8 books, it will sit in front of Cassandra Clare’s books of which I read the 1st one in 2012.

5. The stand-alone novels are organised by order of which I read them. Which is pretty cool sometimes because I read a lot of them last year and they are all in order meaning I can see how my tastes have developed.

6. The TBR is organised in order that I bought them. Then have what I call an “imminent tbr” which consists of books I want to read really soon!

The reason I do this is because I like keeping all of my authors and series together and it also interesting to see how my tastes have developed since most of my shelves are in order of which I read the books!

So, that is how I organise mine and it will probably stay that until I attempt rainbow shelves again. How do you organise yours?