Book Review : American Panda

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 ★★★★☆

I want to thank the publisher for providing me with this copy via Netgalley, this hadn’t influenced my review/rating in any way.

This is probably one of the cutest books I’ve ever read, even though it had some sad themes here and now. I enjoyed reading everything from Mei’s perspective because she’s a very relatable character and I could understand her reasoning for everything she did. My heart broke for her a few times, but at the end I was so proud of her, of what she achieved.

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On Netgalley, GR & International Bloggers

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Hello, everyone! Today I want to talk about an issue that has been on my mind for some days now, it’s something that I want to share my opinion on and while I did it on Twitter, I believe a blog post is required. I’m not sure if everyone is aware of the new policies of Goodreads and Netgalley, so I would try to explain what the issues are and why this is not okay.

It first started with Goodreads, who had decided to make a new giveaway program in January, where the giveaways are open only to US residents for an unknown period of time. They stated that their reason for doing this is “to bring our new Goodreads Giveaway program to more marketplaces.”, oh, the irony. They went even further and stated that authors and publishers outside US can organize giveaways, offering their books to US readers once again.

So, you’re not only shutting us down, you also have the audicity to suggest that International authors/publishers can take part in this, why? Why would they want to do this? If you don’t want to give international bloggers/readers a chance to promote the US books because you believe we can’t help in reaching more marketplaces, why do you think International authors/publishers would trust you with their books to bring them to the US marketplaces?

Then, they also stated there will be fees for authors. Before this, the author only had to pay for the shipping fee, now they would have to pay for some fee (150 – 600$) just because the giveaway is on the GR platform. I don’t know if I need to say that the authors are pretty angry about it and rightfully so when they can list their giveaways on other platforms like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Rafflecopter for free!

After this blow, Netgalley made it impossible for international bloggers/readers to request books from bigger publishers (only wish for them) without even giving us a statement on the reason why those changes took place. Because we don’t have anything official on this matter, we can’t know, for sure, if it’s Netgalley or the publishers who limited the request option to US bloggers/readers. Nonetheless, this one hit me harder than the Goodreads one because it makes little to no sense.

I tweeted about this and my tweet got a lot of attention, which made me aware of the fact that the issue is huge and has to be addressed.

Now I’m going to talk about why your decisions hurt us, international bloggers, more than you think.

  1. The truth is it’s not even about ARCs, it’s about feeling like no matter how much hard work you put into your blog and in promoting your favourite books, you’ll never come any close to mattering to this community because you were born in a different country than America. And that hurts badly. Because international bloggers don’t have the same resources, we try very hard to get our hands on new releases, on ARCs and we already feel pretty bad about not owning all those shiny books that are available all over US. There are international bloggers on here that are so dedicated, have a huge readership and have made a big impact in the community, but at the end of the day, they will feel like they are not welcomed in the book community because you don’t give them any chances.
  2. I’m not sure if you realise how many international bloggers helped you raise your stats. I know I recommended Netgalley and Goodreads to many friends, I know I recommend new releases to my friends all the time, US releases. The ones you’re trying to make inaccessible to me because I can’t help promote it or because I’m not the targeted audience.
  3. International bloggers know the situation of physical ARCs, it’s always been like that, we don’t get them. We’re fine with it. The shipping fees are awful and most of us aren’t even in the blogging for them, we are here to talk about the books we love and help our favourite authors’ books be better known. But eARCs… Why would you block us on those? There’s no shipping fees for eARCs. There is absolutely nothing. Do you know how many international bloggers rave about those eARCs they get off netgalley on every damn available platform? Thousands of them. Because we’re not used to getting such things and we feel like our work was validated by getting that book. Thanks for taking this away too. It’s good to know that our numerous ARC reviews counted for nothing.

4. There’s also the matter of diverse books. Unless a diverse book is very huge in US, there are 0 chances it will ever get published in other countries, especially in countries that are still ignorant to racism, homophobia, ableism and more. Diverse bloggers use Netgalley to get those, now you’ve limited their access to those too, so how should they ever read about things that are important to them? How do you get those books to reach the targeted audience? Lemme tell you. You don’t. Unless of course they move to US or something. It’s totally cool how we always say we support diverse authors and readers and how we want more diverse books, but at the end of the day, we do these things!

 

5. I want to thank all the authors who cared about this issue and who tried to get themselves informed, who supported the international bloggers and readers and tried to reassure them that they will find a way to make things better. You are the heroes.

6. To international bloggers, like me, I want to tell you that I know that the feeling of being left out without a valid reason hurts you. I know that you put up lots of time in your blogs and reviews every day and this is, by no means, the gratitude you deserve. I’m not going to say that the things will get better because I don’t know that. That is Goodreads, Netgalley and publishers’ place to say on whether we’ll be taken seriously any time soon.

I want to clarify some things, I don’t mean to insult US bloggers with this post, I love you all, I think you’re great, especially with the way you try to understand international bloggers. I also don’t think I’m entitled to ARCs, eARCs or giveaways, I think it’s just a hurtful decision to take those away without valid reasons and without caring who you hurt in the process.

Also, Laura @thebookcorps wrote a very detalied post on the same issue, so check her out, please!

Maja also wrote a post about it and you can find it here.

What are your thoughts on this issue? Did their decisions affect you?

Book Review : #MeToo

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★★★☆☆

I requested this book off Netgalley because I’m interested in this movement and what it means for our world as we know it. I’ve wanted to combine this review with some others, I’ll write for ARCs I requested from Netgalley, but decided it against it. You know why? Because I’d rather include a discussion on misogynism, sexual abuse, harassment and feminism.

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I will start with the discussion, if you’re not interested, you can check my review down below!

I’ve been a feminist for some years now, a movement that I’m most grateful to, because before I was aware of its existence, I felt all those gender-based injustices and was so frustrated because I had nothing to turn to, no one to turn to. I found out about feminism from tumblr (you’re probably rolling your eyes right now, but as imperfect as tumblr feminism is, it’s something!) and I’ve felt like my issues weren’t mine anymore, I belonged to a group that shared my opinion that things had to change for the better.

I continued to learn and read about it from other sources too, I’ve related to many issues these women spoke about, I couldn’t relate to some of them, but I empathized to them nonetheless. Because it’s goddamn hard to be a woman. It’s goddamn hard to have all this pressure on your shoulders all the time, the pressure to always look good and slim because otherwise you’re not good enough, but not too good and not too hot because men can’t contain themselves around you. To try to be smart, but not too smart because men are intimidated by smart women. To try to get a job, but know that you will never measure to your male co-worker.

I’ve been tired for a while now to be catcalled, to have to think a hundred times about whether I can go to a certain event because it might be too late or whether there’s a lot of traffic around that area because some jackass might try something. I’m tired of having men touch me without my permission, like my body belongs to them and not to me, like I’m just an object that they can ogle to.

It’s awful because you can never feel safe when you’re around a man. Because reading these #MeToo stories, made me realize there are no guarantees a man will not try something. It doesn’t matter if you know them or not, if they are your relatives or friends, if they are young or old. It doesn’t matter what you wear, it doesn’t matter where you are going, it can happen to anybody and it can happen in any context. You are never protected from it. 

Isn’t it sad that we have to learn our daughters how to avoid rape from a young age? Isn’t it sad how we teach our sons to be strong and always in control of their feelings? We teach them to be those robots that never feel too much, that can’t take ‘no’ for an answer because that would hurt their manhood?

1 in 5 women are raped. I know I would like to do something to stop this from happening. Maybe we should start by talking about it more or maybe we should start by educating our children differently.

And as a conclusion, I want to say that not all men, but enough men. And that hurts women every day.

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Now, onto the book, I liked its purpose very much, it’s admirable, it’s raw and makes you feel things and understand the gravity of the issue. I was hoping for an all-women book, though, because while men have to be our allies in this problem, it would be nice to hear women speak of their issues, only women for a chance. I wanted to hear how #MeToo affected women, how it changed the way they saw life, whether the hashtag helped them or not. Men already have so many ocassions to speak, on any subject, this is about women or even men that had been victims of sexual abuse/harassment. But the men that contributed to this book, mostly spoke of how they had been ignorant of the magnitude of this issue or how they had been bullied at work and some of them did say supportive things, but you get my point.

There were some essays in this book that hurt me deeply, you have these strong women that had to go through so much at the hands of men. And it’s awful to read of it. There were some stories that didn’t surprise me because they happened to me too, to women I know, but I still stood there and wondered how did we reach this point where rape and harassment are the norm. And having control over your body being something that you were lucky enough to have.

This book mostly made me sad, it did raise some questions, most of these I had already thought about multiple times. There was a question that stood up, though, and that was whether #MeToo will make a lasting impression.

I’m very much interested in knowing this, too. Because for a while, it’s been an international matter, things changed, men lost their jobs, women came forward or felt safer speaking about what happened to them, but will it make a lasting impact?

Will it push us towards making this world we’re living in a safer place for women? Only time would tell, I suppose.

Thanks Netgalley and the publishers for providing me with this copy. I admire the hard work everyone put into this book in order to inform people about why #MeToo matters.

And I want to thank everyone that was brave enough to come forward with their stories, you are forever my heroes.

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