Pre-Rebuttals to Your Next Terrible Book-Related Opinion

Sonja Palmer

Staff Writer

Sonja resides in Asheville, NC where she has a job she loves at a children’s nonprofit.  When she’s not working, she probably has a book or comic in hand as she tries to read her way out of the ever-growing stack in her small apartment.  On weekends, she’s probably clambering through the mountains with her husband and dog or trying to eat too much cake while watching Great British Bake Off.

It seems like every week, there’s some asinine article by some robot masquerading as a person in a bid to get outrage clicks, so I thought I would do us all a favor and not link to a specific infuriating inducing incident that would result in said person getting paid, but instead just write pre-rebuttals to whatever douchebaggery is probably about to occur in the foreseeable future.

“Well-regarded lady author is not actually good, because of *incoherent mumbling* REASONS.”

*Sigh*. So, most of the time this boils down to, this lady-author just has too much LADY about her, and that is not LITERATURE because LITERATURE is about man and dirt and sad feelings.


Yeah, that’s real sad for you, but you don’t get to decide what has value based on an elitist construct that by its very nature was made to keep certain people in power and full of praise, so just move the fuck on, already. Or don’t, but just know you are wrong.

“Romance novels are the cause of all that is wrong in society.”


You know what’s cool? Reading for FUN! That has value. Books that make people happy are good, and have a lot of good things to say. Come fight me on this. Also, what is wrong about reading about good sex? Nothing. Move on. Get a new hobby.

“Genre doesn’t count as fiction, because reasons.”


Why is this a hill you need to die on? Are you worried people enjoying things you don’t like and that are fun will ruin your life? People have different tastes and that’s cool, and just because their taste is about spaceships or castles doesn’t mean you have better taste. It just means you are no fun at parties. Also, comics are cool. It won’t hurt your heart to admit it, and I don’t just mean Watchmen and V for Vendetta either.

“Diversity is ruining—”


I’m not even going to finish this pretend argument, because if you are so stuck up your own ass you think that the book world is suffering whenever it better matches our actual one, friend, something has gone badly wrong in your life. Rethink your priorities and be a better person that realizes that we have to push for a more inclusive world, because publishing has been so fucking white and straight and cis for so long, it takes active measures to make a change. Also, while I am here, when you say “I just read GOOD books; I don’t try to read diversely,” you’re actually saying that the default is white/straight/cis and they write better books if you break that thought down all the way. And if you aren’t actively trying, you’re probably reading the same shit you have always been reading.

“The YOUTH aren’t reading anymore, because I need to write an article about how we are all doomed.”


Friends! Good news! Millennials use libraries more than older generations. People are actually still reading. It may just look different. Gen Z is going to be JUST fine. Ereading is reading. It legit even has the word READING in it. Audiobooks are reading. Judging people for not reading how or what you want them to read is NOT reading, so get over yourself.

“*Something about libraries and capitalism*.”



TLDR: People with money aren’t the only ones who deserve things. Next.

“LGBTQ+ things shouldn’t be in kids books because of *mumbles*.”

Guess what Bob? Can I call you Bob? I’m going to anyways. Your soul is a Bob, I think (no offense to Bobs.) Trans kids exist. Gay kids exist. Bi kids exist. And they deserve to see themselves in books, and you refusing to see that has value isn’t going to stop these kids from existing. It isn’t going to stop girls from falling in love with girls. But having these books will make some kids feel less alone. Support families. Support kids. Don’t take your weird fucked-up ideas and use them to hurt and ban stories that need to be told. I don’t really have anything funny to say here, because this shit isn’t funny and you aren’t cute.


“I know this author was racist/sexist/transphobic/ACTUALLY ASSAULTED SOMEONE but free speech and we should value art and also didn’t you say to let people like what they like? WHY ARE YOU CENSORING ME?”


You are allowed to make your own choices, but so are private companies. Also, liking things and endorsing people who have perpetuated harm are VERY DIFFERENT things. There are literally more books in the world than you can ever read, so why would you spend time on ones that in some way endorse harm rather than finding new, awesome authors that don’t? Why is this so important to you? What are you really hanging on to here?

All of it really boils down to this, friends. Let people like what they want to like, and enjoy what they want to enjoy as long as it isn’t hurting anyone either by passivity or action. Make the world a bigger place, instead of a smaller one. The cool thing about books is we can create new worlds and open doors. Why would you want to make it smaller and shut them instead?