Bad Reviews Not Allowed?

I came across something on Twitter recently. A prominent author said that if you are going to tweet something negative about an author’s work, do not @ them. I thought this was a bit silly, but I know for any celebrity any thread can turn into absurdity really fast, and ultimately have nothing to do with the work. So, okay.

But then the author referenced negative reviews in general. She said negative reviews should never be written unless the work is causing real harm. And many prominent authors and critics were in agreement.

I find this troubling. We criticize the work of politicians. We criticize the work of artists. We criticize the work of athletes. We criticize the work of everyday people we work with. As humans we criticize EVERYTHING. Is the criticism always fair? No. But how does it make sense to say negative book reviews should never be written?

I understand if she’s saying as a prominent author, she won’t write something negative about another book because of her status in the publishing world. But I vehemently disagree with the notion that no one should write negative book reviews.

There are people who have very little disposable income who love books. And I know many of them use reviews to determine what to spend their money on. If we live in a world full of 5 star reviews, then there’s no point in writing reviews at all.

I still have my booktube channel, though I haven’t posted in a really long time, and I’ve been completely honest when discussing books I’ve enjoyed and books I’ve hated. Why in the world would an author encourage anything different?

I don’t understand the logic and I will continue to be honest about what I read.

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The Power of Social Media

So there’s this site called Twitter, right? You may have heard of it. Well Bill Gates recommended a book during a thread he posted to the site. Today the book was the top selling title on Amazon. Welp.

I won’t even tell you which book it is. Just go look for yourself. 

Bana Alabed Gets a Book Deal

If you dont know Bana, then you may be living under a rock. Or just not on social media. She’s 7. She became widely known last year after she created a Twitter account to document the devastation she was experiencing in Syria.

Now she has a memoir coning out.

I remember the first time I noticed her I immediately thought of Anne Frank. The similarities are striking. Anne had her diary and Bana had the power of social media. The ability to reach the world with the click of a button. I have no issue with her getting a book deal. I’m glad her story will continue to be told. But I can’t be the only one with reservations. She’s a refugee. I imagine her family struggles. This story will be worth millions to Simon & Schuster. My concern is that it’d be easy to offer a very small fraction of the compensation to a family of refugees who need it rather than a more justified market value. My hope is that they treated Bana and her family fairly.

Any thoughts on her book deal?

JK Rowling Always has Final Word

We all know celebrities get trolled on social media daily, unfortunately it seems it happens worse to women because there are some real idiots in the world. In my experience seeing this unfold and discussed the trolls are just ignored. Mostly. But don’t come at JK Rowling thinking you’re getting off that easily.

She’s been outspoken on Twitter for as long as I can remember. And I don’t even follow her. I don’t think it would come as any surprise that she’s been outspoken against Trump.

People have said they’re burning their Potter books or they make up some nonsense about the message her series really sends because she’s being political. And SO OFTEN she shoots them down like Katniss in the arena. It’s hilarious when someone will comment about what’s in the books when they haven’t even read them. Oh boy.

Do you follow any authors on social media who tend to hit back when idiots throw nonsense their way?

No, I Don’t Want That Book

As is all too common on the internet different companies and sites use my browsing history to recommend something else they’re selling. For example, I clicked on some travel ad on Instagram and that same company popped up in a promoted tweet on Twitter. Just ugh.

But I also tweet quire a bit about the presidential race. And as a result I’ve now been seeing promoted tweets from Trump selling signed “limited editions” of The Art of the Deal. First, the book is priced astronomically high. More than $150. Second, I have no desire to read the book. Third, there is no scenario in which I’d support him or his campaign.

I just wish Twitter would get the message. Are there any ads on social media that keep popping up in your feeds no matter how many times you skip over them?

This Week in Books #1: “Hot Dudes Reading” Gets a Book Deal

Welcome to my first post in my new series “This Week in Books” on Johnny Reads. If you didn’t watch my video from Sunday, then you likely have no idea what I’m talking about. Basically every Friday I’m going to discuss one to three different stories I’ve been reading about in the world of books. It’s no different from what you’ve grown accustomed to reading on here, but now it’ll be a kind of weekly mashup of a few different stories. Some you’ll likely be aware of, and others might be completely new to you.

I’ve wanted to make a video on this topic since the second I read about it. Hot Dudes Reading is a popular Instagram account that shows photos of men reading in public. But it’s OH SO MUCH MORE THAN THAT, and I have a lot to say about it. A LOT.

You might find yourself nodding your head in agreement when you hear what I have to say or you might find yourself shaking your head, but I’d still encourage you to listen to what I have to say  (especially if you’re unfamiliar with the account) because I’m quite curious to know where you stand on this, no matter if we agree or not.

So, here is my first video in my new series “This Week in Books”.

My Year: 2015

I’d initially wanted to write a series of posts this week discussing my favorite things from different categories, but now I’m just going to write one review for everything. Even though I know everyone else already has. But eh. Let’s get started.

Blogging

At the start of 2015 I set some pretty ridiculous goals for the blog that I thought were attainable. They were, but I missed the mark. Here are some side-by-side stats comparing 2014 to 2015.

Posts

282 (2014) – 363 (2015)

Views

30,102 (2014) – 33,469 (2015)

Visitors

12,195 (2014) – 17,097 (2015)

Likes

5,302 (2014) – 8,386 (2015)

Comments

10,159 (2014) – 9,685 (2015)

I’m sure some might look at the numbers and think of how great the year was. It wasn’t. It was okay. About a thousand new followers and it didn’t translate into anything meaningful. No surge in views, comments, or much of anything. But it’s fine. Maybe my content was to blame. I don’t know.

But my original goals for the year were to reach 40,000 site views, to reach 5,000 followers, and to post 25 poems. I didn’t achieve any of those goals. So I won’t set any goals for the blog in 2016. Because it can only be as good as I can make it. And that’s it.

The top three posts published in 2015 were:

Ursula Le Guin is Clueless

Little Free Libraries Have Come Under Fire

On False Claims From Bloggers

Social Media

I’ve all but stopped using other social media. My Facebook app has been deleted but there’s something wrong with my phone and it randomly restarts and re-downloads the app. Not even kidding. I rarely use Twitter. My blog posts go there automatically, but I just don’t tweet hardly at all. I’ve only recently really started using my Instagram account a bit more. But I see people posting multiple terrible photos a day and I’m just baffled. Eh.

Reading

Y’all already know I only read 10 books in 2015. There’s nothing satisfying about that number. I did manage to read some good books, including the best book I’ve ever read. But this has got to stop. From 2010-2012 I read a total of 106 books. Which is nothing compared to some people on WordPress, but at least it’s something. From 2013-2015 I read a total of 32 books. It’s just stupid. What the hell am I even doing? *slaps myself*

BookTube

I know my channel has something like 16 subscribers, but this is probably what I’m most excited about in 2016. Because I’ll be making videos for two different things going on. I’ll still be reading from Amazon’s 100 Books Everyone Should Read list, which means videos for each one of those. And I’ll also be making videos for every book I read from my challenge. The first will be coming tomorrow for The Perks of Being a Wallflower, which I finished last night. So if you’re still working on your first book of the year and you’re doing my challenge, you’re officially in the rear view mirror! I WILL set a goal for my channel in 2016. 25 videos. Easy enough. I released seven videos on my channel in 2015. My most viewed was my first video, An Intro to Johnny Reads!. It was also my shortest in length. Welp.

Hometown Teams

What a year for Houston sports. The Rockets had one of the most improbable playoff series wins in history by overcoming a 3-1 deficit to the LA Clippers and reaching the conference finals for the first time in almost 20 years. The Astros continued their improvement by snagging a playoff spot and having the eventual World Series champions within six outs of elimination. And the Texans just won their third division title in team history. Playoff game this Saturday! Everyone jokes at work that I don’t know anything except sports and books. Not that far from the truth.

Half Price Books

In August I started working at Half Price Books. It”s been great from day one. The people are great to work with and be around (even if they poke fun sometimes) and I’m literally paid to work in a bookstore. Heaven does exist! It’s already been five months and I’m still loving every single day there.

Trip of a Lifetime

My first. I’ve been saving as much of my little bit of money as I can. And I’m rewarding myself by taking the first trip of my life. I’ve been to Disney World. I’ve been to Michigan. But Disney World happened in the 90s and Michigan wasn’t a vacation type trip. But I’ll finally get to experience what it’s like to really travel. And I’ll be able to see the capital city of my country. I think during those four days I’ll be able to learn even more about what it means to be an American. Heck, I might even cry when I see some things. I can’t tell you how excited I am, and how glad I am to have made the decision to go. I’m hoping this becomes my first trip of many trips of a lifetime. Fingers crossed!

Reading Challenge

I said I’m most excited about my BookTube channel, but I’m also very excited about my reading challenge. Mostly because I’ve gotten tons of feedback and support since I first mentioned it a week ago. I have a feeling the post is going to be one of the top two or three posts of THIS year. It’s getting that much traffic. But I’m also excited to see what other people read and say about something I came up with fully on my own. I overhear my co-workers talking about it just about everyday. It’s great because I know others are also talking about it in various places on the Internet.

In a nutshell, I became more and less active on social media. I started working at a bookstore, My loyalty to my hometown teams finally paid off. And I saved up enough money to start my traveling. Sounds like an alright year to me.

Thanks for always coming back, guys. I know I write things you won’t always agree with and I’ll probably push your buttons without even knowing it, but it’s never too serious. And no one is aiming to be disrespectful. This is my little piece of cyberspace, and you’re always welcome.


On this day in 2015 I published Mark Zuckerberg’s “A Year of Books”.