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Book of the Month Book Chats

(5 Posts)
DuchessofMalfi Wed 22-Jul-15 08:47:24

Following this week's book chat with Sadie Jones about her novel Fallout, I had a brief conversation with her on Twitter yesterday, out of which it transpired that she had deliberately ignored my questions (and those of other mumsnetters) because she hadn't liked the perceived slight in my not altogether positive review.

She said that she was unhappy with the book chat being on the same thread as the readers' reviews. Up to a point I agree with her, but I want to feel free to give a full and honest review of novels I read. I didn't apply for a free review copy of Fallout - I bought my own copy so feel I have the right to express my opinion within reason (without making personal attacks).

With that in mind, can there be two separate threads in future - one for discussing the book(s) amongst mumsnetters and which the author doesn't need to read, and one purely for that evening's chat?

If that isn't possible, then I would be reluctant to take part in any future chats if we cannot give our honest opinions of the Book of the Month novels for fear of upsetting the author.

RachelMumsnet (MNHQ) Wed 22-Jul-15 11:30:45

Hi Duchess and thanks for posting this. We spent a long time yesterday reviewing the format of book club and have decided that the way it stands it does leave authors vulnerable but at the same time we want to continue to encourage mumsnetters to review/discuss books honestly.

We've decided that moving forward the best thing is for us to ask bookclubbers to review books on the book review section and then have the discussion thread set up purely as a place to put questions to the author/discuss the book on the evening. This way we hope we will protect the author whilst offering readers a place to express their honest opinions about the book.

We did consider setting up two threads and have in fact tried this one month way back but it caused a lot of confusion and we think using the book review area will be much clearer. We'll set up a template for the book each month and link to it from the discussion thread. (I'll do this for The Paying Guest now). I hope this makes sense and thanks again for your post.

Do let us know if you have any other thoughts about bookclub. We have a stonking line up for the rest of the year and we want to ensure that it continues to be a lively, interesting and exciting part of Mumsnet.

DuchessofMalfi Wed 22-Jul-15 14:15:29

Thanks for replying smile

Just to clarify then - the book reviews go in the Book Review Section and not on the Book of the Month thread, which is just for asking the author of the month questions relating to their book(s).

Where can we discuss the book beforehand? I really enjoy discussing books - and would like there to be a safe place to do so which will not be read by the author accidentally.

The way I see it is that there cannot be any discussions about whether we liked or disliked it on the Book of the Month thread from now on?

And furthermore, I just wanted to say that I wasn't happy about Sadie Jones's approach to the book chat - only answering the questions of those who said they liked/loved her book, but not those us who didn't absolutely love it. She said she wasn't being paid to answer our questions, well nor are we being paid to read her book, and ask her questions. She should have accepted the rough with the smooth.

RachelMumsnet (MNHQ) Wed 22-Jul-15 16:23:18

We totally get what you're saying and agree that it would be a shame to thwart discussion about the book on the thread throughout the month - this is part of the fun of bookclub and we certainly don't want to set an agenda where you can only join in the bookclub discussion if you like the book. However, we do need to address the issue that some authors feel uncomfortable reading negative reviews about their books and we do want them to enjoy their experience at mumsnet bookclub.

If you can hold fire we're having a discussion with Tilly in the morning and will figure out whether there's a better way to get around this and come back to you.

DuchessofMalfi Wed 22-Jul-15 16:54:14

That's fine. Will wait to hear smile

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