I’ve read many books – from fantasy to contemporary to science-fiction – with stories diverting from a range of ideas and sequences of events – and these books either being classic or modern or ancient… and none of them included any content warnings whatsoever… and it’s not that they didn’t require content warnings, either.
Reading a book is a personal thing, especially when you’re reading it for pleasure. Your eyes and your mind are occupied by this story, and if it’s good enough – your thoughts too. For a while at least, you are captured by these words, and words… are exceptionally powerful, and have the potential to drastically affect your moods, your day, your week… even your life.
I’m always very careful about what I read and what I expose myself to through books. I know a lot of people aren’t about that, and prefer to be censor-free and such, but I’m not one of them, and I know as the person I am, there are certain things and certain topics that I’d rather not touch on while following wild adventures in my stories – that as a young person, will make me uncomfortable, and even upset.
And you don’t have to be young like I am to be upset by such things – in fact you can be any age. It’s even worst, if you’ve gone through a particularly horrifying experience, and then encountering this in a storybook. It could trigger you, and then you would be left upset by reading it, as it reminds you of what happened to you once, something that you’d very much rather forget.
I feel like that is very careless of authors or publishers – to include a disturbing event in a book, when there are people who could be triggered by such things, and incredibly upset by them. Not everyone reads reviews – before I discovered Goodreads, I didn’t either.
The point of this post is to say that I think every book should have content warnings at the beginning of it, stating specifically what is in the book that may, with the slightest chance – disturb or upset the reader.
Because reading a book is a personal thing – and books have the power to touch us in a number of ways that a reader may not desire it to. If you’re triggered by something you could have a panic attack, or worst. It’s not anyone’s fault that they get triggered, so instead of having to search through reviews to find out if a book might contain anything upsetting every time they want to read something, why can’t there just be warnings at the beginning of every book, and make many people’s lives easier?
I know a I don’t have an audience that is as wide as other blogs – but with this post on my own small blog – I hope to get the discussion going, as this is a topic that is very close to my heart. Please feel free to check out Kaya’s post on her blog, as she’ll be posting similarly about this issue today, too!
For those of you who counter this problem, Common Sense Media is a great site for this, and they’ve reviewed many (though not all) books. Cait @caitsbooks also includes content warnings with her reviews, so go check her blog out!
Also, I’ve set myself a little mission – to include content warnings in all my reviews – it will take a while, but it’s a goal of mine 🙂
Let me know your thoughts in the comments, speak soon!