Let’s Chat: Trigger Warnings and Why I Hate Them

According to an online dictionary, a “Trigger Warning” is defined as: A Statement at the start of a piece of writing, video, etc. alerting the reader or viewer to the fact that it contains potentially distressing material (often used to introduce a description of such content)

Thankfully I don’t have any topics that are a true “trigger” for me. There are definitely topics that I REALLY, REALLY don’t like reading about…child abuse, child abduction, animal abuse, death of a parent, death of a child, death of a spouse, terminal illness, etc.

I can see how people would most definitely appreciate a warning before they willingly expose themselves to reading something potentially triggering. I would imagine this would especially ring true if they can make those connections in their own life which might make the book feel exceptionally “real”. I completely understand how people could feel like that! However I….

actually really hate trigger warnings.

If you have been a reader of mine for any length of time you know my absolute DETEST for spoilers and often I find trigger warnings to be huge spoilers for me! For example…let’s take the book that I am currently reading:

This is the very first page of the book:

So now I’m reading this book knowing that at any moment someone is about to get sexually assaulted. It has taken my focus away from other story lines and has turned each character into a potential assaulter. Every time a new character is introduced, I immediately wonder if he/she will eventually turn into a rapist! I wish I knew nothing about this part of the book before reading.

My favorite tv show EVER actually had a trigger warning at the very beginning of the episode last week. I found this so strange because if you watch Shameless, you know that EVERY episode contains MULTIPLE potential triggers! I wonder why last week was the first time viewers were “warned”…???

Looking back, I’m wondering if Tampa by Alissa Nutting has any trigger warnings listed at the beginning? That book was HANDS DOWN the most disturbing book I have ever read and although I wouldn’t have wanted to read the triggers ahead of time, I can absolutely see how others would. You can read the synopsis and my review of that vile book HERE.

I feel fortunate that I don’t have any true “triggers”. That said, I can fully appreciate that other people do. What could constitute a “spoiler” for me could be so much more for someone with a true “trigger” and even just reading about a triggering event could be catastrophic for them.

I wish there was a way where people who appreciate trigger warnings could be privy to them and those people who don’t want to know ahead of time…wouldn’t have to??

This is exactly why I never include trigger warnings on any of my reviews (except for Parachutes….it’s literally written on the very first page of the book). I respect other reviewers/bloggers who choose to include these trigger warnings in their reviews but I personally dislike reading reviews which include them if I haven’t yet read the book.

I know my thoughts on this most definitely have the potential to be highly unpopular and that’s totally ok! I’d love to hear your (respectful) thoughts on both sides of this.

Do you appreciate trigger warnings or would you rather read the book (or watch the movie/tv show, etc.) without them? Please share your thoughts in the comments below.

Happy Friday! I hope your weekend is filled with love and BOOKS!

Xo,

Jenny

Other Book Coffee Happy “Let’s Chat” posts:

Let’s Chat: Tablet Vs Book Vs Audiobook?

Let’s Chat: When Your Opinion Is The Unpopular One

Let’s Chat: I’m A Monster. Anyone Else?

Let’s Chat: Read the Book First or Watch the Movie First?

Let’s Chat: Spoilers. Love Knowing or Better Blind?

Let’s Chat: Is Reading a Social Hobby?

Let’s Chat: Book Clubs…Yay or Nay?

Let’s Chat: How Long Until You Officially Abandon A Book?

Let’s Chat: Do You Read the Book Synopsis Before You Read the Book?

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Let’s Chat: Do You Read the Book Synopsis Before You Read the Book?

When I first started writing my blog, I regularly posted a series called “Let’s Chat” where I would bring up a discussion topic and then share my thoughts and feelings on it. Those posts always brought upon such wonderful discussions! It has been a VERY long time since I have written one of these posts! So today, I’m bringing back the Book Coffee Happy old school “Let’s Chat” with this discussion topic: Do you read the book synopsis before you read the book?

***I regularly use the term “book synopsis” on my blog to describe the brief description of what the book is about (what you would read on the back or inside cover of the book). Other terms that describe this same description which I don’t use can include “book blurb”, “book description”, etc. All of these terms are a bit subjective and interchangeable! It’s important to note that the synopsis that I am referring to is NOT a complete book summary which would include all major points in the book including the ending. ***

Do You Read the Book Synopsis BEFORE You Read the Book?

A few weeks ago, one of my very favorite Bookstagrammers Jenna Stop Reading mentioned not reading the book synopsis before reading a book and it got me thinking…I could NEVER do that!

This is quite a debatable topic in the book blogger world. Apparently some people prefer to read the book going into it completely blind as to what the book is going to be about while others (ME) absolutely, 100 percent read the synopsis on the back or inside cover EACH AND EVERY TIME.

I have no idea how someone could read a book without knowing what the book is going to be about! Like…how do you very literally just choose the book by it’s cover??? Mind. BLOWN.

The very first things I look at while choosing a book off the shelf is the front cover, the title, and the author’s name. Absolutely all important…BUT…then I immediately read the synopsis! There have been PLENTY of times where I pick up a book, I think it looks great aaaaaaaaand then I read the synopsis and I put it right back down. How does one go into that so blindly? (I did once write an entire post called “Judging Books by Their Covers”! You can read that post HERE).

Not only do I read the synopsis before deciding what the book is going to be about but I actually read it quite a few times to familiarize myself with the characters and overall story lines.

I also tend to go and read it a few MORE times WHILE reading the book as a reference as to the characters and story lines.

Now there IS a very fine line between reading the book synopsis and learning a potential spoiler. I HATE SPOILERS. Hate, hate, hate (which is why I will NEVER have any book spoilers here on my blog). You can read more about my hatred for spoilers HERE.

Remember a few weeks ago when I was reading Simon Vs The Homosapien Agenda and I was planning on reading it’s sequal without knowing what it was about? I do think that’s a special circumstance as I was afraid if I read the synopsis to the sequel that it would give away spoilers from the original! HOWEVER, as soon as I finished reading Simon, the very first thing I did before reading it’s sequel was to read it’s synopsis! (You can read my review of those 2 books HERE).

When I hear of a book and want to look up the synopsis online the ONLY website that I will do this on is Goodreads. I have found that other websites (I’m looking at you, Amazon!) tend to reveal TOO much of the book description for my liking. Goodreads always shares juuuuuust enough about the book to let me know what it’s about without revealing too much. (FYI this is why I always only share the synopsis from Goodreads on Book Coffee Happy when I write my book reviews :))

So tell me…do you read the book synopsis before reading the book or do you like going in completely blind as to what the book will be about?

Other Book Coffee Happy “Let’s Chat” posts:

Let’s Chat: Tablet Vs Book Vs Audiobook?

Let’s Chat: When Your Opinion Is The Unpopular One

Let’s Chat: I’m A Monster. Anyone Else?

Let’s Chat: Read the Book First or Watch the Movie First?

Let’s Chat: Spoilers. Love Knowing or Better Blind?

Let’s Chat: Is Reading a Social Hobby?

Let’s Chat: Book Clubs…Yay or Nay?

Let’s Chat: How Long Until You Officially Abandon A Book?

Happy Friday! I hope your weekend is filled with love and BOOKS!

Xo,

Jenny

This blog is my favorite hobby and I would so love your support!  Here are ways you can help my blog to GROW:

*Please share this page with your book and blog loving friends!*

*Please share this page with your book and blog loving friends!*

*Subscribe with your email address to my blog (scroll all the way to the bottom of this page on mobile devices OR check the top right of this screen to enter your email address)*

*If you already have a blog, please “follow” mine*

*”Like” my Facebook page (and please comment on, “like”, and share my posts)*

*Follow me on Instagram*

*Follow me on Twitter*

*Subscribe to my YouTube channel*

*Clicking and buying products through my Amazon Affiliate links.  The cost to you is exactly the same and I receive a tiny commission off of your purchases.*

*Leaving a positive review on my Facebook page*

The ultimate list of my top book suggestions can be found HERE

The 12 best books I read in 2020 can be found HERE

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Let’s Chat: When Did This Happen? More Importantly…WHY Did This Happen?

 

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Before my daughter started going to school for the full day, her and I would spend hours upon hours at our local library.  It had a tiny children’s play area with a very old play kitchen, a puppet stage with some very well loved puppets,  a few ancient puzzles, and little jars of crayons that you could check out at the desk to color a picture. There was a giant rug with huge pictures and their corresponding letters.  My daughter and I would pay a game where I would give her clues about the letters or pictures on the rug and she had to hop to the one I was describing. If a child helped to clean up after themselves, they could tell the librarian at the desk and would receive a sticker for their efforts.  There were stacks and stacks of children’s books.  My daughter and I would find a hidden spot in them and sit and read stories aloud, usually about upcoming holidays or events.  We would do all of this for hours and then go into the front room when we started to get hungry.  In the front room, there were a few random blue chairs where her and I would eat our packed lunches and then return to the children’s section for hours more.  At the front door to the building, there was a beautiful hand carved bench which was crafted to look like a bookshelf containing classic stories.  Next to it was an ancient payphone.  My daughter would sit on that bench each time we entered the building and would “call” her grandma each time we excited the building and pretend to tell her all about our day’s adventures at the library.  All in all, spending time at our favorite library was a perfect way to spend our days.   So many of my absolute favorite memories with my daughter occurred in that building.

And then…

Our beloved library received a multi million dollar renovation.

For over a year while they completed the renovation, the temporary location was our place to go.  It was much smaller than our library, but just as wonderful.  It had a few older toys, puzzles, a huge table with blocks, and art project kits that you could check out at the desk.  We loved the temporary location but were counting down until we could return to our favorite main branch and see all of the beautiful improvements.  When the day came where we could finally check it out, we were so excited!

They ruined it.

Not ruined exactly, just…changed it.  Completely.

A gigantic light wall!  Balls that you can shoot up through the ceiling and watch go across the whole room through huge mazes on the wall!  A humongous screen with interactive technolicgical games!  An entire table of ipads!  Big sticky shapes that are meant to be placed on the Velcro wall but you can throw them and they stick!

Gone are the stacks and stacks of books, they are now displayed by theme facing outward.

Gone is the librarians’ desk right in the middle of the room, it’s now on the other side of the library…so also gone is any monitoring of behavior (although this really is the parents’ job but that could be another whole separate post).

Gone are both the beautiful hand crafted bench and payphone at the front entrance.

What was once our quiet, quaint literacy based weekday activity has turned into kids literally RUNNING and SCREAMING through the children’s area.  And not just a few kids…LOTS of kids.  Due to the exciting and newsworthy major renovation, children from all surrounding areas now come to our once quiet library.  Throwing balls, throwing the sticky shapes, climbing on the puppet stage (what used to actually be a tiny doll stage is now a massive custom built area perfect for children to climb).  Everything is brand new, gorgeous, modern, and stunning.

My daughter’s reaction?  She hated it.  Absolutely hated it.  Refused to go back for months.  And I agreed.

There is another local library not far from our town that has a massive slide in the center of the room.  A SLIDE.

When did all of this happen?  When did libraries become indoor play places?

I have always taught (and always will teach) my children that libraries are meant to be quiet places.  I want them to respect the building and the people inside of it who are working, reading, researching, or just trying to enjoy some peace from the loud outside world.  I want them to marvel at the selection of books.  I want them to know that there are endless possibilities awaiting them in those books.  I want them to love those books.  Playtime at the library should absolutely be a part of the experience…but leaving with carefully selected books should be the most exciting part.

When we go to our library now, it’s with the intention that we are going there to play.  Yes, we still check out books…but….what child wants to sit and quietly read while loud kids and balls are zooming all around them?

There is a brand new massive playground outside. It’s huge and amazing and awesome!  But…a part of me misses the old one with the one rickety table and the old tire swing.  I’ll never forget my daughter playing in the dirt under the old tree searching for sticks.  No reason to do that now…the new playground is so huge that no child would ever think of searching at the base of some old tree.

Make no mistake, our new library is GORGEOUS.  Everything about the facility is new and beautiful.  I am beyond fortunate to be able to raise my children in a community where we have this amazing resource. Even the bathrooms are stunning.  But I miss the old bathroom with only the 2 stalls and the broken sink where my daughter learned to read the words “out of order”.

I completely understand that ANY library that actually encourages children to want to come and spend time there is wonderful.  I get it.  I just wish that children would want to come and spend time there for different reasons than they now do.  As an avid reader, instilling a love for books in my children is a top priority.  If I want to take them to a play place, I will take them to a play place.  If I want to take them to a library, I will take them to a library.  The 2 experiences should be different but now they seem to have tangled together…and the result is such a shame.  I also understand that the world is changing and children need to be exposed to the advancements in technology.  I just want to make sure that good old fashioned books and the libraries that house them don’t get lost in that.

As a stay at home mom, my job is to find creative and meaningful experiences for my children to fill our days with a bonus if I can do that for free.

I yearn for the old experiences that our beloved library used to provide.  Our new library absolutely provides experiences, just of a completely different type.  Our new library is so loud and chaotic in the children’s area, not a place you would want to spend an entire day.  We packed our lunches on that very first day we were allowed to finally come back after the year hiatus.  We ate in the gorgeous cafe area…and haven’t packed our lunches since.  Man, I miss those random blue chairs.

I’ve learned as a parent that the best memories and experiences you can give your child sometimes are the simplest ones.  I will never forget sitting with her quietly working on those old puzzles or worrying about when the last time those gross puppets were washed as she performed countless puppet shows for me.

In the end, it doesn’t matter how much money was spent on the renovation…some of the most perfect and special things in life just can’t be bought.

So…what are your thoughts?  Do you agree with me that libraries have gotten completely out of hand with their children’s areas or completely disagree?  I already know that my opinion probably won’t be the most popular one and that’s absolutely fine with me.  Feel free to speak your mind!  One request…Please refrain from mentioning specific library names or any specific locations in the comments!

Xo,

Jenny

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Let’s Chat: Book Clubs…Yay or Nay?

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I have never belonged to a book club. The idea of them is intriguing to me…Everyone reads the same book and then gets together to discuss it?  Sounds like my version of heaven!

However, apparently it’s not always like this?

Apparently people don’t always actually read the book?!? The discussion get together often turns into a wine drinking event where anything and everything is discussed EXCEPT for the book?  Frankly that would drive me insane.  I could imagine me showing up with my highlighted book and notebook full of notes (#booknerd)…and I’d be the only one ready to dive in and discuss?

And what if I don’t like the book picked?  I would never want to be forced to read a book that I didn’t initially want to read.  HOWEVER, this could also be a huge pro because it would force me to expose myself to pieces of literature I otherwise wouldn’t have selected on my own.  And what if I didn’t finish on time?  I would never want to have to skim the rest of a book just to complete it by a certain date.

I love reading and I love discussing books…but on my own terms.  Hence I started a blog to do just that 🙂

So tell me…are you in a book club?  What is yours like?  Who chooses the books?  What if you hate the selection?  What if you don’t finish on time? What happens when you get together to discuss?

This #booknerd clearly needs some answers.

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Let’s Chat: How Long Until You Officially Abandon A Book?

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We’ve all been there.  You start reading a book and aren’t immediately hooked.  Maybe it’s the plot, maybe it’s the characters, maybe it’s the writing style.  Whatever it is, you’re just not into it.  You keep reading, determined that your opinion will change…but sadly it does not.  Do you keep reading?  Do you close the cover and move on to a new book?  Do you keep that book on your nightstand for another 2 months “just in case” you decide to try it again?

I am a firm believer that there are WAY too many wonderful books out there to waste my time reading one that I’m not into.  With 2 young children, my reading window is small enough…why waste the time I do have on a book that I don’t care about? I used to feel so guilty when I would stop reading a book before I finished it.  Now I am in the mindset where my time is too valuable to waste it on something I don’t enjoy (this also just happens to be my mindest for life in general).

I have a rule for myself to give a book 100 pages before making any judgments. That allows time for characters to be introduced, background information to be shared, plots to take hold, etc.  If I make it to page 100 and I still don’t love it…good-bye.  Book closed, moving on.

There are absolutely exceptions to that rule.  There are times where I will push through…especially if a book has come highly recommended.  Rarely does a book turn itself around for me although it is quite exciting when it does!  I also have broken my rule going the other way and have stopped reading a book after only a few pages in.  Sometimes when you know…you just know 🙂

So tell me…what do you do?  Forge through or abandon ship?  How do you determine what’s best for you? Any books you almost abandoned after starting that turned out to be amazing? I would love to discuss in the comments!

Let’s Chat: Tablet Vs Book Vs Audiobook?

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As all readers know, there are typically three ways to “read”:

books, audio versions, and tablets.

I am a “paper book” reader all the way. I love the smell of the pages. I love the way a books feel in my hands. I love the sound of the pages turning.

That said, I can understand the attraction of the other options. Purse not large enough for a giant hardcover book but easily can house a small tablet?  Yes please. Having tons of books preloaded on your device just waiting to be read wherever you are, even on vacation? Amazing. Driving AND enjoying a book at the SAME time while listening to an audiobook? Sounds like a dream.  However, none of that in my mind even compares to the feel of a “paper” book…

Full disclaimer: I have never even tried to listen to an audiobook nor I have I ever tried to read on a device. Zero desire. Paper books all the way for me…

So tell me, what are your thoughts? Are you like me and will only read paper books? Do you love the convenience of having all of your books on a tablet? Are you someone who listens to audiobooks on your daily commute?  What positives and negatives have you found in each? Do you still consider it “reading” if listening to an audiobook? I’m interested in hearing what you think in the comments!