To Review or Not to Review?

On the rare occasions I’ve had to turn down a review request, it’s generally been because I’ve already reviewed the book or poetry collection offered for review. However, news that Milo Yiannopoulos has signed a book deal with Threshold, made me seriously pause for thought. Milo Yiannopoulos is an editor at Breitbart News, led a harrassment campaign against the actor Leslie Jones, which led to him being suspended from twitter, and plagarised Tori Amos’s song lyrics in a book of ‘poems’ published under a pen name, Milo Andreas Wagner. He claimed the quoted lyrics was an intentional artistic statement. I can see why Threshold are willing to take a chance on him delivering a book: he will generate a lot of buzz if not actual book sales.

Why would this be a problem? Why not simply boycott the book?

Threshold are an imprint of Simon & Schuster. Regular readers will have noticed I review Simon & Schuster novels because I’m on their list of book reviewers, i.e. if they publish a book they think will interest me, they send me an ARC. The Chicago Review of Books have stated they will not review any Simon & Schuster books this year. I can sympathise with this.

But it makes me uneasy. I am generally in favour of people having the right to say what they think. However, that right does not extend to the right to abuse and bully others. It does not extend to using a platform to attempt to silence others either. I don’t think it helps other Simon & Schuster authors to refuse to review their books, particularly when they’d already signed contracts (books take a long time to publish) and had no say in the signing of Yiannopoulos or chance to renege on their own contracts if they had known about it.

So I will not boycott Simon & Schuster books, providing I think that the ARC is interesting enough to justify a review. Do you think this is the right decision?

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Posted in books. Tags: . 3 Comments »

3 Responses to “To Review or Not to Review?”

  1. jaynestanton Says:

    If I were the reviewer in question, I would in all likelihood not self-impose a blanket boycott on S & S reviews as this would be to the detriment of other authors on their list. However, I might, in light of the dilemna described, decline reviews of books by certain authors.

  2. emmalee1 Says:

    I only review for Simon & Schuster UK who have confirmed that they will not be publishing or distributing the book in question. It’s one of the USA imprints that’s accepted it. I certainly will not be reviewing that particular book.

  3. henacynflin Says:

    You may be able to do more to counter his ideas by your review than a boycott. Especially s the boycott may just act as more pre-publicity


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