Wednesday, February 16, 2011

On Personal Standards

There is a great deal of disagreement between book bloggers over when one should or should not review. In this case, the question is that of percentage completion. There are others who agree that 50% is sufficient, but after several days of internal conflict, and consultations with people whose opinions I respect, I have decided to pull my review of Digger's Bones.


I believe that intentions and purpose are oftentimes more important than an action itself. In this case, I chose to stop reading at 52% not because of the quality of the work, but rather because the book violated a personal deal-breaker (albeit one that was clearly stated in the submission guidelines). The end result is the same — cessation of reading — but the reasoning makes all the difference in the world to my conscience. As such, I have decided to adhere to my own rules and removed my review of a work containing religion-related material.

This is an ongoing issue, and it has left me thoroughly nonplussed. Are the guidelines being taken as mere suggestions, or is it a matter of interpretation regarding what does or does not constitute religious themes, graphic violence, etc.? My opinion vacillates between the two explanations, but at the end of the day, I can only control my own actions; I cannot dictate the motions and motivations of others. So here's a toast to personal codes of ethics and individual attitudes towards morality. May you continue to thrive and impose your polarized will upon us.

2 comments:

Paul Mansfield Keefe said...

Although I appreciate your pulling your review of Digger's Bones I do respect your opinion and your choice to not allow religious content.

You're right in assuming that the guidelines can be, and in my case were, misinterpreted. I didn't intend for the book to be anti-religious and the ending of the book certainly points that out.

However, the book does not conform to accepted Catholic doctrine and so there in lies the problem with interpreting the rules.

I appologize if the text offended you or your readers in any way.

Paul Mansfield Keefe
Author of Digger's Bones

Alice said...

Thank you for the apology; I understand that it wasn't on purpose.

Admittedly, it is a fine line to walk when it comes to religion, politics, and the like. I'm fine with religion insofar as it relates to one character's beliefs (e.g. Father Paneloux from Albert Camus' The Plague), but it starts to get sticky when it involves doctrine or the author seems to have an agenda to push. The latter is unrelated to your work but has been a problem with some other submissions I've received.

In any case, thanks for your comment, and my apologies for any undue stress or perceived unfairness from the original review.

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