What Should We Do With Problematic Books?

Hello there! So last night I was on my Goodreads instead of actually reading and was adding more books to my already extremely long TBR.

I stumbled upon reviews of Smash It! and A Deadly Education which pointed out how problematic these books are, which made me wonder, What should we do with problematic books? What actually makes a book problematic?

So today my friends, I am going to show off my poor discussion skills in another discussion post! without any further ado, lets get straight into the post!

What Makes A Book ‘Problematic’?

  • Representing a minority in the book inappropriately or stereotypically.
  • Hatefully or mocking comments to a specific community.
  • Racism, bigotry and ignorance towards current events.

There could be many, many more aspects that make a book problematic. These are usually ignored by people who aren’t very educated about the problematic aspects the book has.

Its not secret nothing is perfect, and so aren’t books and authors who write them. Everyone makes mistakes. Terrible people aren’t always the ones doing something wrong. Good people mess up too, but that doesn’t mean we should let it slide.

Some examples of problematic books I read are The Bookweaver’s Daughter and Eleanor and Park

How Should We Deal With Problematic Books?

Firstly, before a book is published, it should be fact checked very, very carefully to avoid and remove any hurtful comments. There are sensitivity readers who read the book to ensure that the book isn’t quote unquote ‘problematic’.

But what if the book is already published?

Those with a platform should speak up. Readers like us are the only reason publishers are able to run their business. If the publishers who published the book were unaware about the book’s problematic aspects, they should made aware of them. If they really care about their readers, they might double check the book and edit out any hurtful comments.

What if you read a book which is a problematic without knowing it was?

If you read a book or an ARC which turned out to be problematic, do not hesitate to write an in-depth review of it to make others aware about the book’s problematic aspects. Educate the ones who are unaware about the content of the book.

STOP RECOMMENDING IT. Please. Don’t recommend problematic books and stop promoting them on your platform. No matter how much you liked them, it is not right promoting a book which is hurtful to certain communities. If you still continue to promote it, it is very well understood that you support the ideals of the book.

Use your platform to boost and amplify marginalized voices and promote the importance of diversity.

So is the author cancelled now?

Well, it depends. Sometimes the author might not have done proper research before writing the book. If they acknowledge their mistakes and correct them, then you know the author is a real one, who takes constructive criticism professionally. If the author stays silent and refuses to accept their mistakes, you know book twitter is gonna take care of them.

At the end of the day, they are humans too and you should never target and hate an author, problematic or not, to a point that it impacts their mental health. Always remember that.


Thank you for reading! If you enjoyed this post don’t forget to leave it a like (or rate it) and follow my blog for more.

What do you think about problematic books? Have you read any ‘problematic’ books? Let me know in the comments!

Till next time, Stay safe!
Signing Off,


11 thoughts on “What Should We Do With Problematic Books?

  1. this is such a needed discussion post!! a lot of authors that i love have written problematic books, or have been racist/homophobic in the past, so i try to stop recommending the book and supporting the author. i still read the books (rarely), but i try my best not to talk about them! i’ve been reading a lot of #ownvoices recently, and it’s so much better!! the books are so much more accepting and there are so many diverse/queer reps!! thank you for this post ❀❀

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Very interesting post!! I actually have been thinking about this a lot. So far, what I’m doing is I tend to stay away from books that I already *FEEL* I will not like. Just like the first comment said, I’d rather read books by #ownvoices forever, I wouldn’t say they’re perfect but from my reading experience, I tend to love and appreciate them more. I’m not cancelling white authored books, however, if I already know that author is being problematic or that they had that issue in the past, I might personally NOT read anything from them anymore.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. This is such an important post! And I agree with all of it. The publishing industry should really work on making sure books reach own voices reviewers, it would help solve this problem a little bit

    Great discussion post πŸ‘

    Liked by 1 person

  4. This is such an important discussion Prutha!! I’ve been thinking about this topic recently, so this post came at just the right time. I know that whenever popular authors (SJ Maas, Marissa Meyer, Cassandra Clare) are accused of being problematic, their gigantic fanbases immediately jump to their defense — and I can relate! I’ve probably been guilty of this as well at some point! But it’s so so so important to acknowledge that members of a community have been hurt and offended by a book’s content even if you don’t agree with them. Everyone’s opinion matters, after all πŸ€— Thank you for such an in-depth discussion Prutha! πŸ’—

    Liked by 1 person

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