#PTALive Melbourne: Monday 14th April 2014: Possible Rant Ahead

Unpopular Opinion Time! But first, the positive:

-Location: cinema at Melbourne Central
-Set-up: section for book purchasing
-Ordered agenda: slides to keep the presentation on topic and track
-Presenter: Ms. Felicity is old-hand at this, with plenty of experience presenting, and loads of enthusiasm
-Preview of PTA TV: interview with Richelle Mead, who has an announcement coming in a month or so
-Publication schedule: the most informed and varied part of evening
-Shout-out to the Australian YA Bloggers Goodreads Group

I have no doubt that most of the crowd had no quibbles at all, so I’m in the minority here. And I do understand that you can’t please everyone, so you may as well cater to the majority.

“The show everyone’s talking about”, “unmissable”, “[insert over-the-top superlative here]” – I have “Fear of Missing Out” (FOMO) at the best times, but not in these circumstances. The more that people seem to like something, the more I’m inclined to NOT like it. It’s not deliberate; just that our interests are different, and attempts at conversion are useless. I don’t think less of people because they like something I don’t, as long as they respect my views, too. Agree to disagree, and all that.

(Image from Family Guy Wikia.)

But the more something is shoved down my throat, the more likely I am to resist, and to vomit…as opposed to accepting, and learning to love the tentacle. (That’s a Futurama reference, though that doesn’t seem to be part of Penguin Teen Australia’s fandoms.)

I am not a fan of John Green, Hank Green, Nerdfighters, DFTBA, et al. The reasons are numerous and varied, but I figure we’re all stubborn people, and no one is going to change their mind because of something someone else says – so I won’t try to convert you, as long as you don’t try to convert me.

I understand that film adaptations bring more readers to books, and are great introductions for people who aren’t already familiar with the age group, genre, etc. That’s fine. But #PTALive is full of BOOK PEOPLE. Considering the film adaptation is of a book first published in…2012 maybe, by now people have decided whether they’re interested in the story or not. And when we’ve decided we’re not, but the book, the author, and the community are brought up regularly and consistently…it’s really farking annoying. And the constant pushing of it did not change my mind. Instead, I found myself disliking the product more and more.

(Image from Quick Meme.)

I was seething, people. Not aloud. But my eyes rolled, my jaw hardened, and my handwriting turned to all caps with exclamation marks. (Yes, I took notes throughout the event on my Post-It notes. No, I don’t have a smart-phone or tablet; I am poor.) At the end, we were dismissed, so off I went, then we were called back. I returned. Apparently, some guys did a good deed earlier, which is great. But then “Nerdfighters” were mentioned, and I stalked out. Fed up. Completely over it. Had I paid anything more than train fare and meal money, I would’ve been absolutely outraged, possibly demanding my money back because I was so dissatisfied. But it was a free event, so I can’t – and won’t demand – compensation for having to suppress my anger and frustration.

It could’ve been worse.

I like Richelle Mead, and am interested in all her series. I like Vampire Academy, though I’ve only read the first two books. But I’m old-fashioned: only interested in BOOKS – NOT their adaptations, NOT their book trailers. And not “ships”, either – I like world-building, and plotting, but I’m completely over reading about romance and love interests. OVER IT. And there was a lot of freaking talk about “Sydrian”, and the book trailers – because one of the actors was in attendance, and had a short interview. I wasn’t interested, but my affection for the books made this much more tolerable than…well, see my earlier gripe.

There was a little attention given to other books: Top 5, favourites, other publisher’s books, stuff the staff wants to read, and the wonderful publication schedule. If only the rest of the evening had been less fangirly, and more informational and varied as that schedule, I would’ve been quiet content. Unfortunately, there was no mention of Jessica Spotswood’s Sisters’ Fate, which is due out on 14th August in the US and UK…

The event could’ve capitalised on the large audience (350 people, reportedly) to give more attention to the lesser-known books and authors, but for the most part the well-known and popular books hogged the limelight. Though I was on the fence about Scott Westerfeld’s Afterworlds before, I definitely want to read it now.

The publication schedule came with a problem, though: Pittacus Lore. If you haven’t heard of James Frey and the way he treats his “writer sweatshop”, or his upcoming new series that sounds like a total rip-off of… well, the information is online.

And I disagree with the statement that Katie McGarry’s books are New Adult. To me, New Adult is about university-aged characters, whereas McGarry’s are in high school, so they’re more Young Adult.

Giveaways and goodie bags included a Vampire Academy film poster, Sally Green’s Half Bad, and Maya van Wagenen’s Popular: Vintage Wisdom for a Modern Geek, but I declined all these. (No point in accepting things I won’t use.)

P.S. These links are relevant if you’re interested in understanding why I don’t like certain things:

http://bibliodaze.com/2014/04/say-no-to-james-frey-why-im-boycotting-full-fathom-five/
http://bibliodaze.com/2014/03/green-tinted-glasses-filtering-ya-through-a-narrow-lens/
http://bibliodaze.com/2014/02/john-green-privilege/
http://carriemesrobian.com/2014/03/this-is-very-upsetting/
http://www.thebooklantern.co.uk/2013/10/how-do-you-read-book-any-way-you-want-to.html
http://www.thebooklantern.co.uk/2012/09/the-green-brothers-and-white-boy.html
http://www.thebooklantern.co.uk/2012/09/the-green-brothers-and-white-boy_5.html
http://www.thebooklantern.co.uk/2012/07/minority-warriors.html

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