Armchair BEA – Ethics & Non-Fiction

May 31, 2013 Armchair BEA 12


Design credit: Nina of Nina Reads.

Hello! Today’s discussions are about ethics and non-fiction.


Do you have recommendations to new bloggers to ensure credit is given to whom/where credit is due? Have you had an experience with plagiarism? How did you deal with it? What are the guidelines as bloggers that we must follow?

Ethics can be a difficult topic to discuss. Even though I would like to think that we all have the same ethical beliefs as others I know that’s not always the case. However I would say that the general population shares the same ethical beliefs, whether or not the actually abide by them.

As bloggers it is important to blog responsibly and give credit where credit is due. It’s not only the right thing to do (people deserve credit for their work) but it’s also important for your reputation and it could potentially lead to legal trouble as well.

If you participating in a meme, link back to the host. If you are using a picture make sure you are following the creators guidelines. Personally I recommend using free pic websites like Wikimedia Commons as you don’t have to pay for pictures, and the creator’s guidelines are clearly listed below so it’s super easy.

As far as plagiarism goes… don’t do it! Use your own words! (Note: As far as my understanding goes it is totally ok to use both the book cover and book synopsis in your reviews.) Plagiarism is a sure fire way to ruin your reputation.

Personally I don’t read any reviews of a book that I have read but not yet written the review, am currently reading or plan to read in the next few months. I don’t read these reviews because I don’t want to get someone else’s ideas stuck in my head! It’s impossible to read someone else’s review and not take something away from it, so I’ve made this my practice.

Ethics comes down to doing the right thing and treating others how you want to be treated.


Do you read non-fiction?  Why or why not?  Is there a specific type of non-fiction that you prefer to read (i.e., historical, true crime, memoirs, biographies, etc.)?  What is the perfect book for a first-time non-fiction reader?

I will be perfectly honest here – I discriminate against non-fiction. Whenever anyone recommends a book as soon as they say the words “non-fiction” I am thinking to myself that there is no way in hell I’m going to read that book. Now I have read some non-fiction that I have liked, but mostly I’ve found that non-fiction books are written like textbooks and if I wanted to read a textbook I would go back to school.

For me to enjoy a non-fiction book is has to read more like a story less like a textbook. I’ve attempted some history, memoirs and true crime stories and either couldn’t finish the book I had to force myself to trudge through it.

I don’t have any recommendations for a first time non-fiction reader, but do you have any recommendations for me?


12 Responses to “Armchair BEA – Ethics & Non-Fiction”

  1. Kelsey @ The Lost Book Reports

    I loved your response to ethics. It was straight forward and polite.

    As far as Non- Fiction goes, it is not a genre I gravitate towards.. but I will make exceptions if it is on topics I have personal interest in.. but even then it usually needs a cute cover or name.

  2. Trish

    I think every post I’ve visited this morning has mentioned not being a fan of non-fiction. I had a tough time narrowing down my list to some favorites! ;) If you’re not a big fan of facty type of books I’d recommend memoirs or biographies that aren’t dry. The Glass Castle reads like fiction and is an absolutely beautiful memoir. I highly recommend it!!

    In terms of ethics, I try not to read posts for books that I need to review as well–like you I don’t want my thoughts to be colored at all.

  3. a barmy bookworm

    Never used to touch non fiction. Reminded me too much of school too. But with age (I’m not old, just not 20 anymore…) I’ve started finding (some) enjoyment in it. I’m learning to be a photographer, and like to read about that and other people’s experiences; I enjoy psychology and self-help books: He’s just not that into you – insightful, funny and v useful to know!!; and I’m not big on (auto)biographies but did enjoy Nigel Slater’s Toast and Becoming Jane + Austen’s letters. :0)
    a barmy bookworm recently posted…But for my part, if a book is well written, I always find it too short – Jane AustenMy Profile

  4. Jennifer

    I could recommend a million (or so) nonfiction books as they are my true love ;) I think a great place to start is with a great memoir like The World’s Strongest Librarian by Josh Hanagarne. Also, there are some fantastic graphic novel nonfiction books like Maus, or Persepolis.
    Jennifer recently posted…Nonfiction Love ~ Armchair BEAMy Profile

  5. Petty Witter

    Another interesting post and even more so now that plagiarism sadly seems to be on the increase it.

    I’m with you in that I also don’t read any reviews of a book that I have read until after I have reviewed AND posted as I don’t want to be influenced in any way. Just as well really as lately I have rated several books as being very poor only to find lots of other reviewers are raving about them.
    Petty Witter recently posted…THE HAPPY NUMBERS OF JULIUS MILES.My Profile

  6. Alexia561

    Very well said! Like you, I try not to read reviews before I’ve finished mine, just to be on the safe side. The downside is that sometimes I forget certain parts of the book I wanted to mention, but that’s just because I don’t take notes.

    As for non-fiction….not a big fan. :)
    Alexia561 recently posted…Armchair BEA: Ethics & Non-FictionMy Profile

  7. Melissa

    Non-fiction is not my preferred genre, but I have found a handful of amazing books. I can’t rant and rave enough about The Widow Clicquot. I posted about it today – if you like stories about a strong, determined woman, check it out! It reads more like historical fiction than a non-fiction book. Give it a chance!
    Melissa recently posted…Armchair BEA – Day 4: Non-FictionMy Profile

  8. Dana

    I agree that the best way to be ethical is to just treat people like you’d want to be treated.

    I love non-fiction. Not as big on memoirs as other stuff but I love to learn and non-fiction fits the bill.
    Dana recently posted…Armchair BEA Ethics and Non-fictionMy Profile

  9. Leanne Yang

    Ethics is a really important topic when blogging. I mean, I understand that there aren’t any strict rules and rigid guides to follow when blogging, but there are certain things that you should do just out of respect. I really hope everyone is appreciating the topic chosen for today, I sure do! :)

    Leanne @ Escaping With Books
    Leanne Yang recently posted…Armchair BEA: EthicsMy Profile