Ah… the tricky question of ethics. Today Armchair BEA tackles:
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?
Giving credit is really easy and is just plain polite. Firstly, be honest in your reviews. Take a minute, think back on the book. What did you actually think? There’s no reason to be mean or rude, but you should make well-reasoned and insightful comments, whether positive, negative or neutral.
ALWAYS thank the publicist / publisher for sending you an ARC or review copy. This is for two reasons. 1) It’s good manners to thank someone for their generosity. 2) It is a disclosure to your readers that you received the book free of charge.
If you yank a cool photo for your post, be sure to credit the source. Short of that, at least link back to it. I find that 9 times out of 10 that I don’t mind if someone quotes me, as long as they credit me. It’s when someone pretends it is their idea or work that really irks me (that’s an understatement). I’ve not been plagiarized (at least, not that I am aware of) so I don’t have an ideas for dealing with that.
The Second Part… Non-Fiction
Yes, of course I read non-fiction! I love biographies, especially ones about people you have never heard of or secondary characters in history. I quite enjoyed Lady at the OK Corral which is about Wyatt Earp’s wife of nearly 50 years. Paul French’s Midnight in Peking is a wonderful true crime book about an unsolved mystery in 1930s China. The trick is finding writers who can bring those people and places to life. I’ve also read plenty of historical non-fiction that held good information and was clearly well-researched, but it was not at all enjoyable to read.
I can’t recommend enough the work of Erik Larson. His book Issac’s Storm recounts the infancy of the National Weather Service and how Galveston, Texas was hit hard by the Hurricane of 1900. It gave me nightmares. The Devil In The White City brought into vivid relief the magic and majesty of the 1893 Columbian Exposition in Chicago set against the dark backdrop of a serial murderer. And Thunderstruck pitted Marconi and his wireless against a transatlantic ship harboring a fugitive.
If these sound too intense, try the very funny works of Nancy Mitford. Social heiress, and one of five sisters, she recounts her family hijinks in both fiction and non-fiction works.
Just remember: Truth is stranger than Fiction.