This is a topic I have seen written about a lot since I started blogging, and heard of even before that. Originally I had not planned on tossing my hat into the ring, if you will, except in comments, but things have happened since that made me feel like I should before I post another review.
When I was really little, I thought books magically appeared on bookshelves, whether they be mine, the library’s, or a book store’s. At some point I learned there were people behind the books, but I didn’t care about them. I just wanted to read some stories!
It wasn’t until I was almost 12 years old and had truly started learning about the Internet that I suddenly started caring. Not because the Internet put me in touch with authors like it does now thanks to social media, but I had all this knowledge right at my fingertips. The other thing that happened back then: I read the first three Harry Potter books. And Scholastic had a website dedicated to it.
Suddenly I was learning quite a bit about J.K. Rowling and I would continue to do so as the other four Harry Potter books were published and, to a much smaller extent, even now. I read about her writing bits of the story on napkins, how Hermione was based on her as a girl, how she’d first gotten the idea on a train ride…. I read interview after interview.
Until I couldn’t take it anymore. It wasn’t that I didn’t like J.K. Rowling (I’m still planning on reading The Cuckoo’s Calling) or the Harry Potter books anymore, but there were some things in her interviews that didn’t come across as right (not that she was the one necessarily saying them), and I was finding it harder not to think of what I read or heard in interviews as I was reading and re-reading (and re-reading) the Harry Potter books.
I think it’s fair to say going through that taught me a valuable lesson that I still try to follow – authors and their books should be kept separate.
Now when I read a book, I don’t pay attention to things the authors have said or done that I may have heard about. I force myself to push it from my mind. In rare occasions it may be something “too big” for me to look past, if only because it has been drilled into my head. For instance, A Million Little Pieces by James Frey. I can’t get over the author calling this work non-fiction when he wrote it as fictional. Since finding out he has also written a Young Adult series (which was turned into a movie), I can’t go near any of those books.
Another example is more my own fault than anyone else’s. I can no longer read books by James Patterson. I used to love his Women’s Murder Club series and enjoyed a few books in the Maximum Ride series. But once I found out how many books he publishes in such a short period of time and that he is not even the sole author, I started seeing red. His name was so big on all the covers, and his co-authors’ names so small. I just couldn’t stand it. And I still can’t. Yes, it is a good thing he gives credit to his co-authors since some don’t even do that, but for some reason I just could not and cannot look past it. Though I will admit Sundays at Tiffany’s does intrigue me.
Aside from those very rare instances, I am capable of keeping books and their authors separate. Ender’s Game? Totally on my to read (and to watch) list. Orson Scott Card? Do not agree with his views. All fourteen of the Oz books and The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus? LOVE them. L. Frank Baum? Racist. Now, keeping in mind that I know those things about Orson Scott Card and L. Frank Baum, I’d like to add that I don’t generally seek out information on authors anymore aside from what other books they’ve written. In the case of Card, it was all over various sites I visit during the weeks leading up to the theatrical release of Ender’s Game the movie. As for L. Frank Baum, that was my bad. In 2012 when I marathon-ed his Oz books, I went to his Wikipedia page and found his descendants actually apologized for his racist views not long ago.
So, what exactly am I getting at here? And why now? Well, the why is not important other than I know there are some authors whose books I have either recently read or am planning on reading in the very near future, who are not considered to be entirely… reader-friendly – for lack of a better term. I won’t name names because my exact point is that I generally don’t care about that. If I find a book that sounds interesting, I pick it up and/or add it to my to read list. Maybe even read it right away. If I read a story and I like it, I’m going to give it a good rating. All regardless of what the author has said or done or believes.
Ninety nine percent of the time, the story stands on its own.
And that goes for any negative reviews too.
This entry was posted on February 13th, 2014 and and is filed under Thoughts & Musings. Get RSS feed for comments on this post or the TrackBack URI for this article. Tags: Author: J.K. Rowling, Author: James Frey, Author: James Patterson, Author: L. Frank Baum, Author: Orson Scott Card, Book: A Million Little Pieces, Book: Ender's Game, Book: Sundays at Tiffany's, Book: The Cuckoo's Calling, Book: The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus, Series: Cormoran Strike, Series: Harry Potter, Series: Maximum Ride, Series: Oz, Series: Women's Murder Club
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