Wednesday, January 14

Royal Rantings #2: Should we judge books by their authors?

Hello dearies. Today I'm here with my second discussion post. I picked this topic because in the end of 2014 I read a tweet by an author that changed my opinion of her completely. Since then I can't stop wondering if I should continue with a series by her or stop reading her books altogether. I'm really looking forward to reading your thoughts upon this topic, I asked some questions to help but honestly just say whatever you want. Who knows? Maybe you'll be able to help me decide what to do. :) 

I'm pretty sure by now all of you have heard about Kathleen Hale's lovely essay in The Guardian, I even mentioned it in my discussion about writing negative reviews. It's no news either that many people spoke up and told their opinion on Hale's article, what I didn't know was that Danielle Paige, author of Dorothy Must Die tweeted about it too. So a few days ago when I saw her tweet it caught me by total surprise. 

Did you read Dorothy Must Die? Will you be reading The Wicked Will Rise after this? 

I was mortified, and more than that I was disappointed in Paige. I was a huge fan of Dorothy Must Die ever since it'd been published and realising that one of my favorite 2014 debut authors would not only say that stalking was okay, but support it too, freaked me out. With a simple sentence she became one of those authors who I do not want to support in any way, much less buy any of her books.

Let me tell you that besides Kathleen Hale I never ever judged intentionally a book based on my opinion of the author. It seems awful not to give a chance to something that I'm interested in based on my opinion of a person who I don't even know in personally. I like to view authors as I view people in my everyday life: the thing that I dislike someone doesn't mean that she can't be talented. That said, after thinking a bit about other authors who I dislike I realised that I might not be as good at separating books from their authors as I'd thought. 

 Do you judge books by their authors? Do you feel guilty about it? 

The first author who I read something bad about was Cassandra ClareThe Mortal Instruments was one of my favorite series up until the fourth book was released which I did not enjoy, at all. Around then I read some pretty unappealing things about Clare which made me dislike her. At that time I didn't realised that my opinion of Clare influenced how I viewed her books but it did. I'm not saying that it completely changed my thoughts but maybe it was part of the reason for finding so many negative things in her novels.

Have you ever gave up on a series because your opinion of the authors changed for the worse? 

Here comes the hard thing. I can see that there's a huge chance I won't enjoy The Wicked Will Rise, maybe only if it will be completely perfect. So why should I torture myself? I already said that I do not want to pay for this book, and in Hungary there are nearly no English books in the library so borrowing from there is not a solution. 

At the same time I really liked, if not loved, the characters of Dorothy Must Die and I'm dying to know what will happen to them. The thing that makes me the most hesitant is that continuing the series maybe just ruin my memories of the first book too, like it happened with TMI. 

What do you think I should do? I could use some help because I honestly have no freaking idea what to do! Have you ever been in the same situation? 

Thanks for stopping by! :)


  1. I just found your blog on Goodreads and this is a really interesting topic. The first case that comes to mind for me is Orson Scott Card. He is a science fiction writer who wrote Ender's Game, one of the most beloved SF books ever. It, and its sequel, are great books and won piles of awards. Then, when it looked like my love affair had begun with Card, I discovered that he was a homophobic Mormon who had said that he would actively try to bring down any government that supported gay marriage. A total scumbag basically. Ender's Game was turned into a movie last year and there was a huge campaign to boycott it and stop giving a homophobic asshole money. I still love Ender's Game and Speaker For The Dead, they're great books, but I don't think I'll buy anything by him again.

    There's also another writer, Marion Zimmer Bradley, who wrote The Mists Of Avalon, also a beloved fantasy, who was recently revealed to have horribly physically and sexually abused her children. I hadn't read The Mists Of Avalon at that point and now I never will.

    It's a very interesting debate because you should be able to focus on the book and not the person but for some reason I just can't. There's a very similar debate in music except there are way more assholes in music whereas authors are generally pretty sound.


    1. I haven't heard about him before but now that I looked into the things he said he sounds like someone whose face I'd smash in real life. I hate when someone judges people who are different from the "normal". I can totally understand why you wouldn't want to buy anything by him again. But that's great that what he said didn't ruin your love for books you'd read by him.

      Oh gosh, I had no idea about Bradley. I saw her name around but never heard of the sexual abuse. I think that sometimes you don't have a chance of separating books from their authors. I'd be surprised if someone wanted to read this book after hearing about what this woman did to her daughter.

      I actually thought about giving some examples of some famous people in the discussion but then deleted it because it was a bit off topic. I think my main problem isn't with singers, I don't really care about who sings the song as long as I like it. What I'm really bad is liking movies that have actors in them who I dislike. The thing is that most of these actors did nothing to deserve my "hatred" but I just can't help it. Shailene Woodley is a perfect example, she didn't do anything special that I could mention, still she isn't sympathetic at all.

      Thanks for leaving such a meaningful comment! :)

  2. Wow, what an interesting topic!

    I actually found out about Hale's article from Danielle Paige. I really don't like Paige because of her affiliation with Full Fathom Five but I liked her series so I believe I'm going to continue on with The Wicked Will Rise.

    I'm a naturally judgmental person and while I try hard not to judge books by their authors, I do. However, I also judge the actual books and if I like how the book sounds then I'll continue on with it. It's like you said: just because a person has certain opinions doesn't mean they're not talented.

    Take for example, James Frey and Orson Scott Card. I've read articles about James Frey and the author sweatshop that he cultivates. I checked out Endgame, his most recent book, and it didn't really tickle my senses. Hence, my judgement of the author as well as his books resulted in me not reading Endgame even though it has a gorgeous cover and me planning to not go to his signing later this month.

    But it is different with Orson Scott Card. If I'm not mistaken, Card is a homophobic and I fully support the LGBT community. However, I thoroughly enjoyed Ender's Game, which is why I bought the rest of the books in the series. There are no homophobic slurs or messages in that book but if it crops up, then I'm dropping it faster than a hot potato.

    Do you get it? I don't think I did a very good job of explaining...

    Anyway, I really love this post!

    1. I heard a lot about Full Fathom Five, and I didn't like any of it but I still wanted to read Paige's book and give it a go. And it was awesome! And now I just feel like my opinion might cloud my judgement of the book.

      James Frey is one of those authors who I heard tons of negative things about but, like you, never was interested in any of his books. To be honest, I have never heard of Card before, even though now that I checked his GR profile I can see he has plenty of highly popular books. I hate homophobic people but it's really nice that he doesn't try to force his way of thinking onto his readers by putting his thoughts on paper.

      You made an awesome job of telling your opinion, and honestly helped me with deciding what to do. I think I'll read The Wicked Will Rise. I want to separate the book from the author and I hope to hell I'll be able to do that. At least if I don't like it I won't have any bad feelings dropping the series halfway.

      I'm really glad you enjoy this discussion! Thanks for the thoughtful comment! :)

  3. Oh wow! I have not read Dorothy Must Die (even though I want to) but seeing anyone, not matter who, sharing and approving what Hale did is just disgusting. That's it!

    I don't really let my reading experience be influenced by my opinion of the author but sometimes it is inevitable and here comes my experience with Cassandra Clare. I was in the middle of City of Glass when I heard about the whole situation with plagiarism and how bad she treated people who basically didn't do what she wanted and I was mortified. Still, I've finished her books and adored both TMI and TID series so I didn't let that affect what I was reading. But, unfortunately, I don't plan to read anymore books she published - with the exception of the bane chronicles or the new collection of short stories about Simon because I've wanted to read that for awhile now. Why did I change my mind? Because she is indeed milking it. I don't think two more series are necessary even though I was kinda excited at first; not only that, but her books are not what people would consider as cheap. So yeah, no more Cassandra Clare series for me.

    And about your dilemma, I can imagine how you must be thinking but since you want to know what is gonna happen with the characters you could buy the ebook form of the book instead of investing money in a physical book

    1. Exactly, sometimes you just can't help judging the book. I gave up completely on anything connected to TMI. The last three books of the series were such a let down, and besides a few novellas, I didn't enjoy The Bane Chronicles at all (hope you'll like it though). Now I feel like it's better if I don't read anything else connected to TMI. Plus I'm not sure about you but it really freaking annoys me how Clare ALWAYS changes the publication date of her books.

      I think I'll do that! It sounds better than buying a printed copy and this way I'll be able to read it as soon as I can. Despite my negative opinion on Paige, I hope you'll enjoy Dorothy Must Die if you choose to read it in the end.

  4. I heard yeah. I bought Dorothy Must Die shortly after it was published (before this shitty thing happened) and I still haven't read it. I wanted to read it so badly but now I just lost my appetite for it. Still what if I'm missing out? Plus I own it. Ugh I don't know.

    I don't like Cassandra Clare's books as much as I want to (well except Clockwork Prince I loved that one) because I just feel like they have a bit of a forced fan-fictiony feel (to me). And I know that's partly because of what I heard about the author. I just can't help it.

    1. I guess you're in an even worse situation than I am, at least I've already read something by her. I completely understand what you're saying, it's so hard to separate an author's work from what you've heard about her. Maybe you should try to read a few chapters and see what you think of it. I mean I'd do that if I already had it.

      I agree but I think Clare has the potential to write something better. Though at this point I wouldn't be surprised if she never gave up on books connected to TMI. I wish she would finally write something COMPLETELY different.

  5. I hate it when I hear bad things about authors because they are people I really admire for having written such great pieces of art, and no-one likes to discover that the person they look up to is actually not as wonderful as they first thought. But it still doesn't stop me from reading their books. because I think no author deserves to have someone blacklist his/her book based on their behaviour. They're still great books written by people with great talent. I try to stay away from author gossip as much as possible because I hate hearing bad things about them, and when I do, I want to erase that information from my mind!


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