When An Author Affects a Book

9 Mar

My husband asked me an interesting question the other week that I think merits a whole blog post.

Does the author ever effect how you feel about a book?

At first, I thought that was a ridiculous concept. Why would the author make me think differently about the book? If the book is good, it’s good. If it sucks, well, then it sucks. But maybe that’s not always true.

Good author, bad book. I think this happens a lot more than we admit. I adore John Irving and as much as I’d like to say I like every one of his books, I don’t. Some are better than others. The Cider House Rules is better than In One Person. When it comes to J.K. Rowling, I’m guilty. I had a lot of trouble saying I didn’t like The Casual Vacancy and I never would have read the Cormoran Strike novels if I didn’t know they were her. Authors I love get higher ratings from me, even from their bad books.

Bad author, good book. I’m probably guilty of this as well. There are authors I’ve read and not liked. It’s not often I read another of their books to compare, though. I can only think of Alice Hoffman off the top of my head. I read The Ice Queen and hated it. When my book club wanted to read The Museum of Extraordinary Things, I begrudgingly agreed to participate. Of course, I hated it because I went into it knowing I would hate it. I couldn’t give it a fair chance.

There are other things about an author that can affect how I feel about a book, too.

  • Male author with a female protagonist. This sticks out to me a lot. Examples include One Thousand White Women and Brooklyn. I become very critical of the characterization. Does it seem like the female character reacts like I would? Is she experiencing things in a relatable way? I get really upset when it seems unreal.
  • Known controversy around a book. I didn’t know the controversy around Zeitoun when I read it, but my feelings of it in reflection are tainted by what I know about Abdulrahman and Kathy. Sometimes knowing there’s something controversial in a book like 50 Shades of Grey or Gone Girl can get me to be interested in reading it when it’s outside what I normally read.
  • The author is a terrible person. This doesn’t happen often, but the more I read about Zelda Fitzgerald is making me hate both F. Scott and Hemingway. When I read their books, I see influences of the authors themselves and it makes me hate the protagonists and be embarrassed when I like them.
  • Celebrity memoirs. The more I like the celebrity, the more I’ll like the book. Tina Fey? Love it! The book might have flaws, but my love for Tina Fey covered them up.

I can think of a bunch of other times hype around a book can make me think differently about it but as far as just the author, I think most of mine experience fall into higher ratings for books that don’t really deserve it. Any thoughts from you, Reader?

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

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14 Responses to “When An Author Affects a Book”

  1. Laurel-Rain Snow March 9, 2017 at 10:48 AM #

    Great post! I’ll admit to having these thoughts, too. For example, I hated Eat, Pray, Love, mostly because of what I’d read about the author…and about her (seemingly) narcissistic view of the world. LOL. So I won’t even give her a chance to win me over.

    I am also extra critical of males writing from a female perspective.

    As for Alice Hoffman (and even Margaret Atwood), I might love some of their books and not others…but I know they are great writers, so I keep trying.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sam March 9, 2017 at 3:33 PM #

      Hearing bad things about a writer can make such an impact! Glad I’m not alone. I have yet to find an Alicia Hoffman I do like so it’s hard to keep trying. Some writers just aren’t for me. Happy reading!

      Like

  2. Happily Ever After March 9, 2017 at 2:07 PM #

    Very true!!! I’m one that openly admits I do NOT love every book by my favorite authors. It’s just not realistic. But I’ve also noticed that if I read a book by an author that is just so-so for me, I judge there books more harshly. Don’t ask me why;-(

    Like

    • Sam March 9, 2017 at 3:34 PM #

      Haha, kind of like you’ve been burned already and you are cautious of it happening again! Makes total sense. Happy reading!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. HeatherAnne March 9, 2017 at 9:32 PM #

    So many books. So little time. “Judging” the author helps me narrow down the giant number of choices I have when deciding what to read next. On the male author/female protagonist topic, I realized today in another discussion that I really don’t read many male authors, but when I do, I often find fault in their characterization of women. Interesting discussion!

    Like

    • Sam March 9, 2017 at 9:54 PM #

      Thanks for jumping in! Having least favorite authors does help making their books easy ‘passes.’ And having favorites helps me pick them up quickly! Happy reading!

      Like

  4. hmills96 March 10, 2017 at 8:51 AM #

    Because authors are on social media now, there are some that cause me to step back from their books because of their stance on things. I don’t want to support that author because of their racial or LGBTQIA+ prejudices, for example. This may result in me missing out on some books, perhaps, but I’d rather put my money and backing behind marginalized authors who deserve to have their voices heard, rather than those being prejudiced.

    Like

    • Sam March 10, 2017 at 1:39 PM #

      Very good point! Unfollow a lot of writers on Twitter and while they can use their platform to say what they want, I don’t have to agree and it sometimes puts me at odds with them. Thanks for the comment, happy reading!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. faithrivens March 12, 2017 at 2:29 PM #

    I thought this was a very interesting post, and definitely asks the question about our prejudices when reading. But probably more towards loving books by authors I love even when others don’t.

    Like

    • Sam March 12, 2017 at 3:21 PM #

      I’m for sure in that boat. My book clubs have helped me see that bias a lot. Thanks for commenting and happy reading!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. siderealday March 12, 2017 at 6:23 PM #

    Thanks for the interesting post!
    I for sure have been affected by this. There are certain authors I won’t ever read (again or ever, period) due to things I know about them, for example. And then there are other authors where I ignore what I know about their lives/them personally because I like their work and just don’t want to think about it.
    For the most part, I try to separate author from book, even though I know there are authors I insta-buy/borrow/read simply because it’s them. And I try to give authors a second chance, too, but I definitely find that difficult. After all, I didn’t like their other book, why would I like this new one? Although I think it’s hardest when it’s the first book I read of theirs that I like and the second (or later) that has me going ‘ehhh….’

    Like

    • Sam March 12, 2017 at 8:07 PM #

      I think the insta buy is what I’m most guilty of. I try to give authors two tries as well. Sometimes, I just can’t lol. Happy reading!

      Like

  7. jrose88 March 14, 2017 at 12:46 AM #

    I’ve been sucked in by good movie bad book, good book bad movie, and popular movie eh book. At least the last one provides some decent entertainment.

    Like

    • Sam March 14, 2017 at 7:39 AM #

      I hadn’t thought of the movie influence. Good point! I’m not one who usually reads a book after seeing the movie, though. I already know what happens and have to devote 10+ hours to ‘see’ it happen again, haha.

      Like

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