Guardian Newspaper 1000 Novels discussion

Talk About Books > Does an author’s behaviour have any influence on your reading?

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message 1: by Sarah (last edited Nov 25, 2013 02:07PM) (new)

Sarah | 103 comments Mod
In the How do you choose the books you read thread the suggestion was made that books should be judged separately from the actions and attitude of the author.

It will be interesting to discuss if you are able to enjoy a book even when aware of behaviour by the author that goes against your personal principles, or if you find yourself unable to read books by such a writer. There is no right or wrong in this, it will just be interesting to hear how people deal with this conundrum - and from those who think there is no conundrum to be dealt with!

message 2: by Anne Sofie (last edited Nov 25, 2013 12:18PM) (new)

Anne Sofie (annesofielovesmozart) I've often thought about exactly that question.

Personally i take it as a challenge and an exercise, when i read a book, Watch a movie, hear music or look at art, to separate the artist from their Work.
I think it's important to do so, or at least try. Especially because it's often essential for the understanding of a piece of art / movie / literature / music. You have to be open minded, without biased views on it.
It's not easy, that's for sure. I'm 23 and i imagine it's a lifelong project !

I believe that even though an artist / author may be provocative or irritate you, it's important you see beyond that, and enjoy the Work for what it is and not for what you think it is :)

message 3: by Sarah (new)

Sarah | 103 comments Mod
Hi Anne

It sounds as though you are considering the question from another point of view as well, that is if a book (or any art) jars, does that then influence how you feel about the writer/artist? I think this is an easier one for people to answer - the reaction will be more immediate, and the feelings about the creator of the work more straightforward. Do say if you (or any members reading this) disagree with this though.

My problem is hearing something unpleasant about a formerly enjoyed writer. Reading your post helped me to realise part of my problem is guilt. If I discover an author had, say, racist views I find it difficult to feel comfortable reading their fiction once aware of this. Not just on principle, I am unable to enjoy books written by such an author as I cannot suspend knowledge of their behaviour while reading, so it is there in my mind.

message 4: by Anne Sofie (new)

Anne Sofie (annesofielovesmozart) Yes and of course there is exeptions. If a racist is writing a book about his hate to Black people / other coloured people i wouldn't read it. BUT if a racist wrote very beutiful poetry, which hadn't anything to do with the fact that he was a racist, and i liked it ,i would like it even though he was a racist.

Now, let's take Wagner for example. He was a nazi, and when you know he had that kind of sick beliefs, you might see some of it in his Operas. But that isn't enough for me to unlike his Work. Precisely because he doesn't brainwashes me to think like him. I think his operas was great music, and i enjoy it very much.

message 5: by Bridget (new)

Bridget | 3 comments I feel I can separate the author from the book. The characters I love are completely detached from the people who created them, at least for me. This may be because I sometimes forget the characters aren't real people, with the ones I really love especially.

message 6: by Christine (new)

Christine | 16 comments Anthony wrote: "My personal culture tells me that, "There's now't so queer as folk". Or, "No two people will agree on everything" (or is it anything? Who said that?). We would have a pretty thin surviving collecti..."

If there was a like button I would have pressed it.

message 7: by Kirsten (new)

Kirsten  (kmcripn) I don't like to think it has much impact. That being said, I will not read certain authors just because I have so little respect for them that I just can't. Like Bill O'Reilly or Glenn Beck.

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