This week's Booking Through Thursday was suggested by Simon Thomas and asks the question:
"Have you ever been put off an author’s books after reading a biography of them? Or the reverse - a biography has made you love an author more?"
This question coincides with another blogger who several people have already mentioned at Booking through Thursday. Natalie of Maw Books blog who posted the discussion question a couple days ago - Does an Author's Personal Belief System Impact If or How You Support Them? Check it out.
Interesting question. I typically don't read an author's biography or take into consideration an author's personal beliefs or ideas when picking out a fiction book. An author's personal beliefs typically does not bother me. However...
I do take an author's 'agenda' into consideration when they are very, very vocal about it and their agenda pervades all their books. What I mean by agenda is only their way is correct and they will do everything in their power to get you to believe the same thing. If you don't agree with them, then you are a stupid, mindless idiot. If I haven't read any of their books up til this point, then probably never will. But this holds for non fiction, more than fiction.
The same holds true for certain actors and actresses as well. I may love their movies, but thoroughly dislike them personally. As long as the movie isn't overtly political and meant to be entertaining, I will watch the movie.
Then, you have those authors who handle some subject matters in a gentle manner without being offensive and in your face. They make certain subjects a part of the story without politicizing it. Suzanne Brockmann did an excellent job of writing the gay relationship between Jules and Robin in the Troubleshooter series, without being overly graphic.
When the controversy over the Harry Potter books surfaced when they were first published, it actually did make me read about Rowling and look into the books. So, yes a biography led me to wanting to read her works. I wanted to find out what the fuss was all about. I loved the books, thought they were a little too dark for younger children, but didn't have a problem with them. Nor will I have a problem with my child reading the books when he is older.
Sometimes you have to take what you read about authors with a grain of salt. Or take what authors say with a grain of salt. Such as Stephen King. When he said in a interview with Lorrie Lynch at The Who's News Blog that "Stephenie Meyer's can't write worth a darn. She's not very good." Or "James Patterson is a terrible writer but he's very very successful." Does that change your opinion of King and make you want to read his books or not read his books. Does it make you want to read James Patterson to see if you agree. I haven't read anything by James Patterson yet and trying to decide if I want to. Every time I look at one of his books, the writing doesn't capture me. But I can't say he is a terrible writer because I actually haven't read one of his books. So any suggestions which one I should read?
I've remember starting one Stephen King book a few years back and never finished it - couldn't stand his writing. But I recently read and thoroughly enjoyed reading his autobiography and lessons on writing in "On Writing, a Memoir of the Craft." Which made me want to read his books again. I recently purchased Duma Key after looking at it in the store and will let you know what I think.
Editing after reading others thoughts and something came to mind. With the advent of the internet, I do actually look up authors websites to find out more about them. I came across books on Amazon that look really interesting, which then prompts me to find the authors blog or website. I do have to say I have been influenced by their blogs. Some in a good way and make me want to read the book all the more. Others are so foul mouthed or negative, that I am immediately turned off and won't even consider reading their books.
Now ask me about non fiction - that is a whole nother story.