How could someone so unlikeable be celebrated in such a prominent way, many asked.
This made me think—does a writer’s personal reputation affect the opinions of those who read him or her? Two examples came quickly to mind:
The first is Jonathan Franzen. When I picked up The Corrections, it was right in the middle of Franzen’s refusal to go on Oprah after she picked his book for her book club. How dare he? But I read the novel anyway. It was indeed brilliant, but I have to say that because of my take on the author’s arrogance, I didn’t love it. And despite the fact that friends and colleagues have raved about Freedom, I have absolutely no desire to read it.
And then there is James Frey. I never read A Million Little Pieces and after the news that much of it was fabricated came out, again, I had no desire to. But I was curious about his novel, Bright Shiny Morning. I did read the book, which I thought was interesting and well done, but I didn’t fall in love. I think one of the main reasons for that was the author’s personal reputation.
So what do you think? With all the wonderful books to choose from, are you affected by the author’s notoriety?