Do you judge a book by its author?
Never 6 %
Sometimes 40 %
Often 28 %
Depends on what I know 25 %
I am sure most of you expected this post would be about serious issues such as abuse, suppression, racism, Neo-Nazism or the like. But no; I have taught English literature for ages, and if you go back in history, most authors had outrageous views and prejudices judged by our standards. As a teacher, you read – and teach – those stories and novels as a matter of course, and when it is relevant, you discuss the attitudes of the author with your students.
So the petty ´offence´ that inspired my poll was a writer who stated that he didn´t like Scandinavian crime fiction. I may shake my head when American and British publishers try to brand new (or even well-established) Swedish writers by calling them ´the next Stieg Larsson´, but this comment struck me as even worse. Fair enough (perhaps) if the writer had tried a dozen authors or more, but he based it on two or three books. What if I read one Dan Brown and one Patricia Cornwell and concluded I didn´t like American crime fiction?
I didn´t exactly throw his book away, but while CrimeFest in May made me want to try several new series because the writers seemed to be engaging and interesting people, this remark had the opposite effect.
Thank you for all your interesting and thought-provoking comments, and for participating in my poll, but I suppose the lesson I learnt this time was that while social media are a must for post-millennium writers, they may also backfire: if you come across as too pushy, too narrow-minded or too arrogant, it might have been better for you to shut your big mouth for once.