Friday Coffee Chat (3) - Would you boycott a book or author?


Would you ever boycott a book or author?

Last week we talked about whether or not we judge books by their cover, and for the most part everyone said, "Absolutely!" It was an interesting discussion--one that publishers I'm sure have to think heavily about since it is one of the primary ways they get people to buy books. Since we readers seem to be an opinionated bunch I am wondering whether there is any reason you would ever boycott a book or author.

There are few examples I can think of where people have moral objections to a book's content and an author's personal beliefs that have caused very strong reactions in the last 20 years. In conjunction with my Friday Coffee Chat question, Jennifer at Girls Gone Reading has written a post on Banned Books to discuss. When you finish reading and commenting over here, make sure you visit her blog to look at her post!

There are two books/authors that have come up in conversation with my friends in recent weeks. The first is the Twilight series by Stephanie Meyer. Let's just admit it. Most of us have read it and if we haven't, we all pretty much know the entire story anyway because of all the Twihards out there. 



The big argument I keep seeing for boycotting the books is that Bella does not have healthy relationships with men. She becomes obsessed with Edward and goes into her waking coma in New Moon when he leaves, she cleans house all the time, and Edward is very controlling, etc. This has caused such a stir that one of my family members posted her misgivings about the series on Facebook before she had read the books. Some of my other friends have also posted articles regarding this aspect of the books.

Personally, I read them. I'm not a Twi-Hard or whatever you call them. I don't yearn for Edward or Jacob, but I didn't have an issue with the books. I thought they were just a light, fluffy read that I got through quickly. I enjoyed them and thought the story was engrossing, but I don't think it made me clean my house any more or wish I had a guy that stared at me all night in my bedroom. My defense of the books is that they are fantasy--Bella did after all have homicidal vampires that were after her oh so angsty but delicious blood. I told my friends that if vampires were a) real and b) after my angsty but delicious blood, I might want a sparkly vampire to protect me too! In the end, I don't understand the intense love or the intense hate for the series because I've already moved on with my life and am reading other books.

Orson Scott Card is another author that I've seen a lot of people boycotting because of his stance on gay issues. According to Wikipedia, Card has written that he believes laws against homosexual behavior should remain on the books but that he doesn't advocate "harsh personal treatment of individuals who are unable to resist the temptation to have sexual relations with persons of the same sex." (Wikipedia) Before you get all up in arms about his statements, please take note that Orson Scott Card is a Mormon and is a member of the LDS church so his statements are not out of line with what the LDS believe (at least to my knowledge they would agree with his statements). I have to say that I don't agree with his stance at all, but I haven't boycotted his books, nor do I think that the Ender's Game series had all these homoerotic moments or anti-gay messages (which I guess some people have actually analyzed the books for). As much as I am pro-gay rights, I am also pro-freedom of religion and freedom of speech. I think that Card has the right to voice his beliefs and I do not think his statements are all that shocking since he is religious. I can just agree to disagree with him and still enjoy what he has to write because I actually really enjoyed the Ender's Game series.

However, there are certain people who I know I have had issues with in the past--Roman Polanski for one. He is a filmmaker and I think I may have only seen one of his movies that I know of (The Pianist for those of you wondering). I am not interested in seeing more of his films since he is accused of drugging and raping an underage girl. Honestly, I can't think of an author that I have boycotted though for their personal beliefs (besides the obvious political pundits that put books out--you guys are destroying my country. Please stop!). Am I off my rocker because I have some moral issues with someone like Polanski, but not Meyer or Card? 


My question to all of you this week is:
Would you ever for any reason boycott a book or an author based on a book's content or an author's personal beliefs? (And I'm not talking about genres that you just aren't interested in. It has to be something that you fundamentally disagree with.)

Click HERE to go to Jennifer's post on Banned Books at Girls Gone Reading

  


34 comments:

Rikki said...

Great topic again, Carin.

I think banning books and individual readers boycotting a book are two totally different things. I have heard of banned books in US school libraries and such and was shocked that such a thing can still happen nowadays. It means that some people keep others from reading a book even if they wanted to.
If I personally decide to boycott a book, it is my decision and nobody else is affected by it.
I wouldnm't boycott a books simply because I am not agreeing with the author's opinions on other matters, like the example of Orson Scott Card (never read him, btw). Even though I strongly disagree with him as far as gay rights are concerned I'd still read his books if I was interested in their subject. If I am not interested in it, then I wouldn't read it no matter how much I like the authors opinions on other matters. It's all about the book for me.

I don't understand all the hype about Twilight. Agreed, Bellas' relationship with men leaves a lot to be desired (as do her general interests as she doesn't seem to have any), but ok. I also agree that young girls might be influeneced by it, but going on about the books as if they were a work of the devil won't help anyway. The more you go on about them, the more girls will want to read them. Let them read them and talk about them afterwards.
I have also have heard that some religious groups are against them because of the vampire angle. Haha, they sure have got their work cut out for them if they want to get rid of vampire books.

The fact that you don't boycott books, but possible are biased against Polanski's work is a bit, um, inconsistent :-).

Jennifer-Girls Gone Reading said...

Carin-
I think there is a huge difference between making a personal decision to avoid an author/series and to force a ban/boycott for others. In the school setting, we have LOTS of parents who don't want ANYONE reading the book that he/she finds offensive. For example, no one was allowed to read Freakonomics for a SENIOR English/Math assignment because it discussed prostitution in one section.

I have also chosen to avoid Polanski's work, and recently Maw Books had a discussion on a children's author who is charged with child pornography. I chose not to support these people with my money. Don't we make these kinds of choices everyday for some reason or another?

I don't see horror movies because I can't handle the gore, but I don't force a ban for everyone. Boycotting is okay for me because it is personal. Banning is for everyone and I don't want anyone making choices for me about what I can/cannot read.

leeswammes said...

I don't really boycott any author - I won't read particular genres, such as Mills and Boon because I know they'll bore me stiff.

The only author I will not pick up is Salman Rushdie. I didn't like the hype years ago about his book (whatever it was called) and the death threats he got, but even more, I just can't stand the sight of him. It's personal, not political. It's silly, too. But hey, I'm the consumer, I choose what I read!

Chelle said...

Concerning Twilight - I'm with you. It's fantasy and in the world of Vampire lore, no girl is suposed to be able to get over her vapire stalker. ever. period. That's vampirism. Call it love. Call it a disease. Whatever, move on.

Concerning Author/book boycotting: it makes me nervous. I would "boycott" something for my future kids maybe if I felt they weren't mature enough for the book's content. I generally don't read anything with graphic sex in it because it's not to my personal taste. But to publically boycott a book rubs me the wrong way. I believe in freedom of information and speech. I might boycott an author appearance if he/she was a terrible nasty person (like a murderer or something who promoting killing) but I think I'd let such an author's book alone. Everyone's voice has a right to be heard. Besides, I can choose to not read something. That's freedom. Great post!

Carin B. said...

@Rikki - I was speaking totally about personally boycotting a book or an author. The topic came up because someone I know refuses to read a certain author because they disagree with the author's personal views. Banning books is different and Jennifer at Girls Gone Reading is covering that for her Friday Coffee Chat post--I think the topic are related, but not the same so we decided to each do our own posts about it.

I know that my reluctance to watch Polanski is inconsistent. The only explanation that I can come up with is that I could vote to give homosexuals the right to marry or be protected under hate crime laws if that were on a ballot, but I would never vote to make it ok to rape someone (I did in fact vote against the state amendment to ban gay marriage. However, the ban passed by a large margin in Texas.). So I guess in my mind, they are kind of different. I also don't think I would ever picket outside Polanski's house or anything--I don't actively seek to personally boycott his films. I simply don't seek them out. If I did, I wouldn't pay to see them because at the very least I think he should stand trial for the crime with which he is charged.

I agree with pretty much all your points. Just wanted to clarify my stance. It's still inconsistent I realize. :)

@Jennifer - Definitely agree with you. I own Freakonomics and absolutely am going to read about it now! I read Maw Book's post as well and felt at odds with it--still reflecting on it just because it's the same as the Polanski situation. I wonder sometimes if because I have read an author that I like I am more willing to accept the things I am at odds with them. I am not ultra-familiar with Polanski so I have no problem avoiding him--the same would hold for that children's author mostly because I don't read children's books for the most part.

@leeswammes - I am wondering what this personal thing against Salman Rushdie is? Is it that he was hiding at Bono's house of all places (which was beyond ridiculous and really funny)? You don't have to share, but if you do I would totally read what you have to say! I've never read Rushdie, but I want to someday (and your opinion likely wouldn't change whether or not I would read him--unless he ate babies for dinner or something).

Carin B. said...

@Chelle - I'm with you! I guess I never went through the fangirl stage of reading YA romance so I never had the Edward/Jacob crush. I think at 13 or whenever girls read the Twilight Saga (or in your 30s...hahaha) I think most girls can distinguish real life from fiction. I'm with Rikki--let your kids read it, but read it at the same time and talk about it afterward. If anything it's great dialogue to have with your kids. I hope if I'm ever a mom I will make decisions like that.

As far as boycotting, I think I am at the point where I actually do boycott books by political pundits (I would never read a book by Glenn Beck, Sarah Palin, Ann Coulter, Keith Olbermann, Bill O'Reilly...the list goes on and on and on...). I agree that they should be allowed to be published because I'm not for banning, but I think those people are tearing at the fabric of the country--their aim is to divide us and make us more extreme. I want better dialogue on issues so I'll admit I personally boycott those types of books. I even roll my eyes at my family members who watch or listen to their garbage! However, I think it's well within their right to read books by them. I wouldn't hold a book burning bonfire or anything (because I would have to pay for them which would make them richer! LOL!)

Gwen@ChewDigestBooks.com said...

I am with you on boycotting political hacks, I mean pundits. Those books are often written to A. take advantage of a current popularity wave or B. purely for the shock/debate value.

Polanski turns me off as well. I remember watching a movie trailer not to long ago and the movie looked great, but as soon as I saw his name I was done.

I also recently stopped listening to John Mayer because of the comments he made in an article. I don't care if someone is a great artist/musician/writer, that doesn't mean that they get to be an idiot.

I can't think of any authors or books that I have boycotted. Although James Patterson is starting to irritate me a bit. The guy has book after book coming out. I love his writing, but when he teams up with others to keep up this pace he loses something.

Man of la Books said...

I will absolutely boycott an author, but not a book. For example, the books of the children's author that a week or two ago was charged with possession of child pornography will not enter my house.

That being said, I agree with Jennifer-Girls Gone Reading, because I don't like something or offended by something doesn't mean that everyone shouldn't read it.

Scrabblequeen said...

Interesting topic. I am against the outright banning of a book, as in, nation-wide ban. However, I do believe that some books are not suitable for all, and therefore would suppost an ban against material that was out-of-line with the stated goals of a place such as a school library. What reasonable place would porn or erotica serve in a school?
Personally, I certainly avoid certain authors or genres...but to call that a boycott? That seems a bit extreme to me.

Melissa said...

I wouldn't boycott a book based on the author's political, behavioral, moral stance.

Actually I probably wouldn't boycott a book. I haven't yet, so I don't imagine I will in the future.

There are times where I may pick up a book specifically because it has brought such harsh opinions from others. But this only holds true in drastic issues - homosexual topics, race issues, political stances.

I have not read the Twilight series, and won't. I know a lot who have claimed, as you state, that Bella(?) is too submissive. And while not cool, I don't think it's a reason to boycott it. She isn't submissive to the point of being tortured and abused.

Carin B. said...

@Man of Ia - Question: If you will boycott an author, won't you be boycotting his books?

@Scrabblequeen - I get what you are saying, but I'm going to play Devil's Advocate here. Where would you draw the line on what is appropriate for school? Like Jennifer said above, some parents had issues with Freakonomics being taught in Senior Math/English because it has a chapter on Prostitution (note that I have not read the book, but I am going to). Does it make it a slippery slope to start banning books from school libraries? (Remember, I'm playing Devil's Advocate)

@Melissa - OK, so I have a question for you too! If you will pick up a book because it is controversial (i.e., hot current issue/political stance) even though you may disagree with their viewpoint (for example, a book on pro-gay marriage v. anti-gay marriage), do you believe that you are supporting them financially and giving them a greater voice for their position?

Also, as far as Twilight goes, I have actually read quite a number of blog posts/articles that say that Bella is tortured and shows signs of abuse. I didn't have issues with it, but I keep seeing all these people having VERY strong reactions against it.

To all- Maybe "boycott" was a little strong of a word, but I was trying to ask if you would avoid an author (personal boycott, if you will) if you FUNDAMENTALLY disagreed with something they believe or have done. I wasn't saying outright banning of their books was the end result...just a choice that you would never buy their books because you disagreed with them. Now discuss... :P

Melissa said...

About Twilight - I haven't actually read any of them so for those I will divert to those that have.

In terms of do I think I help out the author. I suppose. But I am of mind that I can't believe in something without understanding the other view points of it. So if it's anti-gay and I am pro-gay, I can't form a good argument without knowing how and why the other side feels that way.

While I may (and usually do) find their opinions vile, I like to know what they are.

Carin B. said...

@Melissa - I get what you are saying. I guess for me if I wanted to know one of their opinions I would check the book out of the library or borrow it from a friend (who obviously has no sense...hehehe...totally kidding) instead of buying it myself.

I like that you want to educate yourself about both sides. In the end I think it makes for better dialogue between viewpoints. It's sad that some of people won't do that.

Melissa said...

oh wait wait...if I could find the vile (to me) book at the library, I would definitely go that route. Because after I read it I would have no use for it unless it was for research.

ABookGeek said...

Wow! What a great discussion you have going here! Carin, I think you and I are in pretty close agreement on this topic (too). I would not support an actual ban on a book since just because I won't read it doesn't mean than someone else shouldn't have the opportunity to do so.

I won't touch the Twilight issue because that could be debated forever. (And, I could argue that this is a good thing.)

I actively boycott politcal writers discussed already for a variety of reasons, most important, being that most of these books are horribly written.

Carin B. said...

@ABookGeek - You could touch the Twilight issue if you want. I want Friday Coffee Chat to be a safe place to voice your opinion of course even if people disagree!

Have you read any political books that we are speaking of? I want to know which ones you think are poorly written!

Carin B. said...

@Gwen - How did I miss your comment?!! I read it, but didn't respond! What is going on with James Patterson? Is his quality going downhill? I have never read anything by him.

I kind of feel the same about Polanski and Mayer although I'm not actively doing a personal boycott of either of them. I didn't buy their stuff before I knew about their personal issues. I get you though. Mayer annoys me too because his ego is so GIANT!

Wallace said...

I think we all "boycott" to a certain extent by having opinions about what we read. Unless we, literally, read everything under the sun we have to pick and choose what interests us most and then tend to avoid the others.

I think of boycotting and avoiding as separate things. Avoiding is what I wrote above. In my opinion, boycotting is deliberately abstaining from something because you want to make a statement.

I haven't boycotted the Twilight series, but I also haven't actively picked them up. I probably will, it's just that they're not calling my name very loudly. I don't know that I would ever boycott a book unless it promoted something that I thought was horrible. For example if there was an erotic book that was about child molestation -- I would actively (and loudly) boycott that book. As you can see, it would have to be pretty extreme.

BTW, Carin -- I agree with you about Polanski. I think he's a creepy douche-bag. It bothers me that he gets accolades for being talented because there is a strong argument for the fact that he should not have the freedoms to display that talent (what other prisoner (or in his case SHOULD be prisoner) has that right? It's one that is taken away when a human does something illegal to another human).

Fiona said...

This is a very interesting question. And advance apologies for long meandering post.

Can we enjoy the work of an author, artist, actor - or anyone like that if we ourselves disagree with them from a moral perspective?

I read an article about this many years ago which actually stuck with me. I can't remember exact details but the artist in question was a paedophile and the question was, can we or should we still enjoy his art? Can the art be seen as separate from the artist or can we judge both?

I think that's a difficult question to answer. If I unwittingly loved a book, or whatever by someone who I found personally offensive - would that diminish my enjoyment? Maybe it would. Sometimes ignorance is bliss!

I haven't read Twilight and I've heard enough rotten things about them not to make me feel like I want to. I wouldn't say I'm boycotting them though - just uninterested in investing time in books that don't interest me. The whole Bella/Edward thing does somewhat put me off. I'd rather just read something else.

That is more to do with boycotting a certain storyline though, rather then an author. I'm not one to boycott a storyline because I don't agree with it - choosing not to read out of personal interest is different.

The example of homophobia and Orson Scott Card is another thing. I don't see religion as an excuse for something I see as pretty much on the same side as racism and all that entails. People used religion to justify slavery as well, or so I surmise from reading Uncle Tom's Cabin recently. We are all free to have our own opinion, religious freedom etc just as we are all free to disagree with it.

On the same note, from what you've said and what I've read on Wiki he might be against it but it does not sound too offensive really to me I guess. It's just his opinion (wrongful as I believe it).

Has it effected my desire to read the book? Well, never been that curious about it in the first place and I wouldn't say that it has made me more or less likely to read the book so I'm not boycotting it.

I think you have to also take into considerations the time frame - a book that is homophobic written a hundred years ago as opposed to today, is more acceptable in that the time has to be taken into consideration.

It is difficult though. Unless the book or whatever was offensive to me... I guess maybe I would still read it. I don't know. Do I really want to appreciate something written by a racist? It's hard. I don't know. I might not feel comfortable so maybe I wouldn't. I don't think I've ever not read an author for those reasons.

What books do I boycott?

Books that are "written" by celebrities like Katie Price and... whatever others there are. I can't think of them all at the moment, I choose to forget. I wouldn't say I'm boycotting those really either, I just think they're going to be a tub full of es ach eye tee to be honest.

Katie Price by the way, otherwise known as Jordan is... well she gets her top off and has huge boobs and is famous for babies, marriages, divorce, remarriage and other random pursuits such as publishing books she didn't write under her own name.

In other words, talentless nobodies who live in glossy magazines who win publishing contracts and too much shelf space that do my head in. The story - from what I gather is about a... glamour model or some such and is basically a fictionalised story of her own life. Naturally she makes millions from them.

I guess if they get people reading other books it might be a good thing. And I guess it does bring in a lot of money for publishers. I hope they put that money towards much more worthwhile books. People might criticise Twilight, but at least Meyer actually wrote these books and isn't selling them off the fame of her big tits.

Fiona said...

*deep breath*

I suppose books I would definitely boycott are books like the recent ones of Robert Ludlum. He is still publishing books, despite being dead and buried. It isn't a case like with Robert Jordan where he died before completing the last in the series. People are just selling books using his name. I just think that is gross.

If they ever do that with Stieg Larsson... well I won't be interested. It's a little creepy.

So ghost written books by glamour models and dead authors are a no-no for me.

Hmm I do do avoid Mel Gibson's movies nowadays... not that I ever really liked stuff he's in. He's just... he just comes across as one of those people I'd like to punch. (Metaphorically, I do not go around punching people I don't like in real life. I just plot their early demise in my head. (No not that either... ahem). He just comes across as an ass.

I don't really like reading about celebrities though - or actors personal lives... interviews about their films etc I look up but don't like the rest. Unfortunately you just can't seem to help coming across this stuff. As I said earlier sometimes ignorance is bliss.

I avoid Tom Cruise, Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie because I'm just too fed up of hearing about them and they're not that fantastic. There are better actors and actresses out there then them, they're only famous because they're hot. Or supposedly. I do not find either Brad Pitt or Tom Cruise remotely attractive and Angelina Jolie I don't get the appeal either. Alan Rickman is more my style, but I digress...

Polanski as you mentioned is a difficult one. I can't remember if I have seen any of his movies, I always wanted to watch The Pianist but put it off over and over because it's so depressing. Should I boycott it? What about the other actors in the film?

Hmm, I find it easier to boycott a film because of the actors then I would the director. Maybe it is because I am not confronted with the director. Saying that I'd boycott Gibson's films as well... well maybe not so much because of him but because I thought the Passion of the Christ to be a terrible bore. Seen a much better dramatic portrayal of that part of the bible and I didn't need to see Jesus being flogged to an inch of his life for however long that took.

I'm digressing again!!

Fiona said...

What was I saying? Oh yes I think separating art from the morality of the author/artist whatever is quite difficult. Someone could be a complete genius as well as being a completely gross rapist. It's so difficult - but it shouldn't be difficult.

Can you deplore the man but love his art? So difficult. I think a film perhaps is different because it does involve other people. For books and artwork it might make me feel uncomfortable to be reading/admiring it anyway.

Maybe time is also a factor - if the person is long dead would it matter if they were a child molester? Would it be easier to separate the two?

It must be difficult for actors - with the Polanski case - to know what to say or think if they've worked with him and admired the guy. But then he's had that hanging over him for a long time and been living in exile for a long time. So should Hollywood have... encouraged such a man to stay in the industry? Wasn't it his wife and others who were murdered also? Sad story to that man's life.

See not I'm getting myself all rather confuddled.

I think for a book I'd say that I would be put off reading books by any kind of person like that. If Mel Gibson wrote a book I wouldn't be reading it.

I think a book is something in a way different because you spend time with that book and in a way it feels as if the author is just on the other side. I almost feel personally involved with them. It is a more intimate experience I find - then watching a film or listening to music, or looking at a work of art.

I don't know. I can't say I've ever come up to this situation.

Well, take Mein Kamf written by the epitome of evil dictators - Adolf Hitler. Would I boycott this book? No. I have looked at it and it is bloody boring, that the reason I haven't read it. Unless you made me read it by gunpoint I don't think I could ever have got past the first few pages.

If a modern Mein Kamf was published though... maybe out of curiosity - just because I read a book doesn't mean I agree with the author. It's a good thing to read books written by people of opposing views even if you don't initially like them.

If a rapist published a book I might not read it, possibly. Although, had I already been reading their books and then found out what they were... that would be harder. It might put a bad enough taste in my mouth to make me feel like I didn't want to.

I've heard some bad things about Patricia Cornwell, author of the Scarpetta series - adultury, this that and the other - which has made me feel a little uncomfortable about picking her books up - now come to think of it, though I liked the first one. I don't think I should let that get in the way of enjoying her books though. I might not agree with who she is but I don't really know her or the reasons behind it, so...

I refuse to read anything by ghost written authors who are famous - no matter what the subject matter because they're just cashing in and have no actual talent.

David Thewlis (or was it Hugh Laurie, maybe both) wrote a book but I believe submitted it under a different name so as to not cash in on his fame.

Fiona said...

Should a criminal be allowed to publish books or make money? What about someone who murdered someone? If they do should the profit?

I find it harder to answer the question of boycotting someone because of who or what they are.

If a racist wrote a book that wasn't racist and so would not anger me - would I enjoy it? Well I might enjoy it I suppose but should I?

I think it's a difficult thing to answer because there are so many ifs and or buts.

Is there a difference between a racist and a rapist, or someone who uses their opinions to hurt others. I guess there is one having racist ideas and another acting out on them.

I guess, I would cease to read their books if they were an author.

I think there's so much else to really discuss or think about. A convicted murderer wrote (or writes) a column for a newspaper. Whilst he was in prison he did not profit from it though.

His crime was not known at the time of publication and it was found he made a few bits up... but still.

If someone has committed a crime, does this make their work less? What if they're sorry, if they have changed, reformed - whatever?

I'm sorry for the long babbled reply Carin. But it's interesting.

Fiona said...

Apologies for mass reply! I'm sure I could be more concise but I find it hard to put thoughts out in this silly little box they give you. I should do it in Word next time I feel like going on for a bit.

Carin B. said...

@Fiona - Whooo! I was waiting all day for your comments! I love them. That being said, I am not sure how to answer all your thoughts. I will say a few things:

-I agree with you--I think it's easier to decide not to read or watch someone that is just out there for the media to report on. For authors, their personal views are usually not widely covered in the media.

-For ghost writers--I actually just read someone railing on this the other day about how pundits sometimes have their books ghost written for them so why should we read them if they aren't actually taking the time to write their own thoughts?

Hmmm...I think a lot of the other stuff is about movies so I'll try to restrict myself to books, but I do agree with you that the celebrity culture is outta control (although I admit to sneaking peeks at the tabloids at the grocery stores--but I never buy)!

Anyway, seems like you feel a little conflicted just like I do! I definitely feel conflicted sometimes about whether I should choose not to read someone's work based on their personal beliefs. I try to separate the artist from the art for the most part, but I am not always successful. I think that's what you were trying to say, but correct me if I'm wrong!

Fiona said...

You managed to translate my ramblings absolutely correctly.

Oh - I have just remembered. There is a crime author Anne Perry? I can't remember - she killed her best friend's mother by putting a brick in a pair of tights and hitting her over the head with it. I believe there is a movie based on what happened with Kate Winslet in it.

She now is a rather well known crime writer. I think she was at the back of my brain when I was writing out that long babble.

I must say - I'm curious to read her books, but at the same time... she murdered someone. It was a brutal murder and a planned one. What kind of a person is she? Part of me wants to read her books because of that - the other half doesn't.

At the same time I find child killers fascinating. They've both seemed to have moved on... to have normal lives.

I don't think I feel a strong desire not to read her books because of that though. So, hmm.

I guess maybe it is because that is part of her past. If an author I read killed someone... maybe I'd feel different because that would be who they are now?

If you do commit a murder, does that mean you should never be allowed the opportunity to atone and change - do you, or can you change?

That's another discussion and nothing to do with books.

And I really must go to bed now it's almost 4am!

Gwen@ChewDigestBooks.com said...

I think that you hit the nail on the head with ego. I personally don't give my money or time to anyone that has a giant ego.

I understand that it can be hard to deal with fame and celebrity, but that doesn't make you god, above the law, or even excuse you from common decency and respect.

Esme said...

Let me start off by saying thanks for your visit and the information you left me-I appreciate it.

I do not believe in banning books-I consider that attitude to be very narrowed minded and archaic-that is the beauty of living in a democracy-I get to choose what I read.

Boycotting a book -Absolutely I hated Julia and Julia-why because of the author-the younger Julia-I see no literary credit in vulgarity, discussions about your drinking or sexual activities-not to say I will not read a book that contains any of the above-however there must be some value to them.

I was never a huge J. Childs fan until I read her book-My life in France (long before J and J) I am a huge fan of cooking.

After reading part of J. and J. -I did not finish it I refused to see the movie or read her second book. Why would you ever write about having an affair while you are married. Given I think the author is immature and lacks any quality or sophistication I have chosen to boycott anything she is affiliated with.

Did I miss out on a good movie-rumour has it yes-but someone else can put a dime in her pocket.

Carin B. said...

@Esme - No problem! I loved your post on Give a Little. I love supporting charitable causes because I think it gives a little happiness to the people that need it--I feel like I am more than fortunate and feel I can live without some extras to help someone else out. I hope people will check out your post. It's one of the best book blog posts I've ever read.

You know, I haven't seen Julie and Julia, but wow...I didn't know she had an affair in the book. I'm not a big fan of that either. I hated The Horse Whisperer for that reason--her husband was so loving and understanding and she cheated on him with that cowboy. Ugh! Oh well. It happens in real life too so I guess I should be a little more understanding when I read about it.

Thanks for visiting my blog!

Chachic said...

This is a very interesting topic! I didn't even know that those were Orson Scott Card's religious beliefs. I loved Ender's Game and I just got Speaker of the Dead this week because so many people have said that it's even better than the first one. Now that I know about his beliefs, it doesn't make me like his books any less. Although unlike you, I do have a problem with the Twilight books. But it's more of a frustration really. People tend to generalize YA fantasy based on just Twilight or Harry Potter. I don't mind when it comes to HP because I loved those but I don't believe the Twilight books are well-written so I get frustrated that that's all that people know about the genre.

Louise said...

Very interesting thread here. I have enjoyed reading all the comments.

I don't believe in book banning at all. While I agree that pornography has nothing to do in school library, and while I myself have no interest in porn (and loads of other subjects) I have no problem with it being out there for those who has an interest, no matter how awful the subject is. I believe in total freedom of speech as long as it is within the frames of the law, and while I find things like racism, nazism and the like absolutely horrendous, I accept that there are racists writing books. I will not read them though, but don't want them banned. I have my freedom of speech to harshly condemn nazistic thought, and thus those believing in it, they must have their right to do that. I just picked one subject. Could be anything I don't believe in, and it doesn't necessarily have to be something awful.

Now that I have established that I am not into banning of books, I have to say that I myself have not touched a Kenn Follett book since I read two, years ago. I don't remember their names. But both of them descriped raping. Of course I am against rape. Goes without saying. I have read a lot of books where rape is a part of the story. Not a problem. The problem with the way Kenn Follett described the rapes in those two books I read, it was too clear that he as a writer meant that it was the raped women's own fault that they got raped. And that simply put me off that author big time and I have not read anything else by him.

farmlanebooks said...

Great discussion you have here!

I will never boycott a book based on the authors beliefs. I think that it is important to read widely and getting the other side of an argument is important. I may not agree with the things I'm reading, but like to be informed. Sometimes an author will be able to change my opinion on a subject, or make me see things from another point of view. Being able to understand other people's view points is very important for me.

Nymeth said...

Very interesting post, and what a great discussion you have going on in the comments! I'm not sure what I can add that hasn't already been said. I like what someone (sorry if can't remember who; too many comments :P) said about there being a huge difference between making the decision to personally not use your money to support someone whose agenda you have a problem with and trying to enforce a ban on everyone. The first I understand, the second not at all.

I also see Jackie's point about it being important to be exposed to different views, ideas and systems of values, but I think we ALL draw the line somewhere. For example, if on the one hand I want to understand where a homophone is coming from, on the other hand I want to spare myself hate speech against the LGBTQ community, you know? I know this is an issue about which I'll never change my mind, nor do I want to. I'm with Fiona when it comes to seeing it on pair with racism, and I wish it weren't still considered socially acceptable to be homophobic, be it for religious reasons or others.

Having said this, I have read Card in the past, and I don't think his repulsive views actually show in his fiction. Still, if I can get his books used I won't feel guilty for not supporting him, same as I would with an author I respected more as a human being. Does this make sense?

Rachel said...

Great post! :)

Perosnally, I don't think I would boycott an author or a book... I can't think of any instances where I have in the past. Sure there are books I am not interested in reading.. but nothing I am so morally opposed to that I wouldn't read.

I find when it comes to texts that discuss religion people get 'angry' if it isn't in line with their beliefs. I have my own personal beliefs when it comes to this topic but I am in no way opposed to reading texts that oppose that view. I probably won't end up agreeing with it, but i'll read it.

I think it is a good exercise sometimes to read books we wouldn't normally read. Open our eyes to new things. Even reading a book we do feel opposed to can be a healthy exercise! :)

Carin B. said...

@Chachic - I get where you are coming from. I'm not sure why there is some much fangirling over Twilight but I thought they were relatively harmless overall.

@Louise - I have never read a Ken Follett book. I actually just wrote a book review on The Eyes of Willie McGee (he was a black man accused of raping a white woman)and rape laws back then were shocking by today's standards. A woman wasn't considered to be raped unless she fought back as hard as she could. I'm pretty much with you, but after thinking about it for a few days, I really do think I do personal boycotts of books now. I hate the political pundits in my country so I refuse to buy their books. I believe they have the right to put their crap out there, but I refuse to read it because I fundamentally disagree with them--they are ruining my country! So there! I came out and said it! I do boycott books, but I don't tell others not to buy them. Thanks for stopping by and putting your two cents in!

@FarmLane - I agree with you and think you are a better person than I because like I said above, I actually realized this weekend that I do personally boycott authors like Sarah Palin and Glenn Beck because I fundamentally disagree with them. I don't really want to make them richer. Think you can change my mind and tell me why I should pick up one of their books? (I am honestly asking..not baiting you...hehe) I feel like I know their POV already so I don't want to torture myself--I know there's a reading challenge out there to read something you disagree with--can you convince me to join something like that?

@Nymeth - I get where you are coming from with Card. I don't think I'll stop reading his books either, but I will continue voting for gay rights when those issues are on the ballot. If you read that Wikipedia article, I really think he seems conflicted internally about his stance (I could be wrong since that is my reading into what he said). I'm not sure I'll buy his books, but I will definitely be willing to borrow them from the library!

@Rachel - I agree with you. I just think once I know enough about a person's stance that I can make a personal decision to not read their stuff anymore like Nymeth said. I do think it's good to know opposing viewpoints though. It is educational and does increase one's world view.

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