Monday, March 15, 2010

Weekly Geeks: In It For The Books

The set of questions for Weekly Geeks this week asks us to consider whether we are content to let books speak for themselves or whether we want a little (or a lot!) more information about and from the authors themselves. What better opportunity to lay bare my deep dark book blogger secret?

So, what about you?
•Do you seek out interviews with authors of books you've enjoyed? Why or why not?
•Do you interview authors on your blog? If yes what did you gain from the interview process? If no is it because you don't want to or because you haven't felt able to ask an author yet?
•Do you subscribe to the blogs of authors you like? Which ones? All the authors you like or only certain ones?
•Do you track down author websites or look for biographical information about them elsewhere? Would you skip reading a book if you couldn't find out anything about its author?

It's time to own up to my secret shame. I love books, but I'm considerably less interested in authors. This is not to say that I don't like authors. I've met several through this blog, and think that by and large, they are fine people who are decent, kind, fun, thoughtful, and of course, very talented. That said, I'm not much of an author "fangirl." I don't hunger and thirst over every tidbit of information I can gather about an author. When I see an author interview on a blog, I am all too likely to skip over it, especially considering they often feature authors I've never heard of and books I haven't read. Seeing as such interviews fail to interest me as a blog reader, I don't seek them out to create posts for my blog. I don't have a very inquiring mind, in general, which I actually consider to be a rotten quality about myself. Nonetheless, my mind being what it is, the prospect of trying to cook up intelligent questions for an author interview sounds to me like an epic drag. I don't even seek out opportunities for readings and meetings and signings at local bookstores (not that I have any particular local bookstore that would feature such things). In other words, I feel like a bit of a book blogging leper and often wonder at how I can love books so much yet have such comparatively little interest in their creators.

I guess I've always been a "book" girl. I struggle even when asked who my favorite authors are. While I can rail off an exceedingly long list of favorite books, when asked for my favorite authors, I find that there are alarmingly few authors whose work I consistently seek out and actually read, which would seem to be a prerequisite for their being a favorite. I have many "could-be" favorites, but I'm so unconcerned with any sort of exhaustive reading of one author's work, that I might never actually know for sure that those authors are favorites.

I can't say that I even follow many author blogs. There are a few here and there, but none that I follow seriously. I have, however, taken up following some authors on Twitter, which has been fun, and by extension ending up reading some of their blog posts. Perhaps this is a step in the right direction?

One habit I've been in the process of picking up lately, though, is reading the acknowledgement pages of the books I read. Despite the fact that I rarely know the people the author is thanking, I think reading the acknowledgements gives me a taste of who that author is as a person and how much work and support from others goes into the writing of the book. Seeing who the author chooses to thank and the way that they choose to thank them gives me a neat, tidy glimpse of the author in question that I've grown to really enjoy without taking away from the way that I experience the book.

I guess, in a way, I like being able to interpret and appreciate a book in the way that I choose. Knowing what an author intended the book to accomplish and how it made them feel and how they hope it will make me feel can actually take away from a book's impact on me. I don't want to hear about the nuts and bolts of their process that will take a briliant storytelling effort and bring it down to earth. Something about knowing that the author lets the dog out, has a cup of coffee, and then spends no less than 3 hours of uninterrupted time writing in the morning or the like can suck the magic out of a story pretty quick. In fact, I guess I often fear that knowing too much about an author has the potential to break a story's spell over me in the same way that knowing a famous actor's behavior offscreen has the potential to put me off one of their movies regardless of how interesting they might seem, knowing that I won't be able to reconcile what I know about the author or actor with the story they're conveying through their art.

Anyhow - where do you fall on the spectrum? Are you mad for authors or do you have eyes only for books? Or somewhere in between?


  1. I wouldn't say I'm mad for authors, exactly, but I do tend to seek out more books by an author I've enjoyed in the past. Sometimes this is just disappointing, and sometimes it leads me to even better books by those authors. I love reading author interviews and finding out about the writing process they went through. Of course, I write myself. I wonder if that makes a difference.

  2. I think I'm more like you, Megan. I don't care too much about the author. I'll read author interviews, but I rarely find them enlightening. I find that I'd much rather read literary criticism of the work than anything about the author. Although, I have to say I think I'd love it if an author left a comment on one of my posts!

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  4. When they set up the book blogger leper colony, they'll send me there with you, Megan! And well, I couldn't have better company, could I? But I swear you pretty much mirrored my thoughts exactly (except your words were infinitely more coherent than my thoughts).

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