Friday, 11 March 2011

Who said that?

A writer should be 'invisible'.

As a reader, I don't want to know about the author unless I decide I want to know about them. I don't want to open a book and find a photograph of the author with a page about their life and achievements, although I'm okay with having that at the end of the book. I like to know about a writer, but only after I've read their work. I like to form my own opinion of a book before considering what opinion the author wants me to form. Knowing, for example, that John Cheever was an alcoholic affects the way I read his work. I don't want it to; I want to believe I can read a book and make my own unique opinion. But I don't think I can. I don't think it's possible to know about a writer and not have that affect the way you read and interpret their work. So I try to avoid knowing too much about a writer, in case it affects my enjoyment of their book. One example is Twilight, as I read it with no idea that Stephenie Meyer was a Mormon. A lot of the complaints made about her forcing Mormon values on teenage girls didn’t bother me, because I didn’t even pick up on them. I like not knowing about a writer.

Of course, as a writer, I like to think that I'm quite important in terms of what I write, so I suppose I'd have to say I'm on the fence about this one.

1 comment:

  1. And we were talking about this earlier that day, I believe? I pretty much agree with all that you've put forward here. Even if you steel yourself not to let that knowledge affect your reading, it often does. It's good that there are readers out there that don't grab books off the shelves just because of the name printed on the front!