POLL: On Having Opinions of Authors you Haven’t Read

Yesterday’s post sparked an interesting discussion. Another blogger claimed to not understand why Americans idolize Ernest Hemingway. Nothing really special there. I proceeded to ask which of his works brought about this negative opinion. This is where our paths diverted from one another. She hasn’t read him. Not at all.

My stance on this is that anyone can have an opinion on any particular topic, but if you are willing to share your opinion about an author and their work, then you should have read them. Maybe I’m crazy. This is how I think of it. Imagine taking a class on 20th century American Literature, right? And then finding out your professor had never read any 20th century literature. Would you still think you’re getting your money’s worth? I wouldn’t.

For the record, the other blogger didn’t claim to be an expert on anything. It’s just how a visualized it.

Now I pose the question to you. Is it necessary to read an author before sharing your opinion of them, their work, or their legacy with someone else?

I say yes. You should have read their work if you’re sharing your opinion of them with someone else. If I said, “I don’t understand why Jane Austen is always assigned in school.” I don’t think it’s unreasonable to expect me to form that opinion AFTER exposing myself to at least some of the author’s work.

Remember this is about one’s opinion being credible. It isn’t about forming an opinion without familiarizing yourself with the topic. We all do that at some point.

Tell me your thoughts!

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20 thoughts on “POLL: On Having Opinions of Authors you Haven’t Read

  1. Agree with you. How can you say you don’t like anything in life without trying it first?

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  2. I agree with you on this one. Many of the complaints at schools and libraries about books and their content come from people who have not read the material. I think it makes the complaint invalid.

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    • Exactly. And those complaints are often encouraged by other parents who also haven’t read the work. They’re given a syllabus at the start of the semester. If there’s any inkling to look into the assigned reading, then why not read it themselves months before their kid is going to?

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I think you can expand it too. It seems like everyone has an opinion on things they know nothing about and they are happy to share it. LOL

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    • Yes. People have opinions about things they aren’t familiar with, and that’s fine. I just can’t imagine sharing that opinion with others. The example a previous commenter made was perfect. The complaints from parents about assigned reading come from parents who haven’t even read the work. It’s ridiculous.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Opinions are like.. Haha well you know ๐Ÿ˜‰ But you are completely right with this one and that is my opinion. If you are expressing how you feel about someone’s work that you have never read, what exactly are you expressing? Seems almost like striking up and argument just for the sake of doing so. Some people just like to go against the grain ๐Ÿ˜‰

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  5. Excellent point! This holds for everything, and yet we often co-opt the opinions of others without really experiencing something directly ourselves. Opinions are not facts, but it would be really nice if they were based on some.

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    • YES. One of my managers told me earlier this year that we shouldn’t take the advice of people who haven’t achieved the results we aspire to achieve. Similarly, why should we give credit to an opinion not based on experience? Now that I’ve read Hemingway I have reservations about reading his work in the future. Much different than if I had reservations about reading him because some guy I know didn’t like his book in 12th grade.

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  6. I hate Hemingway but was forced to read A Farewell to arms and a bunch of his short stories in school. Because I HAVE read his works I also understand and appreciate why so many authors do love his works. Forming an opinion of something you do not understand is pure ignorance. I don’t care if some readers hate my stories, but they better have at least read them. haha

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  7. It would certainly be awesome if those who formed an opinion on authors or anything else would arm themselves with evidence to support their opinion. Unfortunately humans tend to simply listen to what others say and support whichever opinion *feels* right, rather than what they believe.
    I do have an opinion on authors like Charlainne Harris, whom I have read, and Cassandra Clair whom I tried to read. Both are supported by others I associate with online. My opinion is irrelevant for this discussion (unless you want me to get on my soapbox, lol). One is because I have read one of her series, and the other is based more on what I read after I tried and failed to make it even half way through the first chapter.
    *Shrug*
    Opinions are like assholes, everyone has one :D.

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    • Oh boy. In my experience I’ve found people tend to say they believe something because it may be the path of least resistance with their family or coworkers, even if they don’t gave any particular interest in something. I simply don’t see the point of even doing that with books or authors.

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  8. I completely agree with you there! How can one have an opinion on an author if they’ve never read said author?! Its just an opinion based on misinformation or hearsay and to be honest I would be able to trust their opinion.

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