The Problem With Some Literary Criticism

Have you ever heard someone mutter, “How could someone give _____ a book deal?” I know you have. Or they’ll question why anyone would read a book by ______. But those criticisms all miss the mark.

I have no issue with disagreeing with the views of someone. I have no issue with disagreeing with the content of a book. But once we get into this discussion as to who deserves to have their name on a book we delve into a discussion that really boils down to censorship.

Don’t like Bill O’Reilly? Don’t read his books. Don’t care for Bill Cosby? No one is forcing you to read his work. And this is the same in every case. Politicians, celebrities, whomever. If you feel so strongly about someone having a book, then speak out about it. Tell why you feel the way you do. Heck, write a book of your own. But we tend to criticize countries and governments and societies that censor their books, let’s not mistakenly aim to do the same because we have negative feelings toward someone.

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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!

Since When is it Acceptable to Criticize Someone’s Reading Ability?

I’m talking about someone in the public eye who I imagine you will know as soon I say their name. Floyd Mayweather, Jr. I know, I know. I have no issue criticizing him for his fight performances. I have no issue criticizing him for his history of domestic abuse. I have no issue criticizing him for his attitude and cockiness. But I won’t be criticizing him for the fact that he can’t read.

Anyone who keeps up with sports knows that Floyd’s been called out multiple times for his reading by people trying to discredit him in some way. Why is that okay? Because he’s ultra rich? Because he doesn’t seem to care that people keep bringing it up? Because he has a criminal record? I want to know. It’s ridiculous. I know many will probably struggle to sympathize with him, but I say that says more about you than it does him.

Is it his fault that he can’t read? No. Do you really think he likes that he can’t read? No. He doesn’t. I’m not going to sit here and tell you to respect him as a person, but I will ask that you act like a decent human being toward him. Even if others don’t. He can’t read and there are so many reasons why that is bad for the rest of us. There are kids growing up exactly as he is without that necessary ability, and they likely won’t be as fortunate as he’s been. So think about them.


On this day in 2014 I published Would you Write a Book That you Knew Would not be Read for 100 Years?.

 

E.L. James Launches a Twitter Q&A, and it Goes Exactly how You’d Expect

Horribly.

Let me first say that I have no reason to criticize her. She’s made a career out of writing. One which you and I would both trade for in a heartbeat if we could. Don’t sit there and shake your head because you know I’m right. I also have no reason to care about her writing style, the quality of her writing, or which genre she chooses to write in. Sure I’ve said I won’t ever read her books, but that has nothing to do with her in particular. I have no desire to read any erotic books. Just a preference.

Yesterday when I got home from work I just happened to check the Twitter trends, and before I could even read the top headline I already knew it would be bad. E.L. James has been read by tens of millions, right? But we’re all aware of the heavy criticism her books have received from the start. And we’re all aware that people are at times embarrassed to say they’ve liked or read her work. Which simply makes a Twitter Q&A a very bad idea. Here are some tweets she received.

I’ll admit that she did have some Twitter users come to her defense, but the ratio of people being critical to those who came to her defense was likely 10-, 50-, or maybe even 100-1. Honestly, it could have been even more. It was that bad. Someone somewhere made the decision for her to do this, and that person has probably lost their job.

What do you think of this Twitter Q&A debacle? I think it was a mistake to do it at all. Sure some of the tweets were entirely out of line, but EVERYONE knows the criticism she’s taken for her books. Who did her team think would take advantage of something like this?


On this day in 2014 I published The Bad Review.

 

Zoella to Write Second Book Without a Ghostwriter

Zoe Sugg, also known as Zoella on YouTube, has announced that she will be writing her second book on her own. Why is this news to anyone? Well, it shouldn’t be. But last year there was a lot of backlash when it was revealed that she had the help of a ghostwriter in writing her first book. But anyone who knows anything about publishing knows that ghostwriters are always the ones writing celebrity books. And this girl was treated differently from everyone else.

So now she’s writing her new book herself. I’m not going to sit here and say that the book will be any worse or better because of this new revelation, but I think it’s a little ridiculous that she even has to do this. I’m starting to think that people who don’t write think that any and every celebrity is perfectly capable of writing a book, which is baffling to me.

BUT I’m sure that she’ll do just fine and her fans will be satisfied that she wrote it herself, while the rest of us don’t particularly care who writes what.

What do you think? Is this a good idea for her?


On this day in 2014 I published Is There a Proper Chapter Length?.

 

Why Writing is Better Than Sex

Okay. So I have three emails that I use to varying degrees. The first is one I’ve had for years and its inbox has thousands of emails. The second is one I made when I got my Galaxy S4 last year that I now only use for important things. And I’ll occasionally give it to a someone trying to send me a writing sample or whatever. The third one is not used at all. I have the app but I just don’t need it for anything.

Well, the third email is the one that is linked to my official website for contact purposes. Cause I’m so important that I need an email for contact purposes. Anyway, I randomly checked the third email’s inbox today and found something great. An email from Global English Editing. They found my website and had a nice infographic for me to check out called “Why Writing is Better Than Sex.” It’s actually very funny and maybe more true than one would think. So without further delay, I give you “Why Writing is Better Than Sex.” Tell me what you think!

rsz-writing-v-sex

The original can be found here.

And thanks to Angela from Global English Editing for emailing it to me!