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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2017 Reading Challenge: The Sun Also Rises

Would you look at that?! Look who’s off to a fine start to their 2017 reading! *raises hand*

Okay. I’m going to be completely honest. I read this book because it’s one of Amazon’s 100 books everyone should read, which y’all know by now that I’ve been slowly working my way through the list since it first came out almost three years ago. It was my first foray into the world that is Ernest Hemingway. I was so excited to read the book that I didn’t even bother to read the back of it before I started.

I could not have been more disappointed. I considered splitting my review in half between this post and the video, but I just couldn’t do it. When I went back and edited the video it was so obvious how frustrated and disgusted I became with parts of this book. I didn’t want to fail to convey those feelings through the written word. So, all of my thoughts are in the video.

I imagine many of you have already read this book, so I do want to tell you some of the things I discuss in the video.

  • The objectification of women in the book
  • The drinking habits of the characters
  • Bullfighting
  • The Jewish character
  • The overall writing style

ALL are discussed. I have extremely strong thoughts about every aspect of this book. As always, I encourage you to take a quick look at my reaction to my first Hemingway read. This book fulfilled the requirement to read a 20th century classic for my 2017 Reading Challenge.

Have you read The Sun Also Rises? What did you think of it?

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Was 1925 Really the Greatest Year of Literature?

Last week the BBC Culture website declared 1925 as the “greatest year for books ever”. Ernest Hemingway published his first book, a collection of short stories called In Our Time. Virginia Woolf published Mrs. Dalloway. And F. Scott Fitzgerald released The Great Gatsby. There were a few more prominent titles released, but these three are the top of the class.

So now to answer the question as to whether or not 1925 was the greatest year of books ever. Well, I guess? I really have no idea. Partly because I don’t know publication years for hardly any books, but also because I think it might be close to impossible to get down to one year. Think of all the books released in 2014. Then think of the books that stand out above the rest either because of popularity or quality. Then do that every single year. I think it’s cool that they tried to decide this, but I don’t know if it’s necessarily true.

The other years said to be in contention were 1862, 1899, and 1950. You can read about 1925’s releases and also those from the other years here.

Do you think 1925 was “the greatest year for books ever”?

Ten Facts About Books for World Book Day (a day late)

Yesterday was World Book Day. At least that’s what popped up all over my WordPress Reader. I also happened to see at least one person call it Erotic Book Day. We’ll just assume she was trying to bring attention to herself because that can’t really be a thing. I surely hope not.

Anyway, yesterday was World Book Day. And I have no idea what we were celebrating. Was it someone’s birthday from a few centuries ago? Or maybe the original publication date of one of the most known works in history? I have no clue. But surely there’s some reason March 5th is the date. So in honor of the momentous day, here are ten “facts” about books. They’re from the UK and the list isn’t mine.

1. The Average UK household owns 203 books.

2. The British Library contains about 14 million books and needs roughly six miles of new shelf space every year just to add new items.

3. UK publishers release about 184,000 new or revised books each year.

4. Since 2011, sales of eBooks in the UK have overtaken sales of print books.

5. Jane Austen originally gave the name First Impressions to her book that was later published as Pride and Prejudice.

6. France has won more Nobel Prizes for Literature than any other country.

7. J.R.R Tolkien is said to have typed the whole of the LOTR with only two fingers.

8. In 2014, the town of Tuszyn in Poland banned Winnie-the-Pooh.

9. A 2013 survey reported that 18 percent of people don’t read print books.

10. “There is no friend as a loyal as a book.” -Hemingway

I think I took these from a UK tabloid because it really reminds me of Elite Daily. BUT these don’t seem too outrageous to think they aren’t somewhat true. So eh, just read the list knowing that I have no means to verify the accuracy of any of these statements. Well I could verify a few, but what fun would that be?

Happy Belated World Book Day!

On this day in 2014 I published Stop Choosing Between Writing and Reading.