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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A Question

I have a simple question today. House of Cards season 4 premiered last Friday at midnight PST. I managed to finish the season within 25 hours. And that was with having to work. Now I want to talk about it. Would any of you all be interested in a video or post about the show and the new season?

And the Most Influential Academic Book is…

I’ll give you a second to come up with a guess first. I’ll wait.

Got one? Well if you guessed On the Origin of Species by Charles Darwin, then way to go.

Evidently there’s something called Academic Book Week. It either just ended or it’s just beginning. To kick off the first ever Academic Book Week the the Academic Book of the Future Project came up with 20 finalists to be considered the most influential. Then the public was called in to decide the winner, and Darwin’s work was the overwhelming pick.

I have an interesting story about Darwin and this book. Evolution may not be taught at the elementary level, but it’s definitely taught in middle and high school. I remember learning about evolution during multiple years in school. I remember thinking about how Darwin had managed to open everyone’s eyes to see a little into our past as humans. I was under the impression that everyone else thought the same. Whoops.

One day during my senior year of high school we were having a discussion before class about these sorts of things. So I decided to win the argument by conducting a little poll of those present to see who did and didn’t “believe” in evolution. The quotations are there because it’s fact no matter what you think god did. Anyway, so I just asked who believed it. To my surprise there were only a handful of students raising their hands. I was baffled.

That was likely the first time I realized that my viewpoint on both evolution and religion was not what others thought. That little poll sent me on a path toward atheism that took me years to figure out. But I ultimately did.

All that to say that this book definitely deserves the top spot in this poll. It changed quite a bit for me and countless others.

I won’t ask what you think of evolution or religion because it’s not relevant. But I will ask which academic book has influenced you the most?

Which Book Should I Read Next? #3

This question is really, “Which book should I make a video about next?” I’ve previously done this post twice before and both times I was asking y’all to tell me which book I should read next from the Amazon list from four randomly selected books I’d chosen. But now I’m making videos on a consistent basis and will definitely be making one for whichever book y’all choose. But this time I’m asking y’all to pick from the books I already have rather than directly from the list itself.

Feel free to tell me how you vote and why you voted the way you did.

PS: My video for Fahrenheit 451 will be up on Thursday!

Also, I’ve created a new page on here called BookTube Channel. Every time I upload a new video I’ll also put it on the page.

Want to Pick my Next Read? #2

First, this post is coming way later than normal because once again the weather decided to pound Houston with rain. The city in which I live got something like 11 inches of rain just yesterday! And the power went out around 10:00 last night and still isn’t back on yet. And I have no phone. So, I’m writing this at Fedex.

A long time ago I asked y’all to pick my next read by voting in a poll. I chose five random books from the Amazon 100 Books to Read in a Lifetime List and asked that y’all vote to pick which one I read next. With the power outage of the last 24 hours, I’m finally getting around to finishing that first book y’all picked and decided that I might as well ask the same quetion once again.

So, I’m going to just pick five books from the Amazon list and ask that y’all vote to decide what I read next.

I don’t really know anything about these books, once again. But I decided to include the two choices from my first poll that recieved the most votes but did not win. But I won’t tell y’all which books those are.

So, tell me what I should read next. And feel free to vote and comment to make your case.

I have a lot of comments that I’ll be responding to once I have power back.

Want to Pick my Next Read?

You guys should know by now that I’ve been trying to read some books from the Amazon list. I say Amazon list because I assume you know that the editors at Amazon about a year ago released a list of 100 books everyone should read in a lifetime. I’ve been slowly working my way through some of the books on there since I found out about it.

Now I’ve decided to pick a handful of the titles and ask you guys which one I should read next. I’d prefer that you only consider the books I’ve selected because I may do this again at some point later in the year and I don’t want to start a discussion about every book on the list. So, I’ve picked five that I think most of you will be familiar with and all I want is for you to pick one. You can go ahead and make a case for any book in the comments, but you can vote easily in the poll.

I know a minimal amount about three of these and know nothing about the other two. I’ll start reading the top choice within a week, so there’ll be a few days to get some votes in. Poll time!

Blogging Doesn’t Sell Books

I know this isn’t news to most of you. Cause you’re a blogger. And a writer/author, whatever you want to call yourself. And your book isn’t selling as well as you’d hoped. And the thing about this is that it is not only self-published authors who face this problem. You always see posts about author platforms on social media to help sell books or even get a publishing deal, but let’s take a step back.

Author platforms are great. But are authors selling more books because they follow 50k people on Twitter and have 45k followers? I think not. Are authors selling more books because they have 25k followers on their blog? Perhaps. But how many authors have that kind of following on WordPress or Blogger? I know A LOT of bloggers. If I’m just looking at book/writer blogs that I know of, I’m only thinking of a handful who even have a larger following than I do. And I’m just barely over 2,000.

Of course, a blog and Twitter aren’t the only social media sites out there for authors to use. Facebook is still used by a number of my favorite authors. And then of course YouTube. But just about every social media site is difficult to find an audience, especially for authors. I’m certain that my blog could grow exponentially faster if I wanted to write about news or pop culture or music or movies, but I don’t. I write about books. I write about writing.

Blogs seem like the obvious choice for authors to start their platforms, but selling books is difficult for everyone who doesn’t have a household name. Which is like 99 percent of us.

PS: If you’re going to point out one or two or ten bloggers you know who are selling a lot of books, then that’s nice. Except for the fact that there are literally thousands of others out there who aren’t. Cause blogs just don’t sell books like one might expect.

I have the perfect question for this post. If I were to release a book today, how many of you would seriously consider buying it? I’ll even do my first ever poll to make it easier.