Submitted by justkeepbreathing94 t3_11tyny7 in books

I used to do this with short stories; learn about the authors lives and have some "context" on who's writing what I'm reading.

Much like the way you might watch interviews of bands you listen to or other artists/performers, do you ever watch interviews or research the authors you read?

Is knowing the person behind the art something you're interested in?



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danielisbored t1_jclqf77 wrote

I do, but honestly it's a double-edge sword. For every Douglas Adams that you find out spends (spent in his case) all his time and money pursuing noble causes and helping people, you'll have an Orson Scott Card who has turned into a diet-Rush Limbaugh.


C9_Tilted t1_jco71ng wrote

Oh god I was SO sad (and dumbfounded) after reading about Orson Scott Card. Like how do you write some of the most thought-provoking and awe-inspiring pieces of fiction and then turn into a racist?


KoeiNL t1_jcr2rxi wrote

I had the same feeling after looking up Dan Simmons. Made me sad. As for Orson Scott Card, it stopped me from actually buying/reading his work after Ender's Game.


rasputin415 t1_jcovbre wrote

That’s why I look them up beforehand. Ain’t no way I’m giving money to the bigoted writers out there.


EvokeWonder t1_jcmx25z wrote

What’s wrong with Rush Limbaugh? People kept telling me he wears cochlear implant and I’m like, “ok.” Me being deaf myself, I guess they figure I know every famous deaf person. 🤷‍♀️🙄


terriaminute t1_jcn2ekf wrote

What's wrong with him is he's been preaching hatred for decades.


KRS_THREE t1_jcn4e0y wrote

I mean, if you even have to ask...


EvokeWonder t1_jcn5fxz wrote

I don’t know who the guy is let alone why people hate him or why they love him.


KRS_THREE t1_jcn5ntz wrote

Oh, I guess that's fair then. It's politics, I guess that's all that needs to be said. You're either on one side or the other.


EvokeWonder t1_jcn6yns wrote

Just googled him and it came up that he’s on the radio. Which I knew for a long time. Just didn’t know what he talks about. I don’t pay attention to radio or the people who do radio. I did find that website that goes into details of what he talked about on the radio. I’m surprised he wasn’t kicked off the radio for things he said.


KRS_THREE t1_jcn7c8z wrote

Oh, you sweet precious child! I wish I didn't know politics haha. But yeah, Rush was a douche bag of the highest order. Nobody was sad when he passed.


doodles2019 t1_jcoa68l wrote

Not everyone’s American, after all (I’m not and purely based on the name, I assume he is/was?). I’ve vaguely heard the name before but know nothing else - not even a positive/negative impression.


millera85 t1_jcqdcv3 wrote

He’s dead, so nothing is wrong with him now. But when he was alive, everything was.


Colavs9601 t1_jclhgno wrote

After doing this with Marion Bradley, the author of Mists Of Avalon, not anymore.


Eeeegah t1_jclj791 wrote

You make it sound so sinister. Is there something terrible you discovered about her?


Lord0fHats t1_jclwufw wrote

Bradley became infamous when her daughter accused her and her husband of sex abuse and molestation. This compounded darkly with Bradley's writing in Mists of Avalon, where sex was a big theme in the story (and not just sex, but incest as well as parental abuse). Prior to the scandal, the themes were light enough to be written off as part of the fantasy.

'Different time, different place, different moral scruples.'

After her daughter's accusations, it becomes hard not to know about the scandal and not see Mists as an expression of Bradley's outlook on sex. And given the accusation that outlook is most politely summed up as 'pretty damn fucked up.'


WritingJedi t1_jclydbv wrote

Let's clarify this a little: she was married to Walter Breen, noted pedophile and high ranking member of NAMBLA. She most definitely was a pedophile as well.


HeleneSedai t1_jcmsikx wrote

Also going to expand on u/writingjedi response below, Bradley's daughter claimed that she told her aunt what happened back when she was still a child. When the aunt was deposed during Walter Breen's case, the aunt brought up the daughter's claims about MZB, although the police didn't pursue it further. It's on record that the daughter made those claims years before she later made them public.


WritingJedi t1_jcmuy7i wrote

Absolutely. I won't ever be able to return to Mists of Avalon. Not knowing that what's in it isn't supposed to be commentary. It's propaganda.


DConstructed t1_jcnh0ca wrote

Her work IMO also started getting weirder. She definitely had a creepy side.

Which was a pity because I felt that some of her explorations into gender roles and non heterosexual relationships were a bit ahead of their time.


Eeeegah t1_jcmbf4r wrote

I didn't know this and I can see how it colors the interpretation of Avalon.


FallenJoe t1_jcm3qd9 wrote

Never look up the lives and opinions of most of the classic sci-fi and fantasy authors. They were an overwhelmingly shit group, it's like every person who was a terrible person fucked off to write sci-fi. Just read their books and be happily ignorant.

If someone starts a conversation about boycotting books due to the views of the author and a bunch of people start sidling for the exit, they're probably sci-fi fans.

Some of them were just incredibly fucked up as people. H.P. Lovecraft in particular was basically a walking bundle of neurosis, fear, and hatred of just about everyone and everything, with a special emphasis on Blacks, Irish, Italian, and Jews.


aFairVeronesa t1_jcnh7ph wrote

I really hope my homie Le Guin didn't do anything much worse than use all male pronouns for the aliens in The Left Hand of Darkness.


KiwiTheKitty t1_jcpeejp wrote

>Just read their books and be happily ignorant.

I mean it kind of leaks through into a lot of their books, doesn't it? I used to think I hated scifi because of how much sexism and racism was obvious in 20th century stuff (not all of it but a lot of it). Thankfully things are a lot better now!


Lady_Chickens t1_jcp0d1s wrote

I came here to say exactly this. Love her books but could’ve lived my whole life without knowing about her personal life. Honestly, it made it harder to read her writing afterwards.


Colavs9601 t1_jcp4yq7 wrote

I find it impossible now, except as a case study on why death of an author is bad. The sex content that deals with familial relations and underage no longer comes across as feminist commentary on the women’s place in classic fantasy, and more of her just writing about the sex stuff she endorses.


Lady_Chickens t1_jcpcch7 wrote

I’ve not read Mists of Avalon and I refuse too after leaning about MZB’s personal life. I read most of the Darkover series before my mom mentioned her being problematic as a person. Mom’s a librarian who owns every single book MZB and her cohorts wrote. She loves them and frequently rereads both Darkover and Mists of Avalon. I understand that she can compartmentalize the books from the person but I can’t do it.


HeleneSedai t1_jcmsmsc wrote

Also will add to that list, Piers Anthony and Orson Scott Card.


wolfdigger t1_jclps9d wrote

As someone who reads a lot of literary fiction, memoirs, and classics, yeah.

Not every work is a reflection of the author, but a lot of the more personal work is informed by their experiences.

A good example of this outside the literary world is The Dark Tower by Stephen King, which started me on this path. You cannot understand The Dark Tower without coming to some understanding of Stephen King, because in many ways, The Dark Tower is a portrait of a man's interests, his personality, and his worldview across his entire life. Everything in the Dark Tower is informed by some aspect of King.

Death of the Author is a valid way of interpreting work, but it's not a hard and fast rule. It's just a school of thought for critique and interpretation, and it's not true for every work ever published. I'm not gonna look up the life story of Stephanie Meyer or the latest YA author writing average fantasy, but when it comes to Shirley Jackson, HP Lovecraft, and Oscar Wilde, knowing their real lives and stories makes their work feel more "complete."


removed_bymoderator t1_jclg2l2 wrote

Rarely. I prefer to keep the artist and the work separate. Very rarely I'll want to know their thought process.


rasputin415 t1_jcovuxz wrote

The artist puts themselves in their works, they cannot actually be separated.


ohboop t1_jclozrh wrote

Yep! Generally I will read something or several somethings (short stories, novels, etc) by the author before I do though. What usually inspires me to look them up is noticing recurring patterns across different bodies of work. Sometimes I make some kind of guess about what reasons they could be interested in whatever it is, and then off I go to read more about them.

I have a lot of fun seeing what "theories" of mine have a tiny basis in reality!


BulbasaurusThe7th t1_jclq6o4 wrote

Nah, I don't really care. There are a couple I happened to see/hear from more and I either like or dislike them, but it was never a choice I made, it just happened.

(I used to think Robin Hobb was a man. I don't really like her books at all, but for YEARS I assumed she was a man. Then again, I am not a native English speaker, so Robin sounded like a male name to me.)


boxer_dogs_dance t1_jclsfg1 wrote

It's both, see Robin Hood


BulbasaurusThe7th t1_jclt172 wrote

Oh, I know it is both, but I assumed it was exclusively male.
Then again, in my language, names are either male or female. No name can be both.


Merle8888 t1_jcmg95a wrote

English has some androgynous names, but often what you see is initially male names being colonized for women. Robin is one of those, a more and more female name as time goes by.

In the case of this author though it is a pen name (real name Megan Lindholm) and I am sure she chose it deliberately. She started using it at a time when women writing epic fantasy got little traction, and the first trilogy she wrote with it was in the first person from a male protagonist to boot. Her books with the pseudonym did far better than the ones published under her real name.


MrDozens t1_jcogmna wrote

For the longest time i thought she was a guy also. Same thing for harper lee. I generally dont look up authors or what they do.


Haylerie t1_jcpvt4m wrote

Oh, Harper Lee is a trigger name now.

She spent a lifetime earning an income, winning awards, and being praised for To Kill a Mockingbird. Then before she died she insisted on writing and publishing the sequel.

I am shocked that the new book was even published, and highly disappointed that it continues to be promoted for sale. The new book asserts physical abuse of women is normal and necessary, black people are a violent, ignorant subspecies, and most people need to be manipulated.

I wanted to break the CD I was listening to, but it was a library loan and I didn't want to put any money into the Harper Lee estate. It is hands down the worst book I have ever read. It's too bad they can't retroactively withdraw her Pulitzer Prize.


zozospencil t1_jcm0kmz wrote

I do! And sub to their newsletters, etc. Especially up and coming ones. As an artist, I know the feedback and engagement means a lot. I also preorder when the author is newish in their career.


nearlyFried t1_jcmiiqr wrote

I do find Philip K Dick's life rather interesting and fun to read about.


MTRCNUK t1_jcms6es wrote

Read Fahrenheit 451 and looked up Ray Bradbury and found out that he loved Ayn Rand and said things like this in 1994:

"it works even better because we have political correctness now. Political correctness is the real enemy these days. The black groups want to control our thinking and you can't say certain things. The homosexual groups don’t want you to criticize them. It's thought control and freedom of speech control."

Left a sour taste knowing he'd be another anti-woke hack if he was still around today, despite the fact that the Republicans are the real book burners of today (Ron Desantis).


Ineffable7980x t1_jcljolh wrote

No , because honestly I don't care. What matters to me is their work, not them


rasputin415 t1_jcow13h wrote

There work is a reflection of them. It’s in there. You should probably care somewhat.


deeeeeeeeeevo t1_jcp81mr wrote

I would say often times novels aren’t reflections of the authors. Just because someone wrote something doesn’t mean that’s what they truly believe. But for sure sometimes that is the case! Separate art from the artist


rasputin415 t1_jcpp6jw wrote

You cannot separate art from the artist. Go write something and tell me you aren’t in it. Even if everything is made up, it’s based on what they believe or as satire. From HP Lovecraft to JRRT to Brandon Sanderson; from Jane Austen to Mary Shelley to Ursula K Le Guin. Art is the very embodiment of an artist.


deeeeeeeeeevo t1_jcpquyo wrote

I understand where you’re coming from. But people seem to forget people can be a product of their times and are entitled to their own opinions! HP love craft for example, died in 1937, so his thoughts and opinions were very much a product of his time. I don’t think any negative opinions he held takes away from the magnificent work he produced.

If I were to write a story, and it involved a marginalized group being targeted, that doesn’t mean I’m racist, it might just be an aspect that I believe it important in the story and could be seen as interesting.

I understand where you’re coming from but sometimes shitty people make amazing art!


rasputin415 t1_jcprjf7 wrote

You can find people in those same eras who aren’t giant pieces of trash, just like you can today. The whole “product of their time” line is such utter bullshit. He chose to write racist shit because he was a racist. You should know the context of his life before reading. You should know he’s a raging bigot. Same with Marian Zimmer Bradley, same with any artist.


rasputin415 t1_jcprvpt wrote

Sure. Sometimes shitty people make art. And the art has shitty views in it. If you can’t see that when you read it, you should do some soul searching. I’m not saying don’t read them. But you should know their worldview.


deeeeeeeeeevo t1_jcpskz8 wrote

I respect your opinion but you’re using the luxury of hindsight in this situation. There’s always gonna be good and bad people who don’t share your opinion! That’s a matter of life, and yes you 100% have the choice to not read or indulge in these peoples work. BUT saying product of their time is bullshit is somewhat ignorant, given that it was the norm back in the day, whether you like it or not.

Now I am not a racist or a bigot in any sense, I just believe there’s more than one side to these arguments and using the luxury of hindsight is somewhat ignorant. Nowadays, there’s no place for people to be a racist in any sense, but back then, it wasn’t frowned upon.


rasputin415 t1_jcpu0ua wrote

Lol. People are racist all the time now, what the fuck are you talking about. And also, saying someone is “a product of their time” IS bullshit. Mark Twain was an ardent abolitionist, and he was alive during the civil war. Ffs.


deeeeeeeeeevo t1_jcpujbx wrote

I didn’t say people aren’t racist? I said there’s no place for people to be racist nowadays. Always two sided to a coin dude, whether you like it or not


rasputin415 t1_jcpz9pb wrote

I would love an example of an author you think isn’t in their work.


deeeeeeeeeevo t1_jcq001c wrote

James SA Corey (Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck) wrote the expanse series and that deals with lots of racism and marginalization. Scott lynch from the gentlemen bastard series, lots!


rasputin415 t1_jcq2apx wrote

Talking about or having something in your writing doesn’t mean you believe in that thing. But how the author treats it, does. What happens to the racists in the Expanse? How are they portrayed?

You’re literally making my point.


rasputin415 t1_jcq3phz wrote

Scott Lynch literally writes about stealing from the rich. Like. Come on.


rasputin415 t1_jcpwwk0 wrote

I know what you said and I’m telling you you’re wrong. What do you think all this anti-“woke” stuff is? JFC.


MorriganJade t1_jclhtam wrote

I really enjoy the interviews of some authors- Martha Wells, Ryka Aoki, Becky Chambers and Naomi Novik


wolf781 t1_jclos7b wrote

Only when it's a non-fiction book, and I want to make sure the author is actually knowledgeable on the subject they're writing about.


IndigoTrailsToo t1_jclroxq wrote


I would like to publish some day also but to do that I need a finished work. I like to draw inspiration on the fact that these authors are not aliens from another planet but people like me with jobs and kids and who also write - except they kept on writing.


Zikoris t1_jclgfob wrote

The only time I look up anything about authors is if there's some sort of controversy and I'm curious what that's about. It's not something unique to authors for me - I also do not generally look up anything about singers/performers/bands etc. I guess it's never seemed like an interesting thing to do.


2tired4usernamegame t1_jclxh0z wrote

Like a Million Little Pieces. I knew it was a farce and I had to sell his books so I researched.


battleangel1999 t1_jcm9rkk wrote

I don't but I think I should. I remember in HS our teacher would begin the lesson with speaking about the authors life. She say when they were born (1940 for example) and then ask us what events happened around that time. It was very helpful when it came to understanding why the author wrote about what they did.


Secret_Walrus7390 t1_jcm152y wrote

Big time. Another thing I always do is check the date it was published, gives me a sense of context that I like.


Toadstool_Lilium293 t1_jcmqqch wrote

Clive Barker has a pretty harrowing backstory, but he uses his past in an achingly beautiful way in his horror/fantasy novels. Learning his past made me love his books all the more. You can tell how healing writing is for him.


Humble_Elk_5961 t1_jcm7kku wrote

I think it depends on the author. So far I have been more of a reader of what are considered philosophical books, more than literary ones. And what I find to be able to, more than simply make it "more interesting", but deeply change the way I see the books is to do what you are asking. With many, if not most of what people call philosophers, there is really nothing that would change your way of seeing the book. Usually their life stories consists of, well, just "generic" ones.

Take David Hume for example. He was struggling to sell his books but that's about it.

And it may even be rather "painful", like Immanuel Kant who perhaps may even be regarded as having "no life", as they call it (although I don't reccomend mindlessly deriving wisdom from public opinion), which I however agree in that he may have been too immersed in something that he didn't necessarily enjoy to begin with, because he didn't "get it", meaning, the whole point of life which is, well, to live I guess.

And it may even make you feel "more cynical" about the book (although I argue this would be a rather wrong line of reasoning; you may become "more cynical" about the author, but not the book; the book should stand for itself regardless of the author). Arthur Schopenhauer was the son of a wealthy merchant (and was able to keep his wealth to the end of his life since he was not insane or anything), who preached about the importance of, for example, asceticism, which is the activity of not doing much activity, such as not eating. This makes some people angry since he was able to say that while having the chance to eat whatever he wanted, being a wealthy man, not least one who didn't bother to discuss the socio-economic system whatsoever other than that you should do charity once in a while if you're rich.

But once in a while, perhaps in a whole millenium, there is gonna be a person like Friedrich Nietzsche. His whole life is his book. It is one of the greatest novel I've ever read. He is the epitome of a tragic hero. Reading his life story, you will find the change from a "nice", religious child, to a ferociously inquisitive teenager who was still "nice" nonetheless, to a man completely struggling with everything he was brought in. His whole life he was immersed in a vigorous pursuit of figuring out what kind of life we, as an individual, and as a whole humanity, should live, and he not just applied, but breathed in whatever discovery he made into his own life–something which I find very moving.


bluredditacct t1_jcljd4i wrote

Absolutely not, at least for fiction. I hate knowing anything, even the author pics. It colors the story for me and I hate it. I start double thinking everything and making assumptions and I'd rather just be entertained.

For non fiction it's fine, and can add to the authenticity of the work.


EndlessEmergency t1_jclmqu1 wrote

Rarely, and if so I usually just read over their Google bio blurb for the most basic overview of them.


Jack-Campin t1_jcls41n wrote

Nearly always, if I have the opportunity. Example: I've seen a few books by Lesley Blanch and have The Sabres of Paradise in a pile upstairs. Contemporary of Barbara Cartland writing about a 19th century Islamic revolutionary and Victorian sexual bohemians. Seeing a book written in an over-the-top style about such very exotic subjects, you want to know straight off, how did she come to do that? and did she know what she was talking about? The Wikipedia page isn't that great but it does say who she hung out with, which explains something.

The Sabres of Paradise reads like a novel but the biography makes it clear that it wasn't one.


mg_ridgeview t1_jcluep5 wrote

I'll occasionally do this for some authors, hopefully that's not too creepy. A lot of my favorite authors actually lived pretty interesting lives so far as I can tell. Which I guess shouldn't come as a surprise. Tolkien, Heinlein, Frank Herbert, Stephen King, to name a few. It's interesting delving into their pasts to know where they got some of their ideas and inspiration from. I guess it's just interesting to me as an on/off creator myself.


Dazzling-Ad4701 t1_jcmaqli wrote

I do somewhat, yes. I think I came up in an era where the publishing world was a bit insular. [that's one way of looking at it; an alternative way would be to say in the old days you had to be able to write to get something published.] there was more print and radio media and less tv, much less internet, too.

the upshot of that is that my conditioning had me seeing book world of the 60s and 70s as a sort of community. I know quite a bit of background on many of the people who were big names. in addition to that, many of them wrote, at some point, about their own lives. or someone else wrote their biographies.

I find all of it interesting. it doesn't necessarily illuminate or ruin whatever they wrote, for me. it's simply interesting.

when it comes to sci-fi and fantasy: I've been a side eyed skeptic from those days too. I just read too much of it not to infer that for many of them, it was alluring more because of the "freedom" to step beyond current social constraints. that's great when it's experimenting with concepts like hey, maybe race shouldn't matter. but far too much sci Fi/fantasy just used the genre to handwave far more real emotional truths - such as, for instance, real live 10 year-olds don't necessarily want to be some adult's sexbot.

I didn't conclude anything about the individual authors -that seems to be a more latter-day hobby. but nothing much that I've learned was much of a surprise.


hatsuseno t1_jcmplvu wrote

As a 'death of the author' kind of person, I'd rather not. Or, at least, I feel no desire to.


Lamamaster234 t1_jcmpyom wrote

Definitely, for example Dazai’s No Longer Human has a ton of parallels to his personal life. Same thing with Kafka’s works, you often get to see the author’s personality seep into their writing. Oftentimes it puts their books into a better perspective.


tkingsbu t1_jcmvbg3 wrote

I’ve been doing that for years… and contacted a lot of them via email back in the day… all of them replied :) all were super nice :)

John Varley was first… he asked how many got into sci-fi to begin with, and I wrote to him about how my mom was a massive fan of his and raised my brother and I to be big sci-fi fans etc… he wrote back praising my mom .. she was SO happy when I told her :)

Spoke with several others like Greg Bear etc… all of them were amazing:)


demiflame t1_jco6ghf wrote

Nope. I rather not know about them so that their level of morality don't effect my enjoyment of their story.


AccessibleVoid t1_jcojafb wrote

Not usually. If I really enjoy the characters, then knowing about the author makes them seem less real. And if the author is a shit, it takes some of the magic out of the story


LFLreader t1_jcoojap wrote

Most of the books I buy have the author's life chronology listed either in the beginning of the book or at the end. The list has three areas of interest, Date of events in the authors life, Literary context, is a history of other authors books at the same time along with his, and third and last Historical world events of the same year. Yes I'm interested in Authors in the same generation as my great, great, great, grand fathers and what happened in history as time moved up into today. I can see the age of E.A. Poe, and H.P. Lovecraft and the Authors they read that influenced their writing.


skull_jelly t1_jcoy19o wrote

I've actually reached out to them myself! I love asking or finding out WHY they decided to write that, i feel it makes the book more personal when you understand why they wrote it


vinniethestripeycat t1_jclm4i3 wrote

When I read our book club selection, I or one of the others in the group will often look them up for more info on the book the they choices they made in writing it. This happens more with authors from different cultures & countries from us (United States.) For example, we read a book by a nonbinary author from Nigeria set in Nigeria & knowing a little of their background improved our discussion & comprehension of the story & the setting.

For my personal reading, I don't bother.


Manwards84 t1_jclqon9 wrote

Nope. I have very little interest in the people behind the media I enjoy. I don't really care what my favourite musicians, authors, actors etc. do in their spare time. Never have.


SheIsSewSpiritual78 t1_jcm5bk3 wrote

I never have but I love watching the Castle episodes that James Patterson was in.


unlovelyladybartleby t1_jcmry4k wrote

No. I don't care about the personal lives of famous people and artists. They create a product for me to enjoy. They themselves aren't a product. I don't follow my plumber home to watch him cook dinner and I grant authors and musicians and actors the same space.

Plus, starting down that road, eventually you know what a Kardashian is and I have no interest in that journey.

I admit, if someone is an utter asshole or a pedo I make sure I don't pay for their books, but they need to make the front page before I care.


FrankenZeus t1_jclxccy wrote

depends on the book. Sometimes I like going completely blind and other times I feel like having some type of background knowledge is nice to know. I was recently reading Frankenstein and I could not believe Mary Shelley started writing it at only 18 years old.


2tired4usernamegame t1_jclxd0x wrote

Authors I will look up to see if they have any actual credentials to back up their writing or learn their backstory. I’ve met several and don’t recommend this. But I was a bookseller. I was invited to meet one of my favorite fine artists a few months ago and declined. I’ve met a number of NFL players and genuinely liked them (two were childhood friends), Marcus Allen was just a great guy I met at a bookstore. The rule, ‘don’t meet your heroes’ is a rule for a reason. You’ll be disappointed.


ivyra t1_jcm5kmc wrote

No, quite frankly I don’t care. But once I discovered that a detective stories author committed a murder and spent jail time for it, before becoming an author.


Nightgasm t1_jcmakwe wrote

Very rarely. Now that I've gone ebook and audiobook only I don't have the slightest idea what most authors even look like let alone details about them. Their background is utterly irrelevant to me.


bethpete3031 t1_jcmd8ah wrote

Neil Gaiman! I was surprised by references to Wisconsin in American Gods (I’ve lived in Wisconsin all my life and nobody talks about it-ever) and found out he lived here when his children were young.


UniqueVast592 t1_jcmf133 wrote

John Irving.

I love his work have been to so many of his readings, have read everything he has written, and have researched the hell out of him. Even met him a few times.

Embarrassingly to the point of practically being a stalker because (and this is purely coincidence, honest) at one point we lived close to each other. I would sometimes see him on the subway or at the market. I'm not crazy nor was I in any way infatuated with him, although I did name my son Owen after Owen Meany.

Ok TMI, I am out. LMAO! You asked!


bravetailor t1_jcmgilu wrote

Sometimes. Usually moreso for centuries-old authors than current ones though. I went down quite a rabbit hole for Jane Austen, and she's STILL an enigma to me.


Julieann1970 t1_jcmgu3h wrote

No I don’t, but I might now following an afternoon at a literary festival where I listened to Alistair McCall Smith, an author that I had written off without reading his books. It turned out that he is hugely entertaining and if I had researched him, I might have given him a chance. How many other authors have I ignored because I have prejudged with incorrect assumptions?


kahiru_ t1_jcmihbd wrote

Not really. Sometimes enough of author's own past seeps through into the books they've written and I kinda like when it happens (looking at you Remarque), but I don't really go out of my way to look them up myself.


Athragio t1_jcmjtcz wrote

Only as much as I should know but often many times, looking up the lives of artists only lead to disappointment for their morals and values, and in severe cases their crimes.

Honestly the most I like to go now is the time period and location. Get to know the values of society at the time and the trends in fiction so I get context behind the work. This doesn't necessitate getting to know an author with a shady past.


MS1947 t1_jcmmxcq wrote

Long ago, I learned to ignore the real lives of actors whose work I admired. They so often turn out to be jerks that it affects my ability to continue enjoying that work. I’d hate for that to happen to me with writers.


CodexRegius t1_jco8a40 wrote

Nowadays, I regret having watched a film as soon as I read "Weinstein" in the end credits.


minimalist_coach t1_jcmnadt wrote

I'm finding the less I know about authors the better I like them. It seems so many authors and other "celebrities" have said or done horrible things.


deezkeys098 t1_jcmnpiv wrote

I used to dabble in uhm… spicy audiobooks piece of advice don’t look up narrators if you think they have a sexy voice you will be disappointed


hatsuseno t1_jcmppp8 wrote

Classic "You have a face for radio!" moment.


jessicagraceuk t1_jcmox33 wrote

Sometimes! It can give context to the mind that created the world you've immersed yourself in.

It's more interesting to read the works of friends who write fiction. Recognising the pieces of their world which create a backdrop for their characters is fascinating, and seeing parts of them in those characters... such a peculiar yet special know to know a friend on a deeper level.

It can definitely be a dice roll though, as some of the comments have shown!


StrawberryFields_ t1_jcmq2nf wrote

When I'm reading classics, no. Because they're most probably Nazis or colonizers or misogynists.


trishyco t1_jcmwqka wrote

I follow everyone I like on social media and try to go to readings and book signings.


EvokeWonder t1_jcmww0r wrote

Not really. I tend to only look authors up if I like their book so much that I’m curious if they wrote other book similar to the book I read.

If author’s dead I would be more likely to look them up.

I am really interested in the stories, not their storytellers if that makes sense.


blankdreamer t1_jcmx54z wrote

Definitely. I want to know where this stuff has come from and what other works they have and maybe find a pattern


terriaminute t1_jcn3prl wrote

Well, I've helped run an annual 3-day sf/f/horror convention for over 40 years, and attended several World SF Conventions. I've met a fair number of authors, some of them pretty famous. Most are fine, some are or were less so. One came to our con, had an apparent great time, then trashed us later in print, so, he was ridiculous. Another was fine with fans but a PITA for us because he was drunk most of the time. They're humans, as fine or as fucked up as any bunch of humans is. I'll say, Jack and Joe Haldeman were great. Robert Block was fantastic. David Gerrald was a lot of fun and gave one of the best Guest of Honor speeches I've ever heard. Robert Zelazny was terrific.

But, yeah. Orson Scott Card was a shit to me. His wife made him apologize. It was likely just before he went off the rails into zealot territory.


trucynnr t1_jcn6hft wrote

Nope. Don’t care about them, their life or their position. Just want to enjoy the story.


corrado33 t1_jcnakwi wrote

Absolutely not.

I do not care one bit about who the author actually is. I do not want to know who they are, what they look like, what political party they are, nothing. That kinda stuff can ruin a book for me. I prefer to know as little as possible about the author. Preferably just their name and nothing else.

"Bad" people can write good books and good stories.


KINGGS t1_jcnaswa wrote

I don’t even crack open a book until I know some things about the author.

I think it’s important to know the author’s background when you’re reading literary fiction and/or classics.

I also prefer to read a well rounded assortment of writing, meaning that the author’s cultural background is high priority knowledge for me.

The western canon and the big publishers tend to neglect non-Anglo writing, so if you are going into stores just taking books off the shelf without looking then you’re missing out on the world, really.


staffsargent t1_jcnbcv6 wrote

I look up other books by them but usually nothing about them personally. It honestly doesn't matter to me or add anything to my enjoyment of their work. If the writing is good, I don't need to spoil it by finding out shitty things about the writer. If the writing sucks, I don't really care what a nice person the author is.


Im_not_a_robot_9783 t1_jcnbk8k wrote

Sometimes. The catch is that more often than not I end up spending more time researching the author that reading the book


Tanagrabelle t1_jcnfkz3 wrote

Yeeeees and no. You certainly find out awful things sometimes, like the aforementioned Orson Scott Card, or the far more horrifying Marion Zimmer Bradley. And then I re-read her books with that information, and started to see it.


DConstructed t1_jcnh5ma wrote

Sometimes or sometimes just to see what else they have written.


Edinburgh003 t1_jcno5en wrote

Nope. My favorite book in middle school was Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley. That backfired


QueenRooibos t1_jcnoti9 wrote

Well I have always followed Margaret Atwood's life with great respect and enjoyment.


Independent_Boss3950 t1_jcnvy7m wrote

I found out through a movie that an author I read had murdered someone when she was a teenager. It was made into the movie Heavenly Creatures.


msdanarae86 t1_jco1xfl wrote

Always! I’ve found some that I love even more because of who they are. It makes reading their stories more like reading a friend’s story! Like Kevin hearne or deliah Dawson


NotAllBooksSmellNice t1_jco2awk wrote

Sometimes, it's a mixed bag, but I like to remember the fun/interesting ones. Like soft spoken, bushy beard, grandfatherly Robert Jordan being a decorated helicopter gunner in Nam.


OneGoodRib t1_jco3ow2 wrote

I pretty much only do it intentionally if the person is a new author or if they have an unbelievably massive amount of works. I want to know the backstory of the authors who have written 150+ novels since 1950. I'm not really interested in the life story of every single person whose book I read.


sj4iy t1_jco60n8 wrote

Honestly…no. If i enjoy the book, I don’t want to know the horrible things the author has done. I learned that lesson in Japanese literature class.


MarianeAicimoun t1_jco78d8 wrote

😂 OBVIOUSLY!! I become obsessed!! Then I cry because I know I may never ever meet them in real life!!


skyequinnwrites t1_jco85sc wrote

After learning that Erin Hunter wasn’t a real person in elementary school I have to say I stopped doing this as much as I used to


doodles2019 t1_jco9yx3 wrote

Sometimes, it sort of depends - I just recently read the Mrs Harris series and it was so immersed in British class culture that I had to look up the author because the book blurb said he was American and I wanted to see if I could understand where all that had come from (no apparent connection whatsoever).

Ditto Naomi Novik, reading the Temeraire series and have read the Scholomance, had a quick search as I was sure she must be English but no - deeply American as is her family and her husband. Guess she just does a lot of research.

Beyond having a specific reason like that though I’m not overly bothered to know much more about them - it’s their stories I want


Violettnonsie t1_jcogw3n wrote

i mean what necessary to know about them are already on the blurb or in the intro part of books so... even if im really amazed by their writing, i will only search for more books of them, rarely thought of finding more about their bio or sth. Moreover, most books i read of which the content are like really..."surreal"? So i can't even imagine if the authors' life had bearing on the context of those.


johnsgrove t1_jcoh6y9 wrote

Yes, but it’s not always wise


0_0moon0_0 t1_jcokm3w wrote

If I really like the book, yes.


nasaye t1_jcolmy8 wrote

All the damn time!!


Batousghost t1_jcopg6j wrote

I do on new and unfamiliar authors.


Goren_Nestroy t1_jcopmgb wrote

I read a lot of Sci-fi. Mostly Hard / Military Sci-Fi.

Turns out most people writing Mil Sci-fi are really right leaning in their politics. And some are just batshit the point where I kinda don't wanna read their books anymore.

So no I stopped reading up on an Authors background


munkie15 t1_jcotmz6 wrote

No. For the most part I separate the author from their work. The exceptions would be non-fiction books. I will look up those authors to get an idea of how serious to take the topic they are writing about. There has only been one author I looked up to get personal incites about, Ayn Rand. The only reason I looked her up was first to find some redeeming quality or reason for your writing style and philosophy. Then it just turned into animosity ammo to argue against her proponents.


JustAnotherAlgo t1_jcp2ijh wrote

Someone recommended "A Little Life" to me and the author kept showing off about how much they knew about art or food and being really detailed and it felt like name-dropping to me. It started getting annoying. I had to look up who was talking to me through this book.

Also, because I mostly read on Kindle, I hadn't realized that this was a 700+ page undertaking and when I was at about 10 % I already felt a sunk-cost fallacy about it and wanted to push myself to finish it anyway. There were enough well-written prose passages to highlight that I considered it worth it. I made it to 20 % and eventually just accepted the DNF.


TheInvisibleWun2 t1_jcp38ul wrote

Never. Its never been of interest to me. As long as the story they write is good I don't care who wrote it.


not_dead_7214 t1_jcpbznu wrote

Oh, I definitely do! Because by knowing the author's surface-level background story after reading a book of theirs for the first time, I got to know what advocacies he/she is fighting for. But I also agree with the other commenter here that it is a double-edged sword. Looking them up can either (1) make you read their next releases or (2) turn you off from something (e.g. critical opinions) that doesn't align with yours.

I can only think of J.K. Rowling from this. I know how well-written her HP books are but after knowing about her side on LGBTQ matters, I stirred clear from her literary pieces. I have always believed that literature should be an empowering tool that represents the grievances of the marginalized and opens up a whole new world of possibilities. So hearing about her take... It honestly just doesn't sit right with me.

Kudos to Neil Geiman though! Haha! Cool and very socially aware dude.


themistycrystal t1_jcpm9ql wrote

No. I just want to enjoy the writing. If I find out an author I like is a rotten person, I don't feel right about buying or reading any more of their stuff. I'd rather remain ignorant.


drapedinpearls t1_jcpxu9d wrote

Yes! I fell in love with Plum Sykes after reading The Debutante Divorcee and had to know more about her life. Rich girls fascinate me.


shylemonpie t1_jcrv6vf wrote

Well, if the book conects with my feelings I tend to look up the author's inpos and their life story. I think this kind of research makes the book even more intense, because you start to realise where some aspects of the book came from.


PeterchuMC t1_jcu65im wrote

I don't really do that as it can result in people like Gareth Roberts. On the other hand it can result in people like Terry Pratchett.


writerbeing t1_jcu6a0t wrote

No, or at least very rarely. I never watch actor or musician interviews either.

When I really love a book, I think of the story as real. Learning too much about the author or their process kind of ruins that for me. It's similar with actor interviews or "behind the scenes" specials.

The one time I can think of where I looked up the author and read his bio, it was an autobiographical book. So that's a bit different.


Ayjayyyx t1_jd2hju1 wrote

No, just the basics. Their name, gender and age.


ZeMastor t1_jcloq16 wrote

It's better not to.

The work they wrote, and what they left behind is more important.

A lot of times it comes off that book fans seem to expect their fave authors to be paragons of virtue, and can be disappointed when they find out the TRUTH, or become very defensive (on behalf of a dead author) when others tell them that their fave media creator is actually a terrible human being.

Others find out that their fave authors, or artists, or filmmakers do what's generally considered immoral or harmful or incredibly racist/sexist things and even jump through hoops to JUSTIFY that. Like pulling anecdotes out of a hat: "Well XXXXX did that too and he's a great [whatever]." or "YYYYY did this and he's not constrained by traditional morality." So that leaves us to wonder about these defenders, "Well, if ZZZZZ doing that is OK with you because he's a great [occupation], what does that say about YOU? You'd do the same thing?"

In the end, it's up to individuals to decide whether they want to appreciate the work and ignore the moral failings of the creator, or to dump the works in the trash and not consume any more media because the creator had stepped WAY over the line. Personal and individual decision and I'd respect it either way.

What's not cool is "cancelling" or intimidating fans, reviewers, or buyers of a work or a derivative work and accusing them of the same sins that the author might have committed, and supporting the author's un-PC thoughts about current social issues. If you don't personally want to support AuthorX because of their stance on certain issues, then don't buy it. Just don't jump down the throats of people who do want to buy it. (ahem. >!Hogwart's Legacy Game!<)


Low-Persimmon-9893 t1_jclqpjc wrote

i read a lot of manga and manga artists will sometimes actually add a section at the end of each volume (or little sections between chapters) that tells them a bit about themselves. you don't tend to get any gritty details but thanks to it i know that the guy that writes PHD: phantasy degree is a huge gaming nerd that sometimes would have rather have just played fantasy video games all day instead if writing manga,the lady that writes tokyo mew mew likes to cosplay as her main character when she appears at cons and sometimes get's weird questions and the lady that writes emma: a victorian romance is such a huge maid nerd that she used the series as an excuse to take a trip to london for "research".

it's not a LOT of info but it does let you get to know them a little bit and creates a level of connection between author and reader that just wouldn't otherwise be there.


RubOne2966 t1_jclyxj1 wrote

Sometimes but not really. I think that it is interesting though to know that someone like j.k. Rowling can begin to write a series with the accompaniment of deep depression. To write fantasy like that while your brain is scraping the bottom only makes me imagine her book as more of an escape the more I think about it.


Hour_Squirrel_4914 t1_jcm8iri wrote

Rarely. If I don't like them it will taint my enjoyment of their work.


lucia-pacciola t1_jcmbwdc wrote

Generally no, for the same reason I don't read forewords, introductions, or prefaces. I want my relationship with the author to be whatever is in the text itself, not other ideas from outside the text.


Hoth9K1 t1_jcmm9q4 wrote

Last time I looked up an author I found out they were a horrible person and no longer enjoy their franchise.


ellieofus t1_jclw07g wrote

No. The only time I used to do that was in school when the authors life were critical to understand the context of their works.