With the whole Greg Mortenson debacle that has been buzzing on Twitter and everywhere else on the interwebs, I’ve found myself feeling wary of ever picking up Three Cups Of Tea despite how excited I was when I bought it last year (we’ll move on from the fact that I buy books and don’t read them until decades later).
This is something that happens to me often when I see similar controversies or authors behaving badly. I owned two James Frey books and I couldn’t bring myself to read them after he lied about his supposed “memoir” and the whole “Fiction Factory” thing. It doesn’t matter how badly I want to read it…when I see an author lying or acting like a straight up asshat it just makes something inside of me feel like I don’t want any part in that. I feel almost disrespected as a reader. I mean..if your memoir isn’t true, please don’t label it as a memoir. Fiction sells..clearly…so don’t trick me or manipulate me.
I know that a book like Three Cups of Tea still DOES have value to it and teaches some great lessons whether or not he fudged some details. But I don’t know, I just feel conflicted and think it would mar my perception of his work. I understand that authors are people and they make mistakes but there is something within my being that won’t let me get past REALLY bad behavior enough to read the book.
Even on a small scale, I’ve heard of authors being nasty to reviewers or saying something really offensive on Twitter/blogs. I’ve never experienced it personally but I see how a bad encounter with an author it might leave a bad taste in my mouth toward the book. I’ve never dealt with it so I don’t know. I can handle that an author might have a bad personality or have different beliefs than me. I think I can separate that from their work. Some of my favorite authors, musicians or actors are McDoucheys (and McBitches) but I can still appreciate their work and separate their less than stellar personality.
What about you guys? Does something like the Greg Mortenson controversy dissuade you from picking up a book by that author? If you’ve already read it, does it affect your feelings toward it? Have you ever had an encounter with an author (no names, please!) that made you think differently about them or their books? Can you separate the authors actions from their work? Or does it depend on WHAT the action is? Authors, how do you feel about this when you see your peers doing things like this? Do you think your actions affect readers? Let me know your thoughts!
And I’ll just have you know that my Naughty Naughty Authors is said in the same tone as the end of this.