Do you care about your favourite authors’ political views?

Let’s talk about authors’ political views!

Whispers in the background:
” Omg, I can’t believe she wants to talk about politics!”
“What? Politics? Is she insane?”
“Politics? This will end in a disaster!”

 

The Story

Like the busy little bookblogger I am, I was writing a review to a book I enjoyed. When it was done I headed over to Twitter to look up the author and see if I could tag her. You know, to spread the love.

Instead I stumbled into the middle of a political battle between another bookblogger, this author and another one.

Previously, I had a vague idea that this author had different political views from my own. It made me roll my eyes a bit the one time it showed in one of her books. But overall, I found them so enjoyable that I didn’t think about it any further or researched if she shares her political views on her social media platforms. Until I stumbled into said twitter war.

 

The Discussion

And now I’m wondering:

How important are authors’ political views to you as a reader and as a reviewer?

Do you only read and review books of authors who either remain neutral or share your opinions?

Or do you leave politics completely out of your reading choices?

I hope you share your thoughts in the comments 🙂

 

The Rules

I have studied political science for a while (until I came to my senses) and politics has always been an important topic for me. I feel strongly about my opinions. And yes, I admit, I also believe that my views are the only true, good and right ones, hah! I don’t try particularly hard to keep them a secret, but I would like to have a civil talk where everyone feels welcome, so I want to keep this all neutral. Please keep your actual political views out of your reply, and only post your opinion on whether or not political views in general matter for your reading choices.

 

My Opinion

I’m very unsure still and I hope this discussion will help me make up my mind. The whole topic has come up very little for me since I used to not follow authors on social media. Most books I’ve read seemed neutral to me. On one hand, I feel art and literature are political on a more basic level than which party you vote for in the next election and in that sense transcend party differences.

On the other hand, as a bookblogger I want people to buy the books I recommend. And do I want to support authors in this way who stand for things that I might view as actually threatening? We live in difficult political times where we aren’t only talking about nuances or whether taxes should be raised by 1 or 5%, but about a lot of things that actually scare people everywhere on the political spectrum.

I’m very much looking forward to finding out what you think about this!

 

34 comments on “Do you care about your favourite authors’ political views?

  1. Oh, this is a really tough topic, and I’m sort of torn about it, just like you are. On the one hand, I try to be fair to people and allow that they might have differing views than on me on things, and that doesn’t mean I can’t enjoy their books. I try hard to give people the benefit of the doubt and assume that they have good intentions, even if I disagree with their views. BUT, on the other hand, it’s hard to ignore when someone has opinions that are pretty diabolically opposed to your own. And if they’re expressing those views in very negative ways, I have a harder time ignoring it.

    I also can’t help but be influenced a bit by seeing that someone’s views are opposite to mine and sort of … souring on them in general. Like, there was an author that I met at an event and I thought she was very pleasant and planned to read her book, but over time of seeing her post things I really disagreed with (not even in a super negative way) I kind of lost interest in the book. And I have to wonder if the two things are related?

    So, no answers here, only agreement that this is a tough call!

  2. As with almost anything, for me it is more often the **how** more than the **what** and an author’s politics are no exception. I do believe it is entirely possible for people to be who they are, believe what they believe and express themselves without alienating the people listening to them. For people in the public eye, or authors that make their livelihood on the goodwill of their readers, AKA **total strangers**, some degree of neutrality along with careful consideration is merited. When I’ve stopped following or, more importantly, buying, an author it is most often because their actual work simply doesn’t work for me for whatever reason(s). When an author decides to out themselves politically and do it without style, grace, or class it is almost impossible to respect. From anybody, really.

  3. I feel really overwhelmed by all the politicizing that is going on, and it’s almost never done in a respectful way. I have been really frustrated by authors, who have been sneaking their political opinions into non-political books, because they are ruining my escape. I have muted so many authors or unfollowed them on social media, because of political posts. They are entitled to use their Twitter for whatever they want, but I just want to clog my feed with positive things. And honestly, as a moderate, I find most people, who are always screaming about their political leanings to be too far one way or the other for me.

  4. Political views do matter to my reading to some extent since many things I support seem to be embroiled in hot topic debates. I think authors can be political if they like and if it matters to them. I’ve actually found that the authors who I notice are more politically active make me interested in their books, but I tend to follow their social media more than actually read their books.

  5. It really depends. I know a few authors in the UK that have very different political views (not that I really have any, but don’t agree with some politics) to me. They don’t share them in their writing, but do on Twitter etc. I tend just to go past them. However I have deleted a couple of authors from my Twitter page who are American (I’m in the UK) but whose politics I really don’t agree with. They were very Trump is the best, guns are the best, abortion is wrong and women should go to hell for having them kind of people, their religion is most important thing in the world and if you are not their said religion you are going to hell too. I can’t be doing with any of that rubbish, so I just deleted them.

    I’m only a blogger, but I watch what I say on all of my social media platforms as I don’t get involved in anything controversial or political as it wouldn’t look great for the site – Not that I can be bothered to anyway.

  6. This post is definitely something else😍, I always hate politics and to be honest I really don’t know why. I just hate it but if you have a specific political opinion, that won’t make me hate you, cause that would be racism. I would follow any Author whether their political opinions are, but I won’t participate in any discussions.

  7. Authors’ political opinions are very important to me….. which is why I stay away from knowing all that much about ‘my’ writers! 😀 Everyone’s entitled to their opinion, no matter how for- or backward, and “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it” is one of the most important quotes I’ve read and that everyone knows (and that in this day and age many more people should try and live by, instead of trying to censor voices that are saying the ‘wrong’ things). But when I’m reading, I’m usually trying to wind down, to come out the other end (of the book :D) feeling better, not more depressed or upset, or even more informed. There’s a time and a place for reading like that but it’s not the bulk – I want to be entertained!

    If I’d get politics in the mix that’d be a lot harder. People are really good at trying to patch holes, to color in an image, to come up with context while reading (let’s call that “having fantasy”!) but once you already *have* some color, some filling, in the form of an author’s political statements, it’s for me very hard to not continue filling in blanks with those same politics. Or assume certain statements or plot devices or whatever are meant in a certain way, that I might not have considered otherwise. And thats kinda fine when it’s matching “my” political beliefs….but gets less enjoyable when not. If I want to get grumbly about opinions I deem outdated, misinformed or outright harmful I’ll open a newspaper!

    So instead I’ll enjoy my audiobooks as free as possible of politics and focus on the story, characters, epic first kisses, descriptions of fantastic places and the grandest of Happenings. Sure, sometimes politics do make it into the story. But it’s not that hard to read over such, thinking “probably didn’t mean it like that” or something similar. To be fair, recently I read a book by an author who’s famously political. But that writer was good enough a word artist to craft a wildly entertaining story while -even though clearly political- never trying to moralize. I guess that’s the deciding factor: if someone is political, someone’s writing is political rather, are they trying to do so with a raised finger, or really only because the story they wanted to tell ‘forced’ them to… The latter allows divergent opinions.

    I suppose, then, it’s all down to how good an author is and how badly they want to educate their readers and listeners – or just entertain them! 😀

    1. I get where you’re coming from. And yes, I think I definitely like it best when a story leaves enough room for me to interpret things the way I want them to be meant 🙂 Thank you for taking the time to comment!

  8. I love you for raising this topic as it is something I have dwelling on as well. It started for me during the last presidential election and the astonishing atmosphere of malice, ignorance, and pettiness. I actively started unfriending and dropping the supporters of the hatemonger and shit stirrers backing the current orange tyrant. I cannot bare to knowingly or unknowingly support such an abomination. So my answer is yes, it does matter to me.

    1. I feel you. And sadly, that’s exactly where the problem lies for me. Sure, in theory, and where I live, I don’t mind if someone votes conservative. It’s not my views, but I know it’s still based on the same values I have. The problem lies with the huge divide to the populists, especially over in the US, who seem to have their views based on an entirely different set of values. So the line to hatespeech is crossed way more commonly now because hate is now an accepted political concept that can manage to get majority votes.

  9. To be honest this is also hard for me. But I just cannot support someone I know that has a very trashy political opinion. Sometimes the author’s work is so great it’s frustrating and sad to think that it has been made by someone I cannot support. There are times when I can just easily not give my support and not read their books. But sometimes I feel like it’s also hard not to be able to read a good content. But political views are also very important to me so I just hate it when things like that happen.

    1. Yes, that’s exactly how I feel about it, too!! I really like this author’s work, I enjoy reading it, but some of the stuff she liked on twitter is unacceptable to me and my political views. ARGH!!

  10. Mostly, I try to keep the author as a person separate from the author as a writing. Some would say you can’t, and there are times when it’s hard to separate them. I just finished a book that had an awkwardly placed political statement in the book. It didn’t fit and did nothing for the story but remove me from it. I actually agreed with the author’s view, but it felt sneaky to me. As for what they put on their social media and/or how public they are about their political opinions, I don’t care. If it’s important enough to the author to speak his/her mind and potentially alienate them, what’s it to me? Unless the person is a proponent of hate and spews it… that’s a deal breaker. Glad you opened this up for discussion!

  11. I never thought of looking into that, but you make a good point. I think if I saw a type of behavior (aggressive communication methods and the like) – not necessarily political view – that I didn’t agree with, I would probably avoid the author. We can be different, but we need to be open to others – and respectful.

    1. Yeah, that’s the tricky bit. Voting for different parties is one thing. But these days it so quickly goes into areas where I’d “draw a line”. I find it difficult to differentiate there.

  12. I don’t care as long as it is not reflected in the stories they write. If they are, then I drop the books.

  13. I don’t judge an author by their political views, I don’t know most authors political views. If I read a book that tried to shove either religion or politics down my throat then it would be an instant DNF.

    1. Yes, I definitely agree. I always view it as a perk when I notice that one of my favourite authors is also a great person, like Neil Gaiman for example 🙂

  14. This is a great question and something I was thinking about the other day! I deliberately try not to find out about the author if I really like the book because if I end up not liking them it taints the book. But then that quite ignorant of me and I wouldn’t want to support someone who spread hateful messages etc. As an author I try to keep my political opinions to myself but my gosh it is hard sometimes. It also is a choice for the author I guess whether they want to use and influence they do have to share what they feel is important… and risk losing followers and sales.

    1. That’s very interesting! I’ve wondered about it from the author side too. Since I’ve seen both lately, an author who is very set on staying neutral and another who is very outspoken about what she stands for. I suppose there are arguments for and against it. I can appreciate when someone values their beliefs over sales. On the other hand there has always been something bothering me just a little bit about someone “using” their fame as a platform for their opinions, even when I share them. I have no logical argument why it bothers me though.

  15. Great post. I’ve thought about this too over the years. I usually try to avoid political posts anywhere. If I see an author (or anyone else for that matter) getting political on social media I just switch off and keep scrolling. It’s hard to not let your opinion of an author effect your opinion of their work too. Sometimes it’s better to not know much about the person behind the words so you can concentrate on the writing.

    1. Definitely true! I learned that lesson a couple years ago when I googled an actor I liked and found out about her political engagement. Couldn’t see her the same way anymore afterwards.

  16. Oh man, I honestly have never thought about this before. I think it’s ok if their views differ from mine, and for me what really matters is how far they take those views. So for example, as a democrat, I’m ok with a favorite author being a republican. What I’m not ok with is if they support separating children from their families at the border, etc.

    1. But that’s the thing, where do you draw the line? Is it okay if an author likes tweets that you strongly disagree with? You know how extreme everything is these days…. (It’s tricky to keep this without examples, since I want this to stay neutral, heh 🙂 )
      And what does that mean for my situation? Do I still publish my review, or do I trash it?

  17. I always try avoiding books and movies that have any sort of political views to them. That may be ignorant of me but politics are being talked about everywhere you look and I would rather keep my books and movies away from that since they are a way for me to escape. I’m okay with authors sharing their opinion even if it’s not something I agree with but there comes a point when it’s too much.

    1. Yeah, I agree. I would not have picked up the previous series, had I known about the political aspect. But then it didn’t seem to matter that much, so I didn’t even remember it til this Twitter thing happened.

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