I’ve read this week about two lawsuits currently pending. They both concern the work of authors who have died. And in both cases it’s one part of the family suing another part.
One of the lawsuits concerns the work of John Steinbeck. The other is about Tom Clancy.
What happened to preserving the legacy of authors once they die? So many times lawsuits are filed almost immediately upon the death of an author. I guess this is no different from other types of celebrities who leave their families to fight over large estates. But it’s still a bit disappointing.
I think Robert B. Parker did it best. He left his series in the hands of other authors he knew. Though I’m not sure I’ll ever be able to read a Spenser or Jesse Stone novel written by another author, at least there was no fight when Parker died unexpectedly.
Do you think it immediately becomes all about the money involved once an author dies?
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!
When I quit my job at Half Price Books recently I had a tough choice to make. I could either buy all of the books I wanted before my employee discount was no longer valid or I could just forget about them. I of course chose to buy.
This is the result. There were so many I couldn’t get them all in the picture for the thumbnail. Ha!
Now watch! It’s super quick!
Wait, what? On lying? Lying about what? Well why don’t I just tell you? On lying about what you have and have not read. I saw another blogger post about this recently and then I read a few articles from major publications. There seems to be a number of people who lie about having read certain books.
I may be mistaken, but I think the survey was taken in England. And I also think the books people lie about reading are mostly classics.
This whole thing got me thinking. First, I see no point in saying I’ve read any book I haven’t. And second, which book(s) would I lie about reading? If I were such a person. Hmmmm. I think I’d lie about reading a book if I’d already seen the movie. But I can’t imagine lying about reading some classic I know nothing about. Imagine the conversation.
“Have you read Pride and Prejudice?”
“Yeah! It’s one of my favorites!”
“Oooh. Who’s your favorite character?”
And there’s really no reason to experience this. I know people talk about books they haven’t read, and that’s fine. But saying you’ve read something you haven’t is just weird. And dumb.
Have you ever told someone you’d read a book you actually hadn’t? Which book was it you little liar, you? 😂
So I’m most likely the most literary-minded person at my store, right? I know about books, publishing, and lots of news. But I’m still only one person. And I’m still 24-years-old. I can’t possibly know EVERYTHING.
Well recently a coworker discovered a number of books I’d not heard of. Some books for young readers. I still have no idea what the books are about, but she was quite surprised when I told her I didn’t know whatever books she was asking about. And she already knows I mostly read Mr. R.L. Stine when I was younger, and she still made fun of me. 😟
Have you ever been asked about a classic and knew nothing about it?
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”?
First things first, I haven’t read To Kill a Mockingbird. I know, I know. What have I been doing. But in my defense, I’ve never tried reading all the classics like a lot of other people. I just read what I read when I read it. Also, I just bought the book from Amazon. Ha. Because it is one of those books that I’ll read at some point. I doesn’t have to be next month or next year, but I’ll read it eventually.
But I do know just a little teeny tiny bit about the book. Every person who knows anything about books has heard of Scout and Atticus Finch. But honestly, besides knowing that there’s a legal aspect to the book, I know nothing. So don’t go ruining it for me! Seriously. That’s how you get blocked on WordPress.
So now to the present. Turns out that Harper Lee wrote another book way back in the 50s. Set in the same town as To Kill a Mockingbird and around some of the same characters. Most notably, Scout. This new book is called Go Set a Watchman. Based on what I’ve read from numerous articles, the story follows an older Scout as she returns home to visit her father. That’s about all that I can find at this point. But really, does it matter what the book is about? The book could be about dinosaurs taking over America and ruling the world and people would want to read it. Why? Harper Lee.
The book is set to be released on July 14 of this year. The first printing alone will be two million books. Will you be getting your hands on the new book? I might, if two things happen. First, if I get around to reading To Kill a Mockingbird prior to the release date. And second, if they decide to release it on Kindle. Since we all know how long it took for her first book to make it to eBook format. And because I don’t buy hardcovers.
I’m off to start her first book! Kidding. It’s not here yet. There are dozens of articles noting the new book’s release, but here’s one from The New York Times.
I’m talking about assigned school reading here. Schools down here in Texas mostly assign classics in the classroom, which isn’t bad, but I’d like to see some more variety. I’ve heard of teachers assigning The Hunger Games for class. Like…where the heck was that teacher when I was in school?! I know John Green’s books are assigned. And several others. But my experience in the classroom was with books that were written decades before I was born, and sometimes centuries before.
Let me just make a random list of books I remember reading in school. This isn’t necessarily going to be in any order or by genre or anything. Romeo and Juliet. Does that even count? The Odyssey. Dracula. Jurassic Park. 12 Angry Men. Was that originally a book? The Great Gatsby. Beowulf. I’m just naming whatever I can think of. I’m sleepy. I Have Lived a Thousand Years. Of Mice and Men. That’s all I can come up with. I just sat here rolling my head on my desk in an effort to stay awake. I don’t think that list really fits with my previous assertion that I read a lot of classics in school. Oh well.
I know there are a million more books I was assigned during my time in school, but I only listed out those books for your benefit. I know which book was the best. Dracula. I’ve written about that book several times on here, because it’s quite honestly the only assigned reading book that’s stuck with me. I don’t hardly remember any part of any other book I was forced to read in school. But I remember the Count. I remember Mina. And Lucy. And Harker. Van Helsing. The gypsies. Shapeshifting. The pure evil of it all. And no, I didn’t take a look at the Wikipedia page for the book. I don’t have to. I even know the year it was published by memory. 1897.
I know I liked The Great Gatsby, but I couldn’t tell you hardly anything about the story itself. Oh! We read The Giver in 8th grade. No idea what it was about. I know Jurassic Park pretty well, but that’s a good book while Dracula is iconic. The others…eh.
Now you know the best book I was forced to read in school, what’s yours?
Don’t worry, I’m not going tell you about ten books that have stayed with me. Cause I don’t think I have ten, or five even. But in the name of kinda sorta not really participating in this little Facebook tag that seems to have sprung up out of nowhere, I’m going to talk about it.
I’ve just read an article that states that Facebook has determined the book included the most in responses to the tag is…can you guess it? I could have. Easily. I’ll give you a second to think about it.
Here’s a hint if you’re still thinking. The main characters in the book go to a special kind of school by the name of Hogwarts. The most common response to this particular Facebook tag was the HP series. I think it’s understandable considering who I think is more likely to be on Facebook responding to these kinds of things. Would I have included the series? No. I think the movies are great and the books are likely a bit better, but have they stayed with me? I don’t think so. They’ll ultimately just be really great books that I think generations upon generations will continue to read. But I’ll just be reading through them once.
The rest of the top 20 on the list compiled by Facebook is about what you’d expect. Here it is:
1. Harry Potter series – J.K. Rowling – 21.08%
2. To Kill a Mockingbird – Harper Lee – 14.48%
3. The Lord of the Rings – JRR Tolkien – 13.86%
4. The Hobbit – JRR Tolkien – 7.48%
5. Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen – 7.28%
6. The Holy Bible – 7.21%
7. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy – Douglas Adams 5.97%
8. The Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins – 5.82%
9. The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger – 5.70%
10. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald – 5.61%
11. 1984 by George Orwell – 5.37%
12. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott – 5.26%
13. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte – 5.23%
14. The Stand by Stephen King – 5.11%
15. Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell – 4.95%
16. A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle – 4.38%
17. The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood – 4.27%
18. The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis – 4.05%
19. The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho – 4.01%
20. Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery – 3.95%
Stephen King is perhaps the only mild surprise if you ask me, but eh I’m no expert. What do you think of the books people are saying have stayed with them? I know it’s completely subjective, but we all have opinions. If you’re wondering, my entire list would consist of The Diary of a Young Girl and The Hunger Games. No more. Dracula would be very close to being included.
Besides letting me know what you think about the top 20 responses, let me know why particular books have stayed with you, or if you’ve written this post link to it in the comments and I’ll take a look at your picks.
I snagged this list from here.