This week’s Weekly Geeks topic is about seeking out information about authors (i.e. their inspirations, their blogs, author interviews, etc.). I must say that for me this depends on the author. In the case of some of my favorite modern authors, the answer is no, I don’t go digging for information about them. Now, if they happen to be speaking at my local bookstore, I’ll be right there in a snap. If they happen to be on a morning news program when I’m watching anyway, then I’m all ears. If I happen to come across an article or interview in my internet browsing then I’ll take the time to read it. So there you have it. I leave it all to chance.
That is, with one exception. I do on occasion intentionally visit Neil Gaiman’s online journal. After I read several of his novels I sort of got the idea that he might be extraterrestrial. So I read his blog and it humanizes him. As he goes on about his travels, his family, his animals, I am reassured that he lives, breathes and walks among us.
Many of my favorite authors are, well, dead, so no need for an explanation on why I don’t read their blogs. I do however, go out of my way to learn more about their lives. In the case of historical fiction it’s important to understand the work in the context of the author’s time. What may be extremely commonplace today could have been way outside of the box during the time that the book was published. A good example of this is The Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Anne Bronte. Bronte gives rise to a number of social issues within this novel that may seem very “so what” in this day and age but at the time (1848) it was very forward-thinking. Bronte confronts conceptions of marriage, separation, the roles/stations of women, and the raising/education of children. (You can read my complete review HERE.) Understanding the social climate of the era is also important in understanding the characters of the novel that I just finished this weekend, Tess of the D’Urbervilles. (Come back tomorrow to read my review of that one!) These are just two examples, but the same is true of so many historical novels.
In conclusion, I seek out information about authors when that information becomes essential to understanding the context of the novel and it’s historical importance.