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BTT: So, Tell Me About Yourself.

July 14, 2011

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There are so many crappy biographies … would you rather read a poorly written biography of a fascinating life, OR an exquisitely well-written, wonderful read of one of a not-so-interesting life?

Well, goodness, obviously, I’d rather read a fabulously written account of a very interesting life! I’m not a  terribly big biography or memoir gal, but given the choice between such “options”, I suppose that I would have to side with a perfectly painted story of absolutely nothing than an atrocious account of something otherwise interesting.

Generally, I’m of the thought that those who can, write. Those who can’t, probably shouldn’t.

I usually cringe at the thought of celebrity auto-bios, the famemoirs, as they’re not written by “writers” but, rather, by people who think that their lives, themselves, will tell a story. Oh, yes, I’m talking to you, Hollywood.

Now, on the flip side, does that mean that most of my favorite writers do not have terribly interesting personal lives and, thus, find it more interesting and fulfilling to write about nonexistent people through fiction? Meh, I don’t know if that’s the case. What I do know is that my favorite writers tend to work themselves into fiction as opposed to writing plain old text, specifically about themselves.

Gosh, this is snobby, but I really just don’t like biographies, autobiographies or anything resembling either one.

Forgive me my stuck-up trespasses and I’ll pretend I don’t see that “book” by and about Nicole Richie in your hands.

14 Comments leave one →
  1. July 14, 2011 8:40 am

    Loving your answer. Quite similar to my opinions (except that you are a better writter!)

  2. July 14, 2011 8:58 am

    Every tome I see that Nicole Richie book I think it can’t possibly be her because just can’t imagine that she would write a book. It throws me every single time. Of course the book is probably fabulous and we are missing out by being such book snobs.

  3. July 14, 2011 9:02 am

    I have to agree with the celebrities. I don’t have any interest in reading about their lives and tales of crazy! My BTT answer, if you are interested.

  4. July 14, 2011 10:27 am

    I feel pretty much the same way. Why put up with poor writing, whatever the genre or subject? And who’s Nicole Richie?

  5. July 14, 2011 10:42 am

    I hope you’re not lumping biographies of historical or literary figures into all this. I’ve read so many good biographies (by historians who are also writers) about people like George Washington, J.D. Salinger, Margaret Mitchell, Winston Churchill, etc. These are well-researched, well-written accounts of the lives of significant people. I understand your disdain for the pseudo autobiographies of celebrities like Nicole Richie, but to me, that is a completely different thing.
    I also think that with a memoir, the subject matter is more important than the writer. For example, I’m currently reading a memoir by Tom Grimes. I don’t really care about Tom Grimes and haven’t read any of his novels, but I’m reading the memoir to see what it’s like to write a novel and go through the publishing process, etc. Memoirs aren’t really about the people writing them, but about the writer’s circumstances, to which many people can usually relate.
    I guess I’m just saying that it’s a little unfair to group real biographies or well-written memoirs in with the ghost-written celebrity books. It’s like grouping cheap romance novels in with works of literature. They all may have their audiences and I don’t begrudge people who like those genres, but that doesn’t mean they are adding anything significant or enduring to the world’s body of knowledge.

    • July 14, 2011 10:51 am

      Haha, I think that it might be a selfish move on my part as I don’t think “well-written” is something I attach to non-fiction very often. Strange, I know, but it just doesn’t seem that the two go hand in hand!

  6. July 14, 2011 11:10 am

    Did not consider celebrities in my response, who would. Biographies are books about people who impacted the world for the best and makes us wonder how.

    • July 14, 2011 12:39 pm

      I guess I was the only one who took this to mean badly written about interesting lives as a thought about celebrities. ;O) As a whole, I’m not a big fan of biographies, even of people I LIKE. Think I might be the odd one out on this one!

  7. July 14, 2011 1:05 pm

    I don’t like biographies either, and would rather read a fascinating account of a boring life, than a boring account of a fascinating life. It all has to do with the writing. It can really make or break the book for me. When it’s just so-so, I can deal, but when it’s terrible, I can get really angry and maladjusted. I guess sometimes I can be a priss for good writing, it seems!

  8. July 14, 2011 1:36 pm

    I have to say that while I tend to hate celeb bios, I *love* looking at pictures of them – their clothes, where they live, what they look like without make-up (heh), etc.!

  9. July 14, 2011 11:53 pm

    I cringe at celebrity bios too. If publishers would stop publishing books by celebs for at least two years, there would be a huge platform for great books by real authors.

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