Writers Who Annoy Me and Why

Because I’m such an important person, I am sure all of these individuals will be devastated to learn they have earned my ire. But earned it they have, and if I explain why, perhaps they will change!

Irritating author Jonathan Franzen.


Jonathan Franzen, how do you annoy me? Let me count the ways.

1. You snubbed Oprah’s Book Club because you didn’t want to catch lady cooties.

2. You fretted that e-publishing is “corroding values.” No doubt people made similar arguments about the printing press.

3. You snarked on Edith Wharton’s looks. What the hell is wrong with you?

4. You wrote a piece in the New Yorker about David Foster Wallace that basically said, “Hey, I knew this guy, and you wouldn’t have liked him,” which was tacky, and blamed him for his suicide, which goes to show you know nothing about depression.

5. You are horrible at writing about sex.

I will say I do appreciate your having written about how those people in Cyprus hunt songbirds to the point of extinction. That was really sad and I’m glad you drew attention to it.

V.S. Naipaul thinks he is better than every woman writer ever, including Jane Austen. Salman Rushdie doesn’t like him. A plague on both their houses, I say, because

Salman Rushdie signed the petition saying we should just forget about how Roman Polanski raped a child, because hey, that was a long time ago!, and hasn’t he suffered enough, living in Europe and making acclaimed movies? I expect people in Hollywood to be morons, but I would have thought better of Mr. Rushdie.

Neil Gaiman said that pirating e-books is just fine, because it helps people find favorite authors. That’s fine for him, but not so great for the editors, proofreaders, and others at publishing houses who help bring authors’ work to market, and whose companies need to be profitable or else they’ll lose their jobs. Also, his girlfriend seems like a jerk.

A few years ago, Alice Hoffman complained on Twitter about Roberta Silman’s review of her novel. Ms. Hoffman tweeted, “Now any idiot can be a critic”¦ So who is Roberta Silman?” Ms. Silman began publishing short stories in the New Yorker in 1973, penned several novels, and won a long list of prestigious literary awards. Ms. Hoffman went on to tweet the reviewer’s phone number and email, saying, “Tell her what u think of snarky critics.” Later Hoffman issued a weak apology, saying she was “sorry if she offended anyone.”

David Sedaris is very funny and talented, but I’m afraid he’s kind of a dick. I have no trouble with him making stuff up and presenting it as truth. I do have a problem with him creating caricatures of people of short stature and the mentally ill for laughs, and getting away with it only because he’s presenting them as nonfiction.

Now, no doubt all of these people have many great qualities in real life, so I’m only annoyed with them. I don’t hate them or anything. I’ll probably do a post on writers who amaze me, just to keep things balanced out!

By Bryn Donovan

Romance writer, poet, quilter, and dog cuddler.

8 replies on “Writers Who Annoy Me and Why”

I think you mischaracterized what Gaiman said. He asked the crowd how many people had found their favorite author from a book that was lent to them and then went on to purchase many other books by that author. The implication is that piracy does not actually equal lost sales necessarily.

While piracy may or may not result in lost sales for the author in the long term if the author publishes several books (many are not so lucky), it does hurt publishers in the short term, and decisions about layoffs can be made as a result of just one or two soft quarters.

On the author side of things, I’ve known several romance and erotica publishers who e-publish a lot and depend on their small royalty checks every quarter because their families are just scraping by. When their stuff shows up on a pirated site, they’re furious, and I’m furious for them. I feel Gaiman was only considering how piracy affected him personally.

But hey–if you think I’m being too critical of Gaiman, we can agree to disagree. Thanks for commenting!

I saw Rushdie at the midnight book release of the Deathly Hallows trying his darnedest to look like he had just casually shown up to the giant party on his way home and decided to get in line for a book. As this greatly amused me I’m torn, but I can’t side with rapists so I ultimately agree with you.

Oh goodness, I only know two of those authors (Gaiman and Rushdie), there are only vague bells, at best, ringing for the others. Will say that I have a lot of love for Gaiman, but yeah, not a good position on piracy. Always surprises me when authors/musicians waffle on about how “great” piracy is.

I’m very fond of Gaiman too, but yes that is a shit stance to take on piracy. I can understand the arguments made against over zealous DRM procedures and viewing pirated copies as lost sales, but piracy is ok because it helps get someone popular? No, not so much. Still I like that he regularly answers asks on his tumblr and shares so much about his process.

As for Amanda Palmer, I’m never quite sure what to make of her. “Map of Tasmania” is an awesome song, I kinda like The Dresden Dolls and she is generally pretty confident which I like, but she’s also a shock artist, and I’m not overly fond of them in general terms.

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