Sunday, January 11, 2009


Do you want to know what I think is killing the book business? Authors who lie. We all remember the ugly business of James Frey's A Million Little Pieces, which brought forth the wrath of Oprah, and right on the heels of that debacle, Harvard student Kaavya Viswanathan's disgrace when it was discovered that she plagiarized sections of her book How Opal Mehta Got Kissed, Got Wild, and Got a Life.

And we have it happening again. A few weeks ago, we found out that Oprah has been burned again (and yes, I admit I get a little giggle out of it) by an author who claimed he met his wife when he was in a concentration camp during World War II - guess what? It didn't happen! And today, I just read an article on USA Today that the author of Conversations with God just got caught trying to pass off another writer's Christmas memories as his own on his blog. His defense? "Wow, I don't know how that happened, I guess I just read it and kind of internalized it as my own memory." (Amusingly similar to Viswanathan's defense, by the way.)

People, what is going on here? If you have a compelling story, do you have to pretend it was your life? Do you not think it's going to sell otherwise? Have we become such a reality TV-crazed nation that we have to think everything is a peek into someone's home before we'll consider looking at it?

The book business is in enough trouble without greedy or just plain stupid people trying to fool the public into buying their stuff.

Just a Sunday rant from me.

1 comment:

lunaticraft said...

I know, right!? I don't understand why, if it's all made up, they don't just publish it as fiction. The fiction label is not going to make it any less of a good story, and then it's not like they're claiming it was their life when it wasn't!