Goodreads has made the decision to delete reviews and shelving that it feels “attack” authors. This includes such shelving as “due-to-author” (this is now an attack apparently). They claim this is because they want reviews to focus on the book, not the author for whatever reason (though, for some reason that doesn’t apply to shelves like “author-is-awesome”).
Of course, this has nothing to do with Goodreads's recent acquisition by Amazon, I’m sure.
At Fangs we only occasionally (often because we don’t know about an author’s various bad behaviours until after we’ve reviewed them) refer to the author when we deem it relevant (often because of actual flaunted bigotry on the author’s part) nor do we generally shelve books on goodreads (at all, because we’re far too lazy to do so) but we oppose this terrible and privileged policy change
This whole idea that the author doesn’t matter is something we have discussed before. Author identity matters, author experience matters, author authenticity matters. Each of these things add context to the books produced, adds a level of depth and a level of knowledge; the context of a book can add considerably to that book.
It also matters when it comes to bigotry. There are a lot of people who were and are unaware of Orson Scott Card’s bigotry. It is grossly ridiculous to claim the author’s giving money to hate groups and actively campaigning to have gay people imprisoned is somehow irrelevant to buying his books. That is ridiculous. It is not just ridiculous, it’s grossly offensive and obscenely privileged to discard these concerns as unimportant and speaks volumes about the priorities of those who try to do so.
And that is hardly an isolated issue. While Save the Pearls is horrendously racist without knowing anything about the author, the scandal around it is added to by Victoria Foyt’s own added excuses, explanations, anecdotes and attacks that add considerably more meat to her bigotry.
Similarly, Out is virulently homophobic – but far more so when you realise how much Laure Preble is schilling her book as pro-gay and trying to use PFLAG advocacy as a marketing tool.
The author’s behaviour matters. It adds context to the content of the book. It underscores the bigotry of not just the writing but the real world consequences of empowering bigotry – of giving bigots not just more money but a greater voice with which to spread their bigotry. Readers have a vested interest in knowing that they're dropping money on, say, John Ringo “Scalzi’s only popular because he panders to women and gay people, not REAL fans” and decide whether they want to support that.