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February 05, 2009


Martha Bee

Oh, how I *hope* I am offfended. I love an offensive book.

Actually, the only time I've ever been offended by a book is one with lame writing and editing--I get how this happens, but it still raises my dander. By that standard, a Shannon Hale book could never offend me.

Hmmm. Once, I got offended by a nicely written hardback printed on cheap paper. Shame on you, publisher! We notice corner-cutting!


I can't be the first one, can I? At least I don't think I'm the fifth. I don't like the number five.

I don't think I've ever been really offended by a book. I'm still in school, so I haven't actually read that many books. If anything offends me, it's lies, but then I pity the author because (s)he usually doesn't realize (s)he's telling lies and that's kind of sad.

I love your books and your blog. Enna Burning's my favorite. Absolutely.


Oh how I would love a new book of yours to spend an afternoon with! I hope mine is the lucky number.


I get offended when I read a "scholarly" book and the author has such a strong bias against something that he/she completely erodes his/her argument. Other than that, which is more frustrating than offensive (unless the bias is against me as reader in some way), I cannot think of an instance when I was offended by anything I read.

My favorite books of yours are Austenland and Enna Burning :-) But all of yours are wonderful!

Jas fr Aus

I'm not sure I've ever really been offended whilst reading... if I ever put down a book, it was because I did't enjoy the story/writing style, not because I was offended! the "line", in my opinion, is difficult to cross in the world of fiction! in fact, if I had to pick something that "ticked me off", it would have to be an author's unwillingness to toe the ostensible line - a story that pushes boundaries is always intersting.
anyway, can't wait for the actor and the housewife! I'm sure my delight for another shannon hale novel will far surpass any potential offence.


I made the mistake of reading a "dime store" romance novel once and didn't finish it--too much gratuitous sex that was there (in my opinion) and didn't add at all to the plot. If it has a place in the book for a reason I'll give it a go, but if it's flagrant, I would rather not. Thanks!


I had heard that people got offended by one or some of your books I was absolutely shocked. I have loved all your books, but Austenland is when I knew you were a woman after my own heart. Very excited to read The Actor and The Housewife.

Serena (Savvy Verse & Wit

I really would love to read this book and the cover is fantastic! I love the susie homemaker and the tuxedo clad man!

What would turn me off is a reader? Hmm,I really don't know. It hasn't happened yet. Though one thing that has made me uncomfortable was reading Haunted by Palaniak and his descriptions of terrible things that happen in that book are disturbing to say the least. But I kept reading.


I second that! I am especially offended by cheap bindings that break after a few uses (can you tell I'm a librarian?)
Goose Girl stole my heart
Your words, to me, they sparkle
Dean, pick number 8!

Jas fr Aus

* didn't
* interesting
(sorry, had to correct myself. I hate typos! haha)


I am so excited for a new Shannon Hale book!

I think the most offensive thing an author can do is to try to keep his/her book so clean and so inoffensive that nothing rings true. Life is messy and people make mistakes. I've read some books where the happy ending is so obvious from the beginning that I feel like I've wasted my time by reading it. Perfect, inoffensive lives are not interesting. Problems, obstacles, setbacks, and tough choices are interesting.

One thing I love about the Bayern series is that, even though it is obviously fantasy, the characters seem real. They have fears and doubts; they sometimes make poor decisions. Of course, things work out eventually, but the way things work out is not necessarily obvious--just like in "real life" things usually work out for the best, but you can't always see that from the beginning.


Poor editing is a big turn-off.

I'm slow to take offense to things. There are some thematic elements I stay away from, but that's usually based on principle rather than offense... but, in general, I am really put off by rapid progression of events (melodrama). Though its 400 years past (and the time is entirely different), Romeo and Juliet irks me, as does Rebel Without a Cause (film). Such quick happenings, especially falling in love, puts me off massively.

Me, too, Margaret! Enna's my favorite.


I want that apron. I got some pearls for Christmas that will go nicely. Congratulations on the ARCs going out!

There are probably many things that "should" offend me, but really the only thing I find consistently offensive in a book is inconsistency in characters. When a character does/says something that is completely incompatible with how they've been written to that point. I realize that real people are often unpredictable, but that's not what I'm talking about. I know it when I read it and it usually solicits a big groan.


Pick me! Pick me!
I'm a big fan.

I can't recall right now if a book has ever offended me. Usually if it does, it is the language. I always question why people have to use such sordid language to get their point across.


I'm not sure that I've ever been offended by the content, per se. I think I'm pretty good at taking things in context. I think I'm more likely to be offended by reviews about books where I feel the reviewer has completely missed something relevant and/or is taking the part out of context. I'm also extremely offended by adults who consider a YA book to be inappropriate for teens. Grr. One of my biggest pet peeves.

I suppose the only way I'm going to be offended by a book is if I feel that it's an insult to the readers. But then it's not so much the book that the author who has offended me by not trying his or her hardest and thinking that's okay.

And I agree with Elise: if it's got a point, I'm going to be more okay with it than if it doesn't. Though I guess with such books where I feel things are added for shock value or just because, I think I'm more likely to be offended on the behalf of the entire human race and how can such disrespect be shown.

Yeah. So there's my ramble for the day. :-)


I am really looking forward to reading this book Shannon! You have piqued my interest. I have to say that I think when you say many readers will be offended, you mean your LDS followers (of which I am). And I also expect-- from what you have posted previously--that the offense will happen because no one wants to admit that married women can have crushes on other men! Unfortunately that is a taboo topic amongst us, and I think that by not acknowledging the fact that it could happen sometime is a disservice to many young (and possibly not-so-young) wives. How one ACTS upon such feelings is the crux of the issue. I remember reading "The Bean Trees" by Barbara Kingsolver and cheering inside that Taylor and Estevan do not end up in bed together. She validated the idea that a person can be attracted to another person (committed or not) and not have to consummate those stirrings. And what does a person DO with those unfulfilled notions? Hopefully A & H will offer up some interesting perspective on this issue.
As for what offends me in a book, I would have to say gratuitous profanity and anything that seems blasphemous (The Red Tent really bothered me. Abraham's reputation just went up in smoke before my very eyes).

Mrs. Mordecai

I don't like "icky" stuff like sex, violence, or language that is completely gratuitous and adds nothing to the story. And if it's too graphic, then I don't even care how much it adds to the story, it makes me squeamish. I've even been known to just shut a book and stop reading it.

I can hardly imagine you going that far, though. Thanks.

Jennifer Leffler

I would love to win this book. The thing that offends me in a book is vulgarity.

Sarah L.

I don't know that offended is the right word. Sometimes I start to read a book and I have to stop, because I want to find the portion of my brain storing the memory of that book and scrub it out with steel wool. This is usually because of subject matter that I find personally painful because of my own personal experiences. However, some authors can handle subject matter that I would normally find painful in a way that makes me think about my pain and grow as a person.

I think the thing that bothers me is when authors portray behavior that I find morally reprehensible as okay, or even laudable in some way. I'm willing to concede that there may be such a thing as situational morality in some cases; sometimes stealing, lying, etc. can be justifiable, if not exemplary. But on some things I'm not willing to concede any shades of gray.


I've been offended by books--but I think that it's more about me staying away from books that I know will offend me than having those sorts of books censored.

I like my books clean. But there are good books that aren't squeaky clean too.

Excited for this! Really excited!


I rarely quit on a book. The writing has to be horrible, the sex embarrassing, or I have to seriously dislike the main character. If I feel betrayed by a murderous, insane secondary character, I can forgive them. But no murderous, insane protagonists please. Ick.

cheryl v

I can't wait for this and your Bayern book this year!! Since I have all of the other ones now... I can't wait to get some new ones.
I don't know that I have been 'offended' by a book but I have been turned off by the content in a book. I started to read the Outlander series after it was recommended by a lot of people and I just didn't enjoy reading it because of a lot of the content and situations. I guess that is the closest I have ever come.

Tia Juana

Nothing like a free book to bring me out of the comment closet. I have only recently (within the last 6 months) become familiar with your works and I am a big fan - reading all of the Bayern books, Princess Academy, and 1000 days. I just finished reading Rapunzel's Revenge with my 6 year old daughter last week and she was more than pleased with the adventure! I left it on the counter to return to the library and before I could get it in the car (like a week and a half later, much like your getting to the post office) both my 10 year old boy and 14 year old boy had enjoyed it;s pages. Thus said, I am excited to read this, your latest and most different works.

Hum, what offends me..... I think the thing that curls my toes most is a book that throws in a sex scene just for talk and ratings - same thingt that annoys me with movies. Sex is a natural human expression of love and can be tastefully portrayed with its intended message portrayed without becoming all trampy. I respect the fact that it can take great talent to write such a scenes, but I don't believe it is the sort of thing that an author is going to change the world with writing. In most such cases, less is more and I believe, and the unwritten but implied message with often be more telling to the reader.

I hope Dean likes number 16....

your newest loyal fan

Marcus Aurelius

I was offended by this post!

Good day, madam!

(And by *this* post, I mean the one I just posted. Yeah, I'm pretty weird that way.)


Hmm...have I ever been really offended, or my internal reader been turned off....
When I was in highschool, I wasn't able to take all the swearing that occurred in Grapes of Wrath. I think it was just the timing of it all. Someday I'd like to try again.
What really irritates me now is when the Publisher will market something that is not necessarily appropriate for the YA audience, to the YA audience.
Case in point: I really loved and enjoyed Stardust, but I really had a hard time recommending it for various reasons. Yet, I found it in the YA section of the library.
Do authors have a say in who their books are marketed to? Just curious.


I will read all of most every book I start, if parts of it are too offensive I will try and skip those parts, but if there are too many parts, I guess I just don't get too much out of the book. I don't think I get offended too easily though!


Sure, there are books that have made me squirm. I can only recall one specific title that I would call offensive to the point where I stopped reading it in the middle (gasp!) and considered throwing it in the trash (bigger gasp!). I think there was one that had so much superfluous cursing in the first few pages that I couldn't finish the first chapter.

I doubt your book will have the same effect as those. Goose Girl is one of my favorites. I'm reading Enna Burning now, and have Austenland on my to-read list. Your new book will be added to the list, too.

Chelsey Gruber

I would *love* to win your book!! Nothing really offends me except terrible writing... and your writing is wonderful, Shannon, so I already know I won't be offended. :)


I can't wait to read this book!

The only thing that can really get me to toss out a book is continuous vulgar vocabulary ... the type that causes me to wonder if the author has a vocabulary past explicit words. Sorry, but I doubt this book will even come close to "toss out" status :)

I do love a good scandalous book, so I love when a book can bring fun and non-explicit drama!


Sometimes I find books offensive if the protagonist is evil (like Apryl said in a previous comment) or if it has too much sex or violence. You know what though, if I find it offensive, I stop reading it. It's horribly presumptuous and just plain old dumb to try to prevent other people from reading a book just because you were offended by it. People are just so silly sometimes.


ooh, pick me! pick me! :)

as a librarian, i must say that i cannot remember if i've ever really been offended by a book. maybe turned off, irritated, annoyed, bored, etc., but if i don't like it, then it's just not for me. but i'm not necessarily offended by it.

your books, on the other hand, ALWAYS make me happy!


I was offended while reading a well-known Christian (and I am one) nonfiction book that shall remain nameless which likened the "submission" of a wife to her husband to the submission of a daughter to her father. Umm...hello? That's not exactly healthy. Otherwise, I'm not easily offended by books, particularly fiction--more like "put-off," knowing that I wouldn't have made that choice in language, plot, charaterization, etc, and sometimes sad that the author felt they had to add such things to their book because they think their readers expect it or because they've come to expect it in their own reading.

Can't wait to read this new book--it will go straight to my reading list:)


I hated one the books that was required reading for a college English class. I took the opportunity to get 'get back' at her with my next assignment. I wrote a paper with material that I thought she might not enjoy to see if she would grade based on the writing or the subject matter. The grade - in red ink on top of my paper: "Sexist! C"


So excited about a new book by you! I just gave one of my daughters all your Bayern books for christmas. She is quickly becoming a fan.

I dislike gratuitous sex, violence and language in a book. I don't know if I've been offended by a book but I do know that I've skipped parts of books that were too descriptive and graphic on the sex, violence or language front.


I have not yet been offended by book content, I have been disturbed before, but I think those are two entirely different things. It does irritate me when parents will let their children read ‘The Lord of the Rings’ and ‘The Chronicles of Narnia’, but not ‘Harry Potter’, I feel that is a little unfair. It also annoys me when an author makes it hard to tell which gender the main character is. You did a great job with ‘River Secretes‘, though.


I find very few things in novels offensive enough to completely derail me from reading them. When all the negative things are glorified, made to look far more amazing and awesome and without any consequences --that bothers me. Once, I felt exploited by a teenage problem novel that was a bit too problematic even for me. But I think so many of the best novels in English or any other language would never have been written if the author spent a lot of time worrying about offending other people--so many great social novels were written precisely so that people would get riled up and react in some way.

By the way, I have taken to leaving your books around the house, and my husband has taken to picking them up and getting lost reading them for several hours. We started reading them aloud, and he would get too much into the story and finish the book on his own. They are wonderful books to read aloud.


The only things that tend to offend me are misrepresentations of peoples, cultures, religions, etc. Language if it is really strong and every other word also tends to distract my inner read, though it doesn't offend.


Oh gosh, now that I've had time to think about it more (it takes time when you have kids, I think! haha!), I know EXACTLY what offends me when I read a book: errors. Grammatical errors, spelling errors. ugh, I hate it. I hate it so much I have to correct the mistakes and I've come close to contacting a publisher before. Especially if they are national bestsellers or award winners, books need to be edited properly.


I don't think I've ever been really offended by a book. Usually I can separate a reprehensible character from an author, or at least try to understand why an author would choose to write in a certain way/about a certain subject. (Of course, I haven't read Mein Kampf, so there's always hope for major offensiveness.)

But this book looks great! I love anything by the amazing Shannon Hale.


I haven't really been offended by a book yet, but there have been a few things that really bother me. I really really hate the "F" word in books. They really don't need to use it, and it really drives me crazy that some author's insist using that word is essential to the character. I also don't like explicit sex in books. Authors can do it in a tasteful way without going in to all of the "details". Anyway, I am so excited to read your new book! I am sure it's fabulous!

Susan Adrian

Oh, I'd love one! Thanks for the opportunity.

Carly W.

Oh, I'm so excited! I can't wait to read it, so I hope I'm the lucky person! I love all your books but especially "Austenland" so I'm excited for your next adult novel! Congratulations!

I can't think of anything in particular that makes me upset or angry when I'm reading, but if I'm bored, I'll stop. It's hard for me to slog through 100 boring pages to finally get to the good stuff... that's one of my pet peeves (and probably the reason I haven't finished a lot of "classics"). I've never wanted to burn a book before... I wonder what that would take! :)


I'm much more easily annoyed than offended. One thing in a book that typically causes the "hot potato" effect for me is too much politics. And since I pretty much only read fiction, I mean politics within the confines of the story. Yeah, maybe the king is motivated to do such and such because it will bring him more land or ally certain factions, but I just don't and won't ever enjoy it. Icko. THROW AWAY.

Of course, there are always exceptions. Kate Elliott's Crown of Stars novels were like crack for me, even though the political and "religious heresy" subplots had me alternately rolling my eyes and sighing in annoyance, but as soon as those bits were over and we were back to any plot having to do with Alain (*choir singing*) or Hugh (*ominous chord*), it was like those other parts never happened.

Christy LaLanne

The onlly book I was ever offended was one that I had to read for a class in college. And even then, it was more of my professors interpretation of it that offended me than my own reading of it. It just goes to show how the same book can be completely different to two different people!

p.s. I really hope I get picked!


Oooooh. I'm excited, too!!

I get offended by gratuitous sex or violence - I don't mind reading about it, particularly if it's well written, but I hate when it's been added to a book not for the sake of the story but just for the shock value.

I also really, really hate badly edited copy.


Ooohh!!! I would love to have a copy of that!! Austenland was great and I can't wait for Forest Born!

Natasha @ Maw Books

Oh Shannon! Dear Sweet Shannon who grows zucchini's so fine. Does sucking up increase our chance of winning? Is so let the randomness of Dean pick me! Hmm . . . sure I've been offended in books before. Not like I want to throw it across the room, but enough to sour my mood for it. Usually, it's when a book doesn't need a graphic sex scene but the author throws one in for good measure. Almost, as if at the editors beckoning. Does it do anything for the story? No. Does it sell better? Probably.


My husband runs a book review site and constantly gets free books. I think it's my turn.
I don't really get offended by books because if I don't like it I stop reading. But it was something my husband encountered a lot when he taught English at a University. One student was so offended by language in a war book that she claimed it cheapened her grandfather's war experience. Books are personal and are experiences are personal, they aren't always meant to reflect one another.


Ooh, I'd love to win this one!

I'm pretty hard to offend content-wise, but if an author's all tell and no show, I find that pretty offensive. I'm your reader! I have an imagination! Let's take this journey together!


Yes, some books have offended me, but I would be amazed if yours does. I'm pretty sure it would take more than we're likely to see from you. I can handle adult content matter, as long as it's not pornographic. What tends to offend me most are those books with protagonists who are so depressed and woe-begotten that I just want to hurl the book at the wall. That and really terrible writing. I fear none of this stuff from you. Can't wait to read it! (Please, please, please, please pick my number!!!!!!)

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