With anticipation building for the film version of Ender's Game, I have been thinking a great deal about the book and my complicated feelings about the author, Orson Scott Card. It can be very difficult sometimes to separate an author's personal life from their work, and quite frankly, some readers are better at doing this than others.
Personally, I have always struggled with this issue. I refused to read Ernest Hemingway for years, strictly based on the fact that he was a drunken, misogynist. Eventually I caved and read The Sun Also Rises, and ultimately, enjoyed the book - despite my misgivings about Hemingway's questionable personal choices while he was alive.
Which brings us back, in a way, to Ender's Game. The author of the book is a well-documented activist against LGBTQ equality. You can read more about it here if you want to but fair warning, he says some pretty awful, damaging stuff that could possibly be a trigger for some people or just be very upsetting for others: http://bit.ly/132VuA9
His level of activism goes beyond my previously mentioned issues with Hemingway. For me, I plan on skipping Ender's Game for many reasons but mostly because I will not spend any of my personal money that will eventually end up in the hands of someone so actively pursuing hateful goals and bigoted policies.
Now where does this fit with my role as a reader's advisor. I have put a lot of thought into this because, of course, I am librarian. It is my duty to purchase books that my community is interested in and those books still include the Ender series, which Card is still actively writing. I continue to purchase his books for the collection in the same way that I purchased Ann Coulter audiobooks when I used to be in charge of an audiobook collection. My views do not supersede the needs and wants of my community. When someone asks me for the book specifically, I absolutely never throw in my personal views, in the same way that I would never comment on a patron's decision to read the newest James Patterson. In these cases, it's none of my business what people read. I'm just happy they're reading!
That said, am I rushing to throw a copy of Ender's Game into every patron's hand who asks me for a Science Fiction recommendation? Of course not. There are a wide array of books similar to EG and of truly great quality. Frankly, Ender's Game has never been my go-to recommendation for people looking for Science Fiction reads. Not only am I in charge of the Science Fiction & Fantasy collection at my library but I actively read in the genre. So I have a decent stash of go-to recommendations for books that fall into a similar category as Ender's Game. I also think that as Card's views become more common knowledge, there may be a need for patrons who liked Ender's Game but no longer want to read the series.
Therefore I have been working on a list of Alternatives to Ender's Game or rather, a list of read alikes for the book. I asked for suggestions from people on both Facebook and Twitter and as usual, the Internet was extremely helpful - especially with the YA books. So a HUGE thank you for everyone who added a title to the list. You guys are the best. Seriously.
I'll be making a display in the library but of course, it will be marketed as a read alikes display. I'm hoping it will be popular for various reasons but mostly because I understand that a lot of people really love the book. I really loved The Sun Also Rises...I get it and I'm not here to judge their reasoning. And as we librarians know, when you love one book, you can find a lot of books with similar qualities that you may love just as much - if not more!
You can view the list here on LibraryThing: http://bit.ly/17iCsXB
And if you have a title that you would like me to add to the list, please leave a comment! I'll add it asap.