Wow, I intended to post something earlier today and then I napped. And napped. And napped. I even intended to blow through the last third of The Solitary Vice today, but again, that nap thing. So, I can't report on The Solitary Vice, but I can toss you all a bone and pose a question.
In Chapter 5, "Between the Lines," Brottman contemplates author biographies. She likens a reader's fascination with the minutiae of his or her favorite author with celebrity gossip and the like. Not in a bad way necessarily since Brottman herself loves a good author biography. She also mentions author memoirs and the pros and cons of those. I realize I'm being vague, but I'm too bleary-eyed to go back and look up passages, so stay with me...
Myself, I hardly ever read author bios. I know I've read a few, mostly short, and almost all of them were in middle or high school in preparation for some paper or project or other. While I enjoy learning about my favorite authors (and some I dislike, too) I generally pick up pieces of information here and there: bits on wikipedia, more reputable sites like publishers and papers, articles, etc. I can't think of a single time when I've sought out an author bio on my own.
On the other hand, I have read quite a few author memoirs: Paul Auster's Hand to Mouth and The Red Notebook, Siri Hustvedt's A Plea for Eros (a book of essays, personal ones), Philip Roth's Patrimony. For some weird reason it never so much as crosses my mind to read a biographical info by anyone other than the author (in which case it would be autobiographical info, I know, couldn't think how to word it just now).
Am I alone in my ignorance of author biographies? Do others of you seek them out? Settle down in a comfy chair to spelunk through your fave author's dirt? I admit, now that I'm thinking about it, it sounds kind of fun. I think I just heard my wishlist groan.