This is a thought born of many small interactions. First, was a Facebook post from a longtime blogger friend (who’s stopped blogging). She’s been an Orson Scott Card fan for years, and her bit about his latest book included this: disappointing.
Then Tom Wolfe’s latest, Back to Blood came out, and when I mentioned to Hubby that it did, he (a long-time fan) said that he really didn’t have much interest in it.
And finally, I’ve been torn about reading Casual Vacancy. Do I want to? I’ve heard both good and bad about it, but how much do I really like Rowling as an author? Enough to read everything she’s written?
Which got me to wondering: how long do you give an author you love before you bail on them? Is there someone you like enough to forgive even their worst books? And if they start churning out “bad” books (or at least ones that you don’t like), how long do you give them before you completely bail, and never pick up another book by them again?
I don’t have any answers. There’s actually very few authors (well, maybe not that few, and all of them are YA) whose entire work I have read. And of those, so far, I’m not inclined to bail on them. But there are some whose first book I loved and second I hated and I never bothered to pick up the third.
So, what about you? How long do you give an author, especially one you’ve really loved in the past, before you say, “No more”?
8 thoughts on “Sunday Salon: When Do You Give Up On an Author?”
Once I start feeling like reading the book is a chore, then I stop. Or if the book's style gets in the way of delivering content, I stop. Or if the content robs me of peace and doesn't serve to inform or educate or invite me to compassion, I stop. I bailed on Louise Erdrich when her books got very convoluted. I felt like she was trying too hard to include characters that represented diversity and didn't focus on the NA experience that informed her earlier novels. And I love her early novels Love Medicine and Tracks. Love them, reread them. But she got weird.
I guess it's sort of like music. I seldom like everything a band puts out, but I enjoy the stuff I do enjoy. Casual Vacancy was not a great experience for me, but it doesn't diminish my past and mostly likely future repeat enjoyment of the Potter books. I definitely don't like everything from OSC, never have, so maybe I don't feel like I'm bailing on an author or that it's a disappointment if they don't hit a home run for me every time. Good thoughts though. Good to think about.
I suppose I should have also asked, do you ever go back to them to give them another try? Are you ever going to go back to Louise Erdrich, Karen, or have you given up on her completely?
I keep trying OSC on and off again, just to see, sometimes with more success than others. I guess I'm on the fence with some authors: not willing to read everything, but also not willing to give up on them completely.
I like your band analogy, Kellie, though. That's a good one.
I'm not finished with Casual Vacancy, but I like it so far. I think it's unfair to authors to expect them to stay the same, so I'm pretty forgiving of the changes they make. I'm always willing to give an author a try, but allow myself the chance to put a book down if it just doesn't work out.
In the end, I'm a pretty loyal reader. I don't stay the same, so I give them some leeway.
That's a good point, Becky. No one stays the same, after all.
I don't often give up on an author but I also realize just because I like or even love an author doesn't mean I will like everything they write. The only author I can think of is Patricia Cornwell. I read a ton of her books but after a point they began to lose me so its very rare that I try to read any of her books. I tried Casual Vacancy and I got thru chapter 4 before I gave up. I didn't care one whit about any of the characters. They all seemed mean and gossipy and I didn't find anything engaging in them or the storyline. If she writes another though I'll give it a chance. I have to put down at least 3-4 books in a row before I stop trying an author's works.
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It really depends on how much I have enjoyed the earlier books. I tend to be loyal to an author, but there are a couple of things that will make me drop them immediately.
Don't kill off a favorite character! (I still expect Dumbledore to be alive. I don't care what actually happened.)
In my adult reading, any incidents of infidelity in the main characters will lose me as a reader. I'm not shy about letting the author know about it either.
I have given up on one adult author because the editing is so terrible in her books. It's strange because one series she writes seems to be okay, but the others are almost impossible to read.