Booking Through Worse

btt2Today’s Booking Through Thursday question is: Which is worse: Finding a book you love and then hating everything else you try by that author, or reading a completely disappointing book by an author that you love?

My first thought that I would be more disappointed by an unlikable book by an author I love … but then as I continued thinking about it. One “bad” book by an author isn’t necessarily the end of the world, particularly if that book is somehow categorically different than the rest of the writer’s books that you love. Perhaps you’ve read this person’s fiction. Well, it shouldn’t be a huge deal to somewhat dislike his/her nonfiction, because that’s quite different. Or, if the author in question writes literary fiction, and you love it. But then you discover that this author also writes science fiction. With a pen name. Disappointing, yes, but I don’t think it’s that big of a deal if the book you dislike falls into a different, avoidable, category of work. If this happens, you’re simply learning something else about what you like — and it may not be too hard to avoid another such disappointment.

But, finding a book you love, getting all excited about having found a new great author, and then disliking everything else you read by said author? Pretty disappointing.

So, I guess my answer is, a disappointing book by a favorite author is worse, unless that book is categorically different from the author’s other books you’ve read and enjoyed. Otherwise, a one-hit wonder author is pretty disappointing.

What do you think?

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7 responses to “Booking Through Worse

  1. I love the term ‘one-hit wonder author’! That is great!

  2. I agree, a disappointing book by a favorite author is worse!

  3. I thought Henry Roth’s “Call It Sleep” was great. I looked into finding more books by him and discovered that he subsequently had writer’s block for SIXTY YEARS! At age 73 he finally started writing again but the books weren’t very good. I guess he was sort of the epitome of the one hit wonder!

  4. What matters to me is whether I’ll venture into another book of a new author. It’s about building the credit. I do believe in second chances. 🙂

    I’m extra cautious about reading another if the author is not good in my book. At least I wouldn’t buy it but borrow it.

  5. I can get over one disappointing book by an author than getting excited over a book/author and finding out I hate the rest of their work.

  6. All of this is incredibly sobering. Authors want to take risks and to grow; they also don’t want to disappoint those who have shown faith in them in the past. But one bad book by an author does indeed make it hard to rush out into that author’s embrace once again.

    • Ah, but did you read my second-to-last paragraph fully, Beth? I made sure to exclude (at least for me) from my statement books that are very different from the author’s other books I’ve read. I do want the authors I read to take risks and grow (Without the risks, where’s the growth? Without the growth, well, that’s just boring after awhile). Our favorite authors? How could we not allow them the space they need to grow and flourish?

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