Blog Hop: Fool Me Once…

book-blogger-hop-finalToday’s Book Blogger Hop question is: If you read a book you ended up hating, would you stay away from future books by that author, or would you give them a second chance?

This would probably depend on why I hated a book.  If it was something that seemed fundamental to the writer (bad writing, a tendency towards dysfunctional relationships…) I’d be more likely to stay away.  An author who writes stilted dialogue is likely to have that persist across books.  On the other hand, if the issue seems to be specific to that book (irritating main character, disappointing ending…) I’d be more likely to try again.

There are authors I love who have also written books that I hated–or at least, strongly disliked.  Cynthia Voigt’s A Solitary Blue is one of the most beautifully written books I’ve ever read, and yet I dropped her Jackaroo halfway through.  Catherynne Valente’s Fairyland series is THE best series I’ve found in the last ten (fifteen?) years, and yet I haven’t much liked anything else I’ve tried from her.  I love Marissa Meyer’s Lunar Chronicles, and was hideously disappointed by Heartless.  In all these cases, I read the book I liked first, which then led me on to the less satisfying ones–but they’re clear evidence that one bad book doesn’t make really good books impossible.

So perhaps that means I ought to give disappointing authors another chance.  But that has been known to burn me!  I’ve read three books by E. D. Baker, and all three had exactly the same problem (shallow characters with lack of emotional life).  I should have learned my lesson after The Frog Princess, but The Wide-Awake Princess and A Question of Magic had such intriguing premises!!  But never again.  And Meg Cabot has gone forever on my black list after the Abandon Trilogy (well, her books–she’s probably perfectly nice).

I guess how this really plays out is that if I disliked a book, I won’t be seeking out other books by the same author (unless they were previously amazing).  If I somehow encounter another book by them anyway, I’ll be wary but might be willing if there’s something about it that overcomes the bad indicators.

Do you revisit authors who have disappointed you?  Or are there just too many other books out there to gamble again?

5 thoughts on “Blog Hop: Fool Me Once…

  1. I think my approach to this is much the same. The exception is that if I find something about the authors themselves that I dislike, I won’t read their books however good they are!

  2. dianem57

    I don’t revisit an author I dislike – looking at YOU, John Steinbeck – for precisely the reason you mention. There are so many other books out there to read!

  3. If I have previously loved a book by that author then I will often forgive them a disappointing book and read more. But if the first book I read by an author is disappointing I am unlikely to try them again, especially if it is the writing style I disliked.

  4. Tiffany

    This is an excellent question and one which I think about often. I have realized each author has their own style of writing therefore: if one book they write happens to be my least favorite, another book they write, might turn out quite the opposite. One of the earliest series I’ve read was by Nicholas Sparks. Most of Sparks novels have been lovely; he has the unique ability to enable the reader to picture and imagine every word he describes. Maybe there was one book that wasn’t as strong as the others.
    I completely agree that Solitary Blue was a great book. The author portrays each emotion well as I felt so much sympathy for some of the characters throughout the book. If I dislike a particular book , that will definitely not stop me from reading future books by the same author. In fact, it will increase my curiosity in seeing what else they write.

  5. I think usually if they’ve disappointed me once, I’m done. The possible exception might be if other bloggers I trust were similarly disappointed with other books but liked a new one. But there are so many books out there to risk it!

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