Thursday, February 14, 2008

Valentine's Day Break Up

Today's BTT question comes from Chris:
Here’s something for Valentine’s Day:
Have you ever fallen out of love with a favorite author? Was the last book you read by the author so bad, you broke up with them and haven’t read their work since? Could they ever lure you back?
Hate to steal from Chris's answer but Stephen King certainly comes to mind. I do occasionally go back to the guy, but it's more out of a sense of obligation (at one point, I had actually caught up with him, now I'm guessing there's over a dozen that I've missed). My biggest problem with King is the Gunslinger series, which is very unfortunate since I loved those at one point. Then those characters and worlds started intruding on every other book he wrote and it became overkill. Plus the whole Emerald City bit in Wizard and Glass was the jump-the-shark moment for me.
Then there's Jean M. Auel. I'll admit to liking Clan of the Cave Bear. Valley of the Horses I thought was a decent sequel. Then the gratuitous sex actually grew boring and Ayla, the super cave woman, invented everything from universal health care to microwaveable popcorn and I couldn't handle it anymore. The last one I read was Plains of Passage and I don't think I'll bother with Shelters of Stone.
I had the opposite reaction to Wayne Johnston. I had to read The Story of Bobby O'Malley in university and despised it (I thought it was depressing and his attempts to lighten it up with slapstick only made it more so). I vowed not to read him again but picked up Colony of Unrequited Dreams when it was up for Canada Reads and it's become one of my favourite books.
I'm sure there are plenty others who I remember enjoying that I probably wouldn't like today due to maturity, changes in preferences, etc just as I'm sure there were plenty books I disliked back in the day that I'd be all over now. It'll be interesting to look back and see how my tastes change in another 15 years or so.
Good question Chris!
(When is Blogger ever going to get spell chek fixed?!)


Anonymous said...

Has to be Julian Barnes. I loved the sparkling inventiveness of the early novels. I think the rot set in with "Porcupine" - I find his recent stuff virtually unreadable and usually give up after a couple of chapters.

Barbara Bruederlin said...

Stephen King is definitely better read in adolescence. And, although I hate to say it, JPod sort of made me wonder if I was feeling the same way about Douglas Coupland (I was not, fortunately).

If you use Firefox instead of IE, you won't need blogger spellcheck.

Susan Helene Gottfried said...

Hey, John! Nice to see you drop by.

I don't think the problem is that the authors stop caring (at least, the ones I've met don't). The bigger problem becomes the publishers, who expect some of their authors to produce more, faster. Quality often suffers -- or the author finds themselves without a career.

It's a rough cycle the publishing world has fallen into. And ultimately, it's bad for everyone.

John Mutford said...

Wapentake: I don't know Julian Barnes all. If I find his stuff around, I'll be sure to look for pre-Porcupine.

Barbara: True. I first read Christine in Grade 7. My dad passed me his copy and the whole time I was reading it, I thought "I can't believe he's letting me read this!" Of course I needed more after that.

Susan: I didn't say the authors care less, I said they try less. I think some authors are under the illusion that they've become such great writers at later points in their careers that all their ideas are golden and they can get it right in one quick draft. Why? Because long-time, non-discerning fans, tell them it's great. Because their publishers tell them it's great. Because their accountants tell them it's great. They don't need yes-men, they need honesty.

Chrisbookarama said...

I'm not a fan of characters showing up in other books unless there's a good reason. I might be weird but I like to have them stay put.

Remi said...

Tom Clancy. I liked him when I was in my early teens. I went back years later and tried one of the op center books. I was not amused.

Cardboard characters, stilted dialogue. No real interaction between the sexes but the prose would get very hot and heavy describing how nicely the H&K pistol fit against the wearer's thigh. Too creepy/dull for me.

Literary Feline said...

One author I gave up on is Patricia Cornwell. It will take quite a bit to lure me back, if ever it happens at all. I definitely think the quality of her work has suffered.

Other times, I know it's just me. I move out of a phase or grow interested in something else. I start looking for more.

John Mutford said...

Chris: I'm okay with some cameos in moderation.

Remi: Someone once recommended his Red Storm Rising to me and it was painful. Not, however, as painful as one of his Tom Clancy presents Net Force books, called Point of Impact. They slap Tom Clancy's name in huge print on the front and stick the real author's name in almost fine print at the bottom, Steve Perry (I'm assuming not the guy from Journey).

Literary Feline: I've read one by her and enjoyed it enough but not enough to seek her out any further.

Anonymous said...

After Road to Gandolfo, I gave up on Ludlum. I have only one Kind till date. So I cannot comment. However, I plan to read 8 of his books for 888.

Dewey said...

I had a similar experience with King, but I don't think I agree with the comment above that he's better in adolescence. I just think his earlier work is stronger.

I completely agree with you about the Clan of the Cave Bear series.

And I think I broke up with the entire mystery genre, though I still have the occasional one night stand, and maybe we'll get back together eventually.