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Books & Reading In General > Giving Authors a Second Chance

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message 1: by Leo (new)

Leo Robertson (leoxrobertson) | 297 comments Hiya all,

Today I was thinking about some authors, the first book of whose I selected and read at random and then enjoyed, and others for whom I did the same and didn't enjoy. In every case I was more inclined to return to the first set of authors, even if I didn't like a book of theirs I read afterwards. This seems a little bit unfair, and so I would like to give the first-time-failed-selection group a second chance.

For example:

- Joseph Heller: hated Catch-22 but will try Something Happened
- Margaret Atwood: The Handmaid's Tale not for me but tempted by Oryx and Crake
- Leo Tolstoy: Anna Karenina snoretastic (major poop shelf) but War and Peace mebs??

Near misses- where I loved the first book of theirs that I read, and most after I didn't like at all:

- Salman Rushdie: if I'd read The Satanic Verses first I might never have read Midnight's Children D: D:
-Fyodor Dostoyevsky: The Idiot great and Crime and Punishment not so much.
-Haruki Murakami: Dance Dance Dance yayyyy Norwegian Wood bleugh.

My questions based on this thinking for you guys are:

1. Have you had a similar experience? Which are the authors whose first book you read you didn't like? Did you give them a second chance?

2. Do you think that if you don't like one book of an author, you've learned enough about them and don't need to go back for another?

3. Any differing experience for my first time non-starters?

Also if this is better in the bookshelf nomination that's up to youse :-)


message 2: by Whitney (last edited Nov 17, 2013 03:53PM) (new)

Whitney | 1321 comments Mod
THE POOP SHELF???

Actually, I like the topic. But I just drank a 22 oz* bottle of YuleSmith Ale, which I now see is 8.5% alcohol. So my bookish comments will probably be a bit incoherent. I'll be back later.

*That's 650 ml to those of you that use rational systems of measurement. Including those from that overblown little island in the Atlantic who stuck the colonies with this crappy 'English' system before abandoning it themselves. Kind of like they did with slavery before deciding that it was wrong and then getting all shirty about it with those who maintained it even though they effing started it!

GOD! You suck!


message 3: by Leo (new)

Leo Robertson (leoxrobertson) | 297 comments Haha! We're a bunch of turncoats. But I'm Scottish and I don't like it neither :p Look forward to your comments!


message 4: by Ruby , Mistress of Chaos (new)

Ruby  Tombstone Lives! (rubytombstone) | 3260 comments Mod
Whitney - I think I like you better when you drink.

Leo - great topic! I'll have to have a proper think about it when i haven't spent all day being worked to death, but....

Yeah, if I love the writer's first book I'll persevere for a long time chasing the dragon. Mira Grant is kinda that author for me. I loved Feed so much that I have read everything Mira Grant's ever written, and been far more forgiving than i otherwise would have been. Then again, there's a sense of betrayal after about the 4th bad book in a row that "love" sometimes turns to "loathe". So maybe she's not a great example after all.

What about Mervyn Peake though? I think most people who loved Gormenghast, didn't love the second two books in the trilogy. I still have a copy of Mr. Pye sitting on the shelf, willing myself to love it when I do eventually read it.

In contrast, I bought six Charles Stross books, based on everything I'd heard about him, and didn't like Halting State. I cannot bring myself to touch any of the others now.


message 5: by Leo (new)

Leo Robertson (leoxrobertson) | 297 comments I loved Titus Groan and Gormenghast but he lost me on the third one- have read mixed Mr Pye reviews but probably worth it just for his descriptions :)

I am also guilty of the praised out their nut author multi book download- why does every new author hold such promise? I mean Jeeeeez haha!


message 6: by Richard (new)

Richard China Meilville, loved Perdido Street Station, bored shitless by Kraken, never tried him since

George RR Martin - Game of Thrones was pretty good, Clash of Kings was woefully wallfing

Rushdie, Verses was monotony but people lauded Midnights Children so I read it and it was even worse

War and Peace is just a soap opera, Karenenina at least had some teeth about it

I more hate when an author I loved - eg Chuck Palahniuk or Clive Barker - steadily becomes a toothless wonder churning out dross

John Irving is very hit and miss, but i only fancy his stuff once every 2 years. Garp and The Fourth Hand, wonderful, Owen Meaney I just couldn't do, Until I Find You I loved, Last Night in Twisted River was banal. Thankfully Garp was the first one I read so I always remember the memory of reading that when I pick a new one


message 7: by Ruby , Mistress of Chaos (new)

Ruby  Tombstone Lives! (rubytombstone) | 3260 comments Mod
Sandyboy wrote: "Thankfully Garp was the first one I read so I always remember the memory of reading that when I pick a new one..."

I have a memory of reading this in the primary school library (which seems really odd to me), but I couldn't tell you if I understood any of it.


message 8: by Leo (new)

Leo Robertson (leoxrobertson) | 297 comments Aw man that's a wee shame for Midnight's Children, that book makes me so happy. I'm thinking about it now. I am happy :D

Guys who write a lot must become jaded with certain projects... especially in the science fiction and fantasy genres- might end up letting your imagination loose on a duffer. But I guess it's those same risks which make the good ones good.

My god it's cold in Stavanger- I think my brain is half the size. Did any of that make sense?? Doesn't matter I'm gonna hibernate just in case brb in 3 mths xx


message 9: by Richard (new)

Richard the other one was Don DeLilio, i was blown away by White Noise and read another of his and adored it. I was so damned excited, I had a new author with a big ol' back catalogue.

Then I read Underworld and just chucked the bugger on the fire. Thought about reading Cosmopolis years later but couldn't bring myself to, I still had this bloated wall paper paste taste in my mouth from Underworld. Did watch the movie os Cosmopolis though, i thought it was very good


message 10: by Whitney (new)

Whitney | 1321 comments Mod
It is amazing how many of the authors mentioned here are variations of my experience.

DeLillo: Ditto. Loved White Noise, liked Ratner's Star, unable to pick another up after Underworld. Bloated yes. And the baseball traveling through the chapters seemed like it was lifted directly from Robertson Davies, who did the same thing with a snowball.

Atwood: Read Handmaid's Tale because it was pretty much required reading. Then read The Robber Bride and had zero motivation to read another. I've since been told that's really not her best. Considering Blind Assassin or Oryx and Crake if I'm ever motivated again.

Peake: I loved the first Gormenghast book, but for some reason have never picked up the second. There's a few writers like that. Ruby also mentioned Feed, which I really liked, but again haven't felt motivated to pick up the others.

Rushdie: If I hadn't already been in love with Midnight's Children and in like with Shame, I may not have made it through Satanic Verses. Glad I persevered, though, I came to really like that one as well.

John Irving: Just don't get the hype. Garp was okay, then I read Owen Meany and I REALLY didn't get the hype. It's a 500 page shaggy dog story. Odds of me picking up Irving again pretty much zero.

One book with a momentum that kept me reading into the bad zone was The Alienist. The sequel not so good, but I enjoyed it since I was still riding the high from the first one. Then I read Killing Time, which is one of the worst books ever.


message 11: by Richard (new)

Richard Irving is worth another go, he's a chicken soup author. You need to be moderately incapacitated and shivery to settle into one and once you do you don't really want to get healthy again. Until I Find You i really enjoyed and the The Fourth Hand had me chuckling. But yeah, he is a "once every 2 years" author at best for me

The Alienist I loved, but never tried the sequels

Attwood can be spectacular - Oryx and Crake was a belter but in so saying I have not tried either of the 2 sequels to it. The Robber Bride though, I chucked that one in despair


message 12: by Whitney (new)

Whitney | 1321 comments Mod
Sandyboy wrote: "Irving is worth another go, he's a chicken soup author. You need to be moderately incapacitated and shivery to settle into one and once you do you don't really want to get healthy again. Until I Fi..."

What's your opinion of Cider House Rules? After seeing the movie, I was tempted by that one. Really sounds like I just picked up the wrong Atwood. Moving Oryx and Crake up the TBR list.


message 13: by Richard (new)

Richard Cider House is on my list to try (in maybe two years time) when I get the flu. I hear it is one of his better ones, along with Hotel New Hampshire.

Attwood is very gifted, we studied her at A Level with her book Surfacing. Have to admit it blew me away and I've been picking her up in the 20 years since. The Handmaids Tale is quite spectacular and I believe Alias Grace is meant to be superb


message 14: by Leo (new)

Leo Robertson (leoxrobertson) | 297 comments My sis gave me a copy of The Fourth Hand, I really should get round to it... admittedly my desire to read Oryx and Crake came from its mention in The Knife's latest album Shaking the Habitual, but I have read from the reviews that it is liked by former Atwood blah-ers :-)

There are such beautiful descriptions in Gormenghast, that's the first thing that comes to mind and it was almost worth it for that but Peake is a guy who really knew how to kill his darlings.

My goal in life is to be as pretentious as Rushdie someday- I need to get better at interjecting chat about Mesopotamia into everyday speech, but I am determined. His memoir Joseph Anton is bloody goodreading.

But really I came here to settle a score because I just drank two big beers- that's one litre of tasty greatness for those of us who use a counting system that's useful for beings with 10 fingers. WHITNEY! At least we were innovative and influential and stuff! Some other people just dragged out our ideas until they were no longer cool and we were boss enough to point it out!


message 15: by Richard (new)

Richard two big beers? man i have 3 big wines every night and normally as much billtong as i can sneak into the house without my wife noticing

i read a book by Joseph Connolly years back, black comedy set on a cruise liner called SOS. brilliantly written in stream of consciousness style, very funny and grotesque and i remember thinking "I must dig out more of his stuff"

then as soon as i finished it i never touched Connolly again. no idea why, i think SOS was a right time right place book


message 16: by Leo (new)

Leo Robertson (leoxrobertson) | 297 comments Sounds cool! Not heard of Connolly before... and it was a mid-evening post, I had more beers but luckily managed to stay off of goodreads :)


message 17: by Richard (new)

Richard drunk posting is wonderful, but inevitably ends up me lauding Trent Reznor and decrying Tolstoy


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