Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Disappointing Fiction

I have plenty of authors on my auto-buy list - if I see their name on the cover, the book goes into the basket. And generally this works really well for me. But in June I auto-bought one of my favourite authors, and its taken me till now to finish the book.


I didn't like the first three quarters of the book. To be fair, I probably hated reading the first three quarters of this book. But because I usually love this author I kept going. One chapter here and there, hoping it would improve. Last night about 10pm, three quarters of the way through, it finally snagged my interest and I'd finished it by lunchtime today. And wondered if maybe it would have been better as a novella or short novel.

So, what do I do now? Do I leave this author on my auto-buy list, do I do a quick skim of the next book before it goes into my basket, or do I take an author-holiday?

What would you do? And how many pages in do you get before you decide a novel isn't for you?


Anita Joy said...

Fi, I've had that happen before. One that really stands out was so bad (I used to devour her work) I couldn't even finish the first chpater. And it was so bad I haven't even picked up one of her books since!

But with others I've tended to be not quite so decisive. Sometimes I get them from the library so I don't have to invest in them until I've tried them. Others I hum and hah about for ages before purchasing.

I guess it depends on how bad the bead one was!

Kylie Griffin said...

Favourite authors remain on my automatic to-buy list if they write good stories. Simple as that. If they muff one story and I don't like it I usually get one more in the series, see how it goes before I can buying any more.

One author I've followed for almost 20 books has gone on my don't auto-buy list because the two books I last read of hers lost me completely (the world-building was getting to much to keep up with and keep straight in my head) and I just didn't engage as much with the characters as I used to.

I think the books are now being churned out because they're "continuing" in a successful series, not because they're stories needing to be told. (My personal opinion only.)

A new author has one book to convince me to invest in them.

Tough love but I just don't have the time to keep reading work I can't get into or like.

Danielle Ferries said...

I used to persevere with ordinary books a lot more than I do now but I find that the more I have going on my reading time becomes limited and I'd rather read great books than suffer through ordinary books. If it's an author you love though I'd probably give them another chance.

Anonymous said...

I usually give a book at least the first chapter and will then skip around(not to the last chapter however :) ) and if the writing isn't there for me, as all art is subjective, then I'll put the book down and give it to someone else who may enjoy the writing.

Fiona G said...

Hi Everyone,

Its a good question isn't it. I must admit I kept reading because I'd paid for that book, and not because I enjoyed it. If it was a library book, I'd have thrown it back in the bag after a few pages. I'm thinking of doing a post-mortem to see why I didn't like it so much. And I will give the author one more chance - a skim read of her next book before I buy it.

Eleni Konstantine said...

I've had to cut down the number of auto-buy books because well the budget gets cranky. I tend to borrow books from the library. And have a huge list of
"some day I will buy".

I tend to read quite a few books in short snippets because that is how my brain works lately, but when I'm really struggling - and it may not be the author but me, I just put it to the side. If I continue to struggle, I leave it.

I just did that with a science fiction author. I am interested in the story but I just couldn't get into it. I don't give up easily on stories. I am not a one chapter and you are out gal. Because like I said, sometimes it's me and not the writing. Or not the right time for a certain book or writing style.

Still if I bought a second book that is not right from an auto-buy author, I would probably get the rest from the library. If they improve, I can then restart.

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