Thursday, February 14, 2008

Booking Through Thursday: After The Honeymoon

This 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?

I am not sure when it happened. Maybe when he gave my white teddy bear the raspberries during a game of Truth or Dare. Perhaps it was while we were sitting on the moonlit beach talking about our dreams and aspirations. Or when he pulled out that pillow in the middle of Religion 101 and put his head down during the lecture (okay, so definitely not this time--this is when I wished he wasn't sitting right behind me and I wanted to pretend I didn't know him). It could have been on one of our many late night/early morning dessert runs to Denny's with the gang after a long study session. All I know is that somewhere in the middle of all that, I lost my heart to a writer.

We were first introduced in the dormitory lobby; my friend and I were on our way out, and he and his friend were on their way in. We met again in my friend's dorm room one afternoon when he came to tutor her in chemistry. We got to talking and the conversation quickly turned to books and writing. He asked me to read something he had written and I readily agreed. Our friendship evolved from there and seven years later I put on that white gown and walked down the pathway to become his wife.

We did break up once during our first four years as a couple. Almost, anyway. I was scared, afraid of how close we were getting. I did not let people in easily back then. He was the first person with whom I completely let my guard down, and I panicked. He was patient with me, let me have my space, and waited. Fortunately, I came to my senses quickly. Sixteen and a half years later, he is still my best friend, and we are happily married. I still read everything he writes.

Such wonderful memories . . .

I did it again, didn't I? Going off on a tangent right from the start. I think it may have something to do with the fact that it's Valentine's Day and I have my Valentine on my mind. Anyway, the question was not meant to be about me and my writer, was it? It is about my favorite author, of which I have more than one. Perhaps you remember a previous post I wrote that was in a similar vein.

I have fallen head over heels for particular books and then scooped up the author's other books with eager anticipation. Occasionally I have read an awesome book only to be disappointed in books that come after, but I do like to give second and third chances. There have only been a couple of authors who I no longer follow because the disappointment was too much to bear, and, even after giving the authors chance after chance to redeem themselves, I still was not satisfied. This could be for a variety of reasons and cannot always be attributed to the author. It is our nature to grow and change; our interests evolve as time goes by. Other times it is the author's (and maybe the publishers' with all the pressure they put on the authors) fault. The quality of work depreciates, and I am not willing to settle for less.

More often than not, however, I accept that there is bound to be a book by an author I like less than the rest and that could be for a variety of reasons. When I am disappointed, it is generally only a minor disappointment, one that does not impact an author's place on my favorites' list or even necessarily ruin my enjoyment of the book that does not quite live up to the one I liked best. It is just a matter of degree, really, and liking one book more than another might not mean much of anything when I like them both in the end.

Breaking up is hard to do, no matter what anyone says. Even when tired and frustrated, I still am reluctant to totally say goodbye to an author. Of the favorite authors I no longer follow, I cannot say never in response to whether I would find my way back to their books. There's always a chance that I will come across a review of a later book by the author that will pique my interest and lure me back for a taste test, however hesitant I may be.

It is important not to short shift those favorite books whose authors I may not have any interest in reading more of for whatever reason, or those that have only written one book. It isn't really the author that I fall in love with, but the books themselves.

*Not to be confused with my author crushes, which is an entirely different topic altogether.

21 comments:

  1. Yours is, by far, the best answer to this weeks meme.

    cjh

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  2. I love the story of your favorite writer - that was a very enjoyable tangent, Wendy!

    Like you, I have a hard time saying "never" to an author whose work I have enjoyed in the past. I thought this was a really good BTT question.

    Happy Valentine's Day!

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  3. Wendy, I had a great time reading your post. I'm always looking forward to reading your BTT's replies because you've a way of answering them and also sharing with us a little story about yourself, I like it. :)

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  4. Aww. What a great Valentine's story. I'm so glad love stories like this still happen.

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  5. Please feel free to go off on however many tangents you want..they are always a delight to read :D

    I find it hard to completely part ways with a favourite author too, even if their most recent books disappoint me. I always find myself coming back for more, either because there is still something there that speaks to me, or in the hopes that the old magic will come back.

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  6. I agree with most of what you said. I too, like to give second chances. Maybe that second book by an author I loved their first one just was read at the wrong time. Sometimes I'm just not in the mood for a book but when I try it again further down the road, I find it suits me perfectly.

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  7. Well, I for one loved your first part of this answer! So sweet! :D

    As for falling out of love with an author, I had that happen to me once, not so long ago. I fell in love with Gregory Maguire's wit and mode of story telling while reading "Wicked", and it was with excitement and anticipation that I read "Son of a Witch", which was such an incredible let down, that I fell out of love a little bit. But I haven't completely broken up with him yet...we'll see how I feel about the next book I read by him! ;-)

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  8. I'm always reluctant to say goodbye too. Although a few of my favorite authors have wrote some stinkers and pissed me off at them for awhile, I usually go back to them.

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  9. I didn't mean it so literally ;) Great answer!

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  10. Not even one name?

    And bah humbug to Valentine's Day but I'm happy yours was lovely.

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  11. CJ - Thank you! I had fun giving it my own twist. :-)

    Florinda - My favorite writer loved it too. :-)

    The question was a great idea. It was fun reading everyone's responses.

    Melody - Thanks. I like to personalize my answers, but sometimes I wonder if I'm giving too much of myself away. :-)

    Nikki - Me too!

    Nymeth - Haha Thanks!

    I know exactly what you mean about keep going back. There's one particular author and series I continue to follow because I am still interested in the characters, although I'm less impressed by the writing with each new book. As long as I want to know what will happen next, I'll keep reading her books. Whereas with the author whose books I've given up on, I no longer care about the characters or what happens. It's easier to say goodbye when I don't feel that connection anymore.

    Jeane - I think mood can definitely play a part in whether a book strikes the right chord. I can think of several books I started but put down to try again at a better time and ended up really liking the books--all because I waited for the right moment.

    Karina - Hehe Thanks!

    I admit I am afraid to try Son of a Witch. I really liked Wicked. I do hope to read something by Maguire again, but just what I haven't decided.

    Jen - Not every book will speak to everyone and I try not to hold that against the author.

    Chris - I kind of got carried away there. :-)

    Carrie K - Haha I thought I'd give the poor authors a break and not name them in my post.

    My Valentine's Day was actually very ordinary. Woke up, went to work, and came home again. We didn't do anything special other than exchange cards. I ended up going to bed early since I wasn't feeling well.

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  12. I love it when you go off tangent, Wendy! You know, I read that story of yours again and again and again...

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  13. Alice - I tend to go off on tangents a lot even in real life. I'm sure I drive everyone I talk to crazy. :-) I am glad you liked my story.

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  14. I don't like final goodbyes, either. Unless an author has annoyed me greatly (which happens very seldom), I'll usually give him/her another chance. :)

    Have a great weekend -- you have a charming blog!

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  15. Thomma Lyn - Thanks so much for stopping by! It takes a lot to annoy me to the point of giving up on an author too.

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  16. What an original answer! You had me with you all the way!

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  17. That was very sweet Wendy! Perfect for Valentine's Day!

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  18. Nicely answered! And it's okay to move on from our associations and relationships with writers, isn't it? There are always so many flirting with us at any given time, it's hard to be faithful to just a few!
    Thanks for dropping by.

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  19. I loved reading your answer! So diplomatic and worth reading for the tangent alone! :)

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  20. Lesley - Oh, definitely! It's not like they don't play the field too. :-)

    Tanabata - Haha Thanks!

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