Tuesday, January 10, 2012

On Revisiting Writers (Sort of a Top Ten Tuesday Discussion)

I like Tuesdays and I like Top Ten Tuesday, so I headed over to The Broke and the Bookish to check out today's list: Top Ten Authors I Wish Would Write Another Book.


And I quickly ran away. 


Why? Because I'm something of a reading tart. 


By the way, extra brownie points with me if you can tell me why Renee Zellweger is wearing a bunny outfit.


 I've said it before, but I really get around when it comes to my reading. And I rarely revisit an author's work once I've tried one novel.  It's sad really, this compulsive "dating" of authors instead of forming tried and true relationships. Of course, there are the exceptions. I've had a years-long relationship with Paul Auster and Siri Hustvedt. Who also happen to be married to each other, so if they knew I existed maybe we'd be a plural relationship by now. 


But they're really the only two I can think of straight off the top of my head. Occasionally I'll read a second book by an author I enjoy, but even those are hard to pinpoint. For the most part I am a flutterer. I pick up books I'm in the mood for, I love 'em or leave 'em (snuggle or skewer), and I'm off to the next literary romp. 


Do I like this habit? Not really. I can speak from my experience with Auster and Hustvedt that I enjoy following an author's literary progression from early novels to those later works. I've read damn near all of Hustvedt--even the essay collections I never see discussed on blogs or elsewhere. With Auster, I started with his memoirs and made my way into (some of) his fiction. I enjoyed The New York Trilogy so much, it took me awhile to read other selections, and even now they're limited. 


If I'm psychoanalyzing my own reading habits (dangerous!), I would guess that one of the reasons I do this is because I am afraid of that second date disappointment. If the first experience with an author's work is great, I am not always sure a second experience will measure up. See F. Scott Fitzgerald who remains a one-hit wonder with me. 


So I want to know from you all: 
Do you read through multiple works by same author often? If not, why? And if you are monogamous who do you recommend "following" through the progression of their writing?

26 comments:

  1. I am sort of like you, I don't often read second and third books from an author because I am afraid of disappointment, and at times, that is exactly what has happened. I do want to explore some of my favorite authors this year, and see what I think, but I do admit that there is a little bit of reluctance :(

    Great post today!

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  2. I am TERRIBLE about reading the same author again. It was really bad last year and is something I am determined to work on this year.

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  3. You tickle me, you reading tart you. I'm exactly opposite...I read, read and read an author and commit myself way too much after I should let him/her go (for example, Evanovich and Patterson...should have divorced them a while back...but I just keep giving them chance after chance after chance...). Seems I'm always looking for that long term relationship that brings me such joy and fulfillment.

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  4. Finding an author I love and reading multiples works is one of my joys in reading. I feel like I can recommend with confidence if they are consistent, and if they are a flash in the pan / one hit wonder type of author, I like to be able to attest to that with a reasonable amount of confidence.

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  5. I usually follow Dean Koontz & Stepehn King and that's about it. I may like - love a book even, and not give the author a 2nd thought after. But I'm slowly changing my ways.

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  6. First of all, Renee is a dressed as a tart for a party (that goes horribly wrong) in Bridget Jones Diary.

    Anyway...

    I used to read everything by an author I loved but now not so much. Usually because I get distracted by shiny new books by other people.

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  7. I'm hit or miss with author loyalty. Normally I just jump around putting new notches in the bedpost, but occasionally (especially with series and classic literature) I'll commit myself for a time. There are some authors that demand my attention, though, such as Edith Wharton and Thrity Umrigar. For both ladies, I immediately bought more of their titles after being introduced.

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  8. I think I fall somewhere between your "love em and leave em" strategy and a faithful fan. I wish I read more of the authors that really get me good, but like you, I tend to be fickle and flutter about, always looking for the next great book for me. And I don't really like it either. Why can't I settle down? :)

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  9. I'm just the opposite. I stick with an author long after they've broken my heart. I hate goodbyes and am an eternal optimist. Or maybe I'm just stupid. ;)

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  10. Tarts and Vicars! Doesn't everyone go to parties like that? ;)

    I get seriously addicted to certain authors and I just can't stop until I've read everything they've written, and in the meantime no other author does it for me. Having said that, though, there's nothing worse than a writer who keeps on going with a series when the quality of the writing is going steadily downhill. To me, that's just writing to try and appease your audience. That kind of book I can do without, even from an author I love.

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  11. Duh - the tarts and vicars party! I just watched this again last weekend. :)

    i love that you describe yourself as a flutterer, as I feel much the same way. Even when I read the same author, it's not always a conscious decision. I'll pick it up because the book looks good. I haven't read Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close because Everything Is Illuminated was such an incredible reading experience for me that I just know whatever else I read from him will not compare.

    Not necessarily proud of it, but there it is.

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  12. I only read multiple books if I have completely loved the writing style. Last year, I read everything that Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie has written and wish there was more.

    For most authors though, I am like you. I choose based on plot rather than author 90% of the time.

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  13. I generally stick with an author till he or she lets me down and then it will take a friend or two to drag me, kicking and screaming, back to their work. Just depends, really. I am utterly faithful to Simon Van Booy's work, as you know. And, I've occasionally gone on reading binges, in which I read several in a row by the same author. But, I crave variety so even though I can be faithful in following an author, there are very few for whom I'll rush out to buy a new title. Most of the authors I read *are* new to me.

    Chrisarama already answered - Bridget; party she thought was a costume party. I thought she handled it quite well. I'd have run screaming out the door.

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  14. I do tend to read everything an author has written when I find myself endeared to him or her, but I have my own quirks: I never read consecutive books in a series -- or multiple books by the same writer -- in a row.

    For example, I've just finished my second book by Jennifer Belle, who I find refreshingly funny and crazy and fun, and have decided I love her. But I won't rush out now and get any more of her books... for a while, anyway.

    Other authors who go unquestionably on my Must Read list: Megan McCafferty; Jhumpa Lahiri; Jonathan Safran Foer; Joshilyn Jackson; Laurie Notaro; Jen Lancaster.

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  15. I love reading everything by an author, once I love them. I plan to do this with Twain, Dickens, Margaret Mitchell, Charlotte and Anne Bronte, Louisa May Alcott, Shakespeare (etc.) I'm VERY intrigued by author biographies, but I don't tend to read anyone's works as chronologically written. I just read as inspired.

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  16. Oh, wow, I love to stick with them, I do. It's hard to imagine not falling in love and then leaving them! Really!! What ARE you thinking!! :) Very fun discussion here...

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  17. I've found that if I get all excited about an author and read all of their books in one fell swoop, then I 1) either burn out or 2)am doomed to be disappointed.

    Also, there's that whole so many books thing working against me. I've got too many books I want to read to get caught up in just one author for too long.

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  18. Is that a still from Bridget Jones's Diary? That's my guess....I tend to read everything by an author I like, although not always consecutively. There are a few writers whose work I idolize, and in those cases I make a point of reading most of their work. But there are always curious omissions-one book I never get to.

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  19. I must be a reading tart too. Alyce asked me to write a post about an author's best and worst book and I had a lot of trouble thinking of authors I've read a lot of.

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  20. I love the IDEA of following an author through the chronological progression of their work, but it's often impractical. The library won't have the right book in, or I'll get sick of the author and need a break. But I do tend to read most of an author's oeuvre if I'm a fan. The second-date thing happens all the damn time to me, but often it will also happen that I'll try the second book again at a different time in my life and love it. I try to hedge my bets anyway (when I find a new author) by making my best guess at what their WORST book is, and reading that one early on, so I'll know the depths to which the author can sink. In theory this makes me appreciate their highs even more; not sure it genuinely works out that way.

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  21. I love reading tons of work by one author. In fact, after my 250 project, I am going to start working my way through more work by the authors I love. Going back to an author I love is like visiting an old friend. There are still the warm and fuzzy memories of the first read together, but a few surprises and changes too!

    I don't think I could ever be such a book tart. ;)

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  22. I do tend to read multiple books by the same author. If I enjoy their writing, why not read more rather than risk my precious reading time with an unknown. I'm not compulsive about it though, and I will quit reading them if I've been disappointed a time or two or just get bored.

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  23. I read an author through, committing until they write a horrible novel, or the writing falls off - Stephen King comes to mind (Gerald's game? Ugh), though thankfully he has come back with two very good recent novels again. Jane Austen - I've read everything by her but Mansfield Park, which for some reason I avoid like the plague. I even reread Pride and Prejudice and Persuasion regularly, which is rarer than a dodo bird with me.

    so not a tart...though I will break off a deep relationship to go have a fling with new authors! I love the discovery and adding to my harem of authors!!! lol

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  24. I tend to flutter from author to author and I will - eventually - follow up with an author whose book I liked, but it usually is a couple of years in between. I can be a little better with series, especially if it's a trilogy like Hunger Games. But that's not *real* author loyalty - that's just me wanting to finish the story.

    Also, as others have said - it's the party that was supposed to be Tarts & Vicars. I can't remember about the movie, but in the book it was originally slated to be that theme, but they change it at the last minute to some more demure theme and Bridget is not informed.

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  25. Reading tart . . . *snickers*

    When I find an author I love, I usually read everything they've written that I can get my hands on. Sometimes I lose interest before I've read all their work (either because they've jumped the shark or I've overdone it). Every once in a while I'll read a fantastic book, but then I won't pick up anything else by that author. I have no idea why.

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  26. I'm very much a reading tart! I had been trying to write such a post as this and couldn't get the words to make sense so thank you for giving me a term that fits. I RARELY read more by an author, though I've been trying to be better. I have a list of authors I say I want to read another book by and it's getting dusty.

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