Monday, November 14, 2011

Musing Monday...I Ain't Getting Any Younger Ya Know.

What could this week's question from MizB at Should Be Reading possibly be?...

Are you currently collecting any authors? Why?
Do you have all of their books? If not, why not?
Did you buy all the books in the collection at the same time, or did you buy a book here, a book there? Have you actually read all of the collection? If not, why not?

Well, collect might be the wrong word.
It implies a certain degree organization and planning that my reading lacks.
And collecting implies that I keep them and there are very few authors whose books I would keep all of. So many little space.

Do I read all the books all the books by a certain author? Well, I will often read a bunch, but as I think about it, I probably rarely read them all. If I like a certain author after I read one of their books, usually I will shortly read a couple more. With most authors, honestly, that is enough. I get tired of them or the books are too much alike and I move on to something else.
Sadly, many successful authors seems to find a formula that sells and they keep it up and keep it and drive it into the ground. Even in a series, I want some change. I want the characters to grow, to have events that change them...even for some to unexpectedly die. I do not want a very obvious formula.

And I can think of another thing that made me give up on an author in the past. I was once a huge Dean Koontz fan. I read dozens of his books and I must give him credit for avoiding the formula trap. No, his books were all very different. But...he...his publisher...whoever, started reissuing his older books with new titles. I would see a "new" book of his, buy it and realize a few pages in that I had read this years ago. Second time that happen, I am sorry I moved on from the crazy, creepy books of Mr. Koontz.

And of course there are the authors who once I liked but who seem to have lost it. Most famous in that group is Patricia Cornwell. I thought her early books were very good, very entertaining, very well written. Then 10+ years ago her writing seem to go off a cliff..awful.After two awful ones that was the end of PC for me.
Another issue is sheer volume. You discover an author, read one book, and when you look for more, find out there are 10-15-20 earlier books in a series. Sorry, that is just to many to think about. A smaller series I would tackle, because if at all possible I like to read a series in order, but there is a limit to how many I will take on. I'm not getting any younger ya know.

Are there any authors I have read in total? Yes, a few. Three come to mind right away, Tess Gerritsen, Tolkien and Karin Slaughter. My that is an interesting group. With Gerritsen, I think I read her first Rizzoli and Iles book, loved it, and then went back and read the books she wrote before that series while waiting for the second  R&I to come out. I think if you are a Gerritsen fan you should go back and read those. No, as I have said before, I have not and will not be reading the romance books she first published. I have my limits. So my Gerritsen is not totally complete..but pretty Darn good.

Tolkien is another I think I have read all of. At least his fiction.I think he may have a bunch of scholarly books out there and no I have not read those. But his fiction I have read. Not just The Lord of The Rings and The Hobbit but all the 'little' stuff. Tree and Leaf, Farmer Giles of Ham, The Silmarillion, Smith of Wootton Major and a few others little short works he wrote. But then everything he wrote was short compared to LoTR.
I think I have completed Tolkien.

The most recent time I set out to read all an author has written was with Karin Slaughter. I think, years ago, I read one of her books, in the middle of one of her series. That was a mistake because I think she is an author best read in order. Major things happen to characters, people died, major events happened and you have to follow that flow. Then, on that evil Barnes and Noble Nook, they was offering her first book, which I had not read...or read so long ago I forgot it...really cheap. I got it for the Nook and read it. I loved it, so I had to get the second to see what happened..then the third..and the fourth and within two weeks I had read them all. Darn that "way too easy to buy a book on" Nook. I even searched out a novella she wrote, Martin Misunderstood, and a book of short story by other writers that she edited.

Just waiting for her...and Ms. write their next one. I will read them.
Who knows. Maybe some day I will tire of them too. But not soon I think.
I guess I am done with Tolkien since I don't think will be writing anything else. 
Being dead and all.


  1. Love your observations! It's interesting that you've noticed that some writers start out strong, but their quality drops off or their books start to have a "sameness" about them . . . I bet many get handcuffed by their publishing contracts. I've heard many writers say that once they'd achieved success with a book, their agents and/or publishers pressure them to keep writing similar novels . . .

    Maybe now that the publishing industry is changing it will be more flexible and writers will be able to stretch themselves a bit more . . . we'll see!

    And thanks for commenting on my blog :-)

  2. Lol, "being dead and all" ayuh, that does kill a literary career. I so agree about Cornwall. I gave up on her books quitte a while ago. I don't collect Louise Penny books but I have read every one so far and can't wait for the next one.

  3. I have to agree with the comment about quality falling off in some series. There are some authors I just quit reading. There is no forward movement in their books. It is just the same old, same old.

  4. I agree with all you've said. Even have some of the same favorites - Gerritsen and Slaughter (such a good writer). I gave up on Cornwall a long time ago. That whole "bringing someone back" storyline. You know who I mean. I have to be careful to not read most authors back-to-back. I tend to notice the "ticks" each author has. I'll give another shout-out for Louise Penny. Her writing is still continuing to develop and, in my opinion, getting better and better.

  5. i have every "he who shall not be named (for fear of public mockery again)" book. i have been collecting evanovich for a while and recently jd robb. :)

  6. I am hooked on several authors and their series .. some I can wait til they are in paperback others I must have right now ... Elizabeth George, Michael Connelly, Robert Ferrigno, and recently Suzanne Collins..

  7. I don't collect much (that space problem) but do tend to obsess over certain series. I agree with you about PC. I don't know WHAT happened to her. But I love the Prey series, the Jack Reacher series, the Kinsey Millhone. I have also read a couple of Karin Slaughters and would love to pursue her a little more.

  8. oh MK, I do know who you mean. Hey, if you like an author and enjoy reading them, who cares!

    except with Cornwell. no one should be reading her recent stuff.

  9. A very thoughtful musing my dear. I agree completely about authors who seem to get on a train, ride the rails, and forget to add another car, take a different route, or just plain change trains. I've found that I often tire of a writer if I try to read too many of a series at once. About three is my limit, and then I'll go someplace else, and return to the series in 6-8 months. That seems to keep them fresher. There will always be good and bad exceptions, but that's what makes reading fun!

  10. I don't really collect any authors either, but I would if I had a library in my house.

  11. I totally agree with you on Patricia Cornwell. I was chugging along on her books and got to Hornet's Nest (I think that was the title) and it was almost unreadable. Just horrible. I can't imagine what happened to her.

    I agree that some series get too long. The whole Stephanie Plum series comes to mind. By book 9, I felt like I was reading the same basic book over and over again.

    You're making me want to try Karin Slaughter now!


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