Saturday, March 23, 2013

Breaking up with an Author (or Series)

So there's this author (or series) you have loved. These are books you buy, no questions asked, not even looking at the synopsis. You've read the books a thousand times. You've waited for each new book with bated breath...and then it happens. The next book comes out, you get it and it's not as good as the last one. You mark it up to "Hey, it happens to everyone, the next one will be better." Then the next one comes out. Same thing.  So then you decide, okay, I'll just start borrowing the next ones from the library now. Then the next one comes out and you pick it up from the library and bring it home...where it stays in your library bag the whole time because you just can't muster the interest to read it. Or there are ten other books that seem way more important. So the book goes back, unread. That's when it hits you, you've broken up with them.

Perhaps the author has swapped direction or has gotten lazy where they're just following the same exact template from the books before. Just changing the names and the places, but the general plot is the same, the characters are stock characters. Or the series has started out one way and then gone through a Sybil moment and has gone in a completely new direction that bears no sibilance to the series you fell in love with.

Or for once, maybe it really is you and not them.  You have outgrown the books and not in an age outgrowing like moving on from YA to adult books, but your tastes have changed. The plots aren't working for you, and now you're craving a bit more depth in your books, or a bit of mystery or action or facts.

So how do you handle breaking up with a book?

This has happened to me a few times actually, but this last time was the first time it was really hard. I got started on romance novels once I was ready to hop out of the YA scene (which was probably like 15 to be honest) because my mom read them. I just read what was on her shelves. I loved them, until I realized a lot of the time it was the same story over and over. So then I moved to mystery novels. I had no problem giving away all the romance novels I had. It was pretty emotionless. I started on paranormal romance for the supernatural angle, but quickly learned it was just those simple templates again just with vampires. So then I moved to urban fantasy. I broke up with the Anita Blake series because I was drawn to the first few books where the main character was mostly just a detective solving preternatural crimes, but then the series changed dramatically and I lost interest.
Courtesy: Google images

The whole time I had kept and read one of my first authors of romantic suspense. The author was interesting and for awhile I fooled myself into thinking, they are mystery novels with romance on the side. Slowly I started to realize it was the opposite. The "hero" was always a bossy ex military alpha male and the "heroine" was always kind of quirky and an intellectual/artistic type who spent most the book saying how independent she was, but then getting herself into some kind of situation and needing the "hero" to save her. So I bought the last few books, swearing I'd read them, but then a few pages in, I'd put it down and start something (anything else). So this last book to come out I decided to just check it out from the library. Same thing! I would read something (anything else!) on my TBR pile. So it went back to the library unread.

Then I realized. I broke up with the author. I was kind of heartbroken this time, maybe because I'd actually chatted with this author online so there was a pseudo personal connection. I don't blame the author. I think she is doing great books...for someone else. I just need a little more for my personal reading enjoyment. I think this calls for a rebound book.

So have you ever "broken up" with an author or a series?


Anonymous said...

Redwall. Definitely Redwall. Combination of both me growing up (though I still enjoy children's books) and the author recycling plots and characters ad nauseum with less and less skill each time.

Almost did this with Ben Aaronovitch (Rivers of London/Peter Grant series) after only the second book. Such a dissapointment. The third one reeled me back in again but I'm def wary of his stuff now.

Oh! Oh! And Artemis Fowl! Man, that series went really downhill... not sure I even want to read the 8th. 5, 6 and 7 were pretty dire but I kinda still want to complete the series for old times sake. Dilema!

Artemis Fowl is like the ex I really *want* to retain the fond memories of the early days but literally every time I meet him he's gotten even more unpleasant and unatractive. The ex who, when people go 'you went out with him?' in a horrified whisper, I have to try to explain that he was actually very attractive when we were teenagers and that the beer gut, the neck-chin, ugly beard, and obnoxious political views came later. *Shudder*

Karena Fagan said...

Haha. What a great image that put in my head. Well, maybe kind of scary, but so true!

I have to say the books of my youth, I parted with rather amicably. More of a "it's been fun, but we're going separate ways in our lives, and omg, have you seen college guys?" This latest breakup was almost a "pull out the Ben & Jerry's, Kleenex and have your bestie over to watch rom-coms all night while your mascara drips down your face" sort.

I have recovered beautifully due to some biblio-therapy (soon to be a post here) and have found new books in my life that fulfill me. :)

Post a Comment