Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Some Questions About Reading Habits

So I have questions for those who care to answer. I am curious about this.

1) If you read a book by an author for the first time and do not care for it, will you try a second book?

2) If you have read two books by an author you did not like, would you continue to try more by this author or will you give up at last? Does it matter if it is an author that everyone else raves about but you just don't get the appeal? Is that what would make you try more than one, two or three books by the author?

3) If you read a book by an author and absolutely loved that book but everything else you have read by that author has been mediocre, would you continue to buy that author's books in the hope you'll find another book you love or would you eventually give up thinking the first one was a fluke?

This is just pure curiosity on my part because of some of my own observations on reader sites and blogs. So this is just for fun if you care to answer.


  1. Great post Shawn!

    I'm a voracious enough reader that I'll always give a writer a second chance if I have a lukewarm reaction to their work. The reason for this is logical, I've had it go the opposite way, where an author I have loved suddenly presents a book that leaves me scratching my head. So I figure it's not all or nothing for that writer, there will always be variation. And isn't that why we read anyway, to enjoy variety? I'll bet if you think of your fave authors, you can probably rank their works in order of your preference, they won't all be at the same enjoyment level.

    That said, if I am violently turned off by a book (rare, but it happens), due to either a style I can't get into or a scene that hits bad buttons, or in one case a "romance" without a HEA (that was devastating after 200+ pages!), it does make me wary when I see that author again. I will take those on a case by case, for instance a positive reveiw by a trusted source, or a change in subgenre maybe.

  2. Um...interesting questions.

    I don't read nearly as much as I used to, so if I read a book by a new-to-me author and I just don't click with the book, then I'm likely not to read another book by the same author. There are just too many other books I want to read, by authors I know I really enjoy.

    That being said, it ultimately depends on the book. Sometimes it's more the storyline or characters that I don't enjoy, verus the writing. If it's poorly written, then I won't try another book by the author. But if it's well written and the story told well, but I just didn't care for something in the story, then I might try the author again if I come across a new book that seems more to my tastes.

    Back in the day when I had the time to read a ton of books, I was much more apt to give authors 2 or 3 chances before deciding that the author's works just weren't for me. Especially if it was an author that was very popular.

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  4. Sorry, I deleted my previous comment to fix a bad typo... :)

    1) It depends. If it's the story-line I didn't care for, I'll definitely try another one. If I didn't care for the writing itself, that's harder. I'll try a second book *only* if it got better reviews and they mention some improvement over the last one, or if the blurb sounds really interesting and I've got nothing else to read.

    2) I would give up. It doesn't matter that everyone else raves about him/her; I've read plenty of supposedly 5-star reads that I didn't care for at all. If a book from a "new" (at least to me) author has great reviews, I'll try it for sure, but if I know from experience that the author's writing does nothing for me, I wouldn't.

    3) I know authors whose works fluctuate in quality (maybe they spend more time on one book than another?), so I wouldn't give up, but they would definitely not be on my auto-buy list. What I do in these cases is go carefully through several reviews and try to see if the quality is on par with the books I liked.

  5. Falconer, I hate that. I wish blogger offered a way to edit comments. I always see my typos after it is too late!

    I'd have to agree. If the writing is good, I'd probably try a second book if the author didn't have major issues that seem to annoy me like too many changing points of views (the cat's, etc).

    The strange thing is lately I have seen readers trying 4 books of an author they clearly didn't enjoy, at least based on their ratings, so how do you get to the point where you read 4 books when you hated the first two? I am puzzled by this.

    I used to read a historical romance author that I loved. Of the books she'd written only a few weren't keepers for me. But then she switched to contem romantic suspense and after two of those books I gave up. Now I don't ever read her new stuff. A shame.

  6. Ooh, good post!

    You know, there are so many things that persuade me to read something, or not to.

    A single author may write different genres. They may also write very different types of plots. Some of which would be my taste in stories, some not. I could love a bunch of books by one author and love their writing style, but that doesn't mean I will love all of their books.

    This is going to be tough, but I'll try to answer your questions as honestly as I can...


    If I read a book by a new to me author, and I really enjoy their writing style, but the plot wasn't something I loved, I would give them another shot.

    If I read two books and the author is new to me, but I absolutely couldn't stand any part of either story--in other words I couldn't even finish it--I more than likely won't try them again.

    As for loving one story and not loving others...that's happened to me many times. I wouldn't think the first one was a fluke, I would just think the first book was "my style" of story.

    In the end, I believe it's all about each person's different tastes.

  7. Sorry I am late - I agree good post, you gave me a lot to think about...

    1) Definately -Personnally - no book can be that bad that I can't find something positive to say about it.

    2)Yes I would - For me there are different levels of reading, we all have it, it might ne mood, interest or just impulse - after a while 3-4 books I'll probably regulate the author to one of those areas and drag out a book as and when I need to - but I wouldn't give up..

    3)I read a book and value each book based on what is infront of me ( i dont thikn the other book was better - i am reading this one now) - I am objective enough to like more than just the plot of a book - the style , descriptors, emotional balance, smut and other factors plays apart in what i like about an authors works.
    If I am lucky enough to pick up the best things of the author on my first attempt - something would cross over into the other books by him/her and thereby some level of consistency is maintained even if the other books plots are total light weight...

    Thanks for quick an insightful set of questions - hope the answers helped...


  8. Thanks for all your thoughts on this everyone. It certainly seems even in this small sampling we have differences in how we view giving authors different chances.

    I have favorite authors who are even rather forumulic in their stories, you know you pretty much always know what you are going to get. And even in some of the forumlic books I have favorites among them.

    E.H., you are definitely one of the most open-minded readers I have ever come across when it comes to books. And one of the things I appreciate about you is even where there is something you didn't care for in a book you mention it as a small niggle. You are always a class act.

  9. If the story reads like a textbook and I am bored beyond reason, then I cross the author off my list, but if the characters are well developed even in a so-so plot, then I will try the author again.

  10. I want to thank everyone again for their thoughts on this. I guess what prompted me to post was seeing ratings on a certain site that were one and two stars for books and yet those that rated the books thusly were continuing to read books by authors they clearly don't enjoy.

    I was puzzled by this. Anyway, thanks for the participation as always.