May 25, 2013

A Reader's Quirks #1: Are You Attached to Authors?

I'm not really sure where this idea came from...other than the old desire to do something more interactive - and not necessarily review-related - on my blog. So, I thought I'd do a random feature about the who, what, where, when and why of reading, talking about my own relationship with books/genres/authors, and asking my visitors to do the same if they feel so inclined. This could have been easily turned into a meme, but there's a reason why it didn't...I still don't see myself as an established enough blogger to host yet another meme. Even those with an impressive number of followers aren't necessarily overwhelmed with participations, so I'm not going there just yet. This doesn't mean "A Reader's Quirks" won't be promoted to meme's status one day, should it be the case. It's all up to you, really :).
A quick reminder...everyone can comment on my blog, though this means for me to fight spam endlessly. But it matters to me that anyone can join the conversation. As for CAPTCHA...everyone hates it...so I'm trying not to follow that path. At least till I can manage my spam ;).
So my first reading-related question is...

ARE YOU ATTACHED TO AUTHORS?

Harsh as it may sound, I'd say no - in most cases at least. It's not like I automatically go out and buy every single book by an author because I previously appreciated one (or more) of her/his novels. As far as YA authors go, there is one notable exception to this quirk of mine, though in turn that exception has exceptions.


See this man? (...err...old pic...apparently, there is no other of him).

Kevin McFadden, known as Christopher Pike (from the Star Trek character), born November 12 1954 in NY, more than 50 teen and adult books under his belt. I dedicated a whole Blog Room to his teen-aimed novels, while his (definitely small) adult production is recounted here.


Well.
I can say he's my favourite (mainly)-YA author, since I'm buying the vast majority of his books. Still - yes - not every single one of them. Because he also wrote some fantasy novels for teens (Alosha, The Shaktra, The Yanti and The Secret of Ka) along with a middle-grade series (Spooksville). As for fantasy, it's not a genre that I normally read, so I'm not particularly inclined to purchase those books. As for middle grade stuff...no, thanks. Also, Pike wrote a chapter in the Cheerleader series ages ago, and I'm definitely passing on that one ;P.
My fascination with Christopher Pike resides in his weird world(s) far more than in his writing skills. There are better novelists in my opinion, even in the YA universe. I've read some of them. Still, while I appreciate their way with words and world-building and characters, I don't usually ready every book they put out. But like I said, even with Pike I draw a line somewhere - though a very thin one.
I'm a die-hard fan of classic thrillers. You might say I have a very comprehensive collection of Agatha Christie/Ellery Queen/John Dickson Carr/Rex Stout books (I may blog about them at a later point)...and I'm trying to buy them all. But even with those authors, it's not about them, it's about the genre. The kind of entertainment they provide. Though I read both Agatha Christie's autobiography and travel book, and I'm even considering buying the novels she wrote as Mary Westmacott...but I suppose she's my only one exception as far as adult authors go.

Back to YA novelists. I've enjoyed some books immensely, to the point I gave them 5 stars...but they were mostly one-shot to me. For example...


Sweethearts
was Zarr's first novel in print
(2008)

Sara Zarr is the author of Sweethearts (read my review here), a bittersweet contemporary novel about soulmates, growing up and staying true to oneself. She has actually written five books to date, all in the contemporary field. As you may know by now, contemporary is not my favourite genre...even when it doesn't revolve around the classic boy-meets-girl theme, as it is the case with Zarr. A contemporary story must somehow mirror my younger self (or even my present self...I admit it) in order to interest me. Themes like m\f friendship or one's authenticity sit well with me, so I loved this particular novel. And it was even well written, which, alas, doesn't necessarily happen. Having said so, I'm not particularly interested in reading more of Zarr's books, though I wouldn't be averse to borrow them if I could! But Sweethearts I did buy...and it's a keeper :).


Book 1 in the Cold Awakening
trilogy came out in 2008

Robin Wasserman (what a cool site she has!) wrote the wonderful, partly underestimated Cold Awakening (previously titled Skinned) trilogy (I haven't reviewed it yet). It involves sci-fi, dystopia and ethics - themes that I tend to dig with a passion. The rest of her productions - especially the Seven Deadly Sins series - takes a detour from those...I have, however, great expectations about The Waking Dark, so I put it in my TR list. Apparently, it's partly mystery, partly horror, and will be out in September. Since I like Wasserman's writing style and - in this case - the book is rooted in one of the worlds I prefer to enter when reading (the thriller universe), it's likely that TWD can suit my tastes.


An interesting insight into
Scoppettone's work here
Sandra Scoppettone is both an adult (Lauren Laurano series) and a teen author (though she only wrote a few YA books). Her adult novels are thrillers of the hard-boiled variety - and I have already stated that I like my mysteries old-fashioned. (That is, my literary mysteries...with TV, I tend to go all C.S.I. ;). Oh, never mind). Being sensible to the GLBTQ and friendship themes, I loved Scoppettone's Trying Hard to Hear You (to be reviewed). There's another one of her novel along the same lines, Happy Endings Are All Alike, but being an oldie I wasn't able to get it from my usual webstores. I was lucky to find THTHY (a 1974 novel) years ago, translated in Italian. I also read her teen thriller Playing Murder (my review here), but unlike THTHY, it shows its age.


So, basically...I hardly get attached to authors, it seems. Though I highly respect those who aren't afraid of plunging into different worlds and syles. But, being so picky (and having a very limited budget), I have to draw a line somewhere. With me, it's mainly about the genre - and the particular story that is being told. What about you?

For more Reader's Quirks click here.
Like to talk books? You might also be interested in this post. Comments are welcome! 

10 comments:

  1. I do get attached to authors but I rarely auto buy a book just because of who the author is. I tend to examine each new book on their own merit to see if I like the idea of the plot or not.
    I find using twitter and following authors tends to strengthen the attachment as you get details of the writing process and it builds up pre book hype.
    BookishTrish @ Between the Lines

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I don't have Twitter (really!), but I do get what you mean. On the other hand, having a limited budget (my case) helps with the selection...

      Thanks for stopping by...4 comments! You made my day! When I went on my page and saw the number, I thought they were all random russian spam LOL.

      Delete
  2. Hmm... Sorry I'm late commenting :P You saw my post today so you know it was about the meaning of reviews & stuff. I'm glad you've mentioned how some authors can be one-time & others we're attached to. It's connections in one of the most simplest ways, through reading their written words novelised.
    It's not often a book that gets me attached these days though, it's the same as with Trish. When I was littler I was more easily attached. My bookshelves would have the same names over & over again. I used to have a whole shelf for an amazing Jacqueline Wilson collection. It included all her books and now? It's gone. Was I attached for long? Maybe not to the content of all her books but some of them I remember & would pick up again. It's even truer with, say, Cassy Cassidy. I am not attached to them, I was to their books. Is that different?
    They aren't familiar authors to me any more in the same way. I haven't communicated with them. I don't feel like I could go & have an awesome conversation with them between, and hopefully not instead of much, reading. Talking isn't everything and it can harm, not just bless. There are some authors I talk to I've/I'd read more than once. They are my friends & so are their books! Others I preferred to their books. I hate that; I will still leave a review but I don't want them to see the 2*/3* rating. I publicize it less & all because I'd hate conflict. It will probably leave their ego in tact. That's what I want. Normally I'd love to have an effect on sales but when I post negative reviews? I just want my opinion out for my blog readers. The authors? Yikes!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I hear you. I guess nowadays is easy to "meet" authors and "make friends" with them, because of Facebook, Twitter and whatnot. And if you happen not to like one of their books so much...you feel guilty posting a review - or, like you say, there may be conflict. On the other hand, you feel the need to be honest...and that's OK. I read a statement a writer made about less-than-positive reviews...they're for readers, not for authors. Maybe this person was in the minority as far as this opinion goes, or she (I seem to remember a she) was simply trying to overcome the sour taste of her first 2-star review. Anyway, most of the times it's true, I think (and you think, I see ;)).

      Attachment to authors, in my case, means buying all their books, not feeling like they're friends or something along those lines. But then again, I don't have Facebook or Twitter or Google + or what else is there...only a Goodreads page. I only talked to a couple of authors there so far. To date, they only have a book out each. And out of those two, I only bought one for now. Like I said, writers who can change genre or style to a certain extent are awesome...but there are genres that I don't particularly like...so I don't feel inclined to follow them all the way. I'm kind of scared about actually making friends with authors. I want no strings attached when I review. And I will go on reading the genres I like, regardless of the writes who put those books out...

      Delete
  3. First of all - High five for Christopher Pike!!!!!!!

    At first I was all "I totally get attached to authors" but really, I have just a few that I get attached to. CP is one, though I have not read all his books. I went through a rather lengthy Nora Roberts phase but I haven't read her books in a while. I would have said that I would through JK Rowling in this category, but have ZERO desire to read The Casual Vacancy.

    So that leaves me with - Sophie Kinsella, Jill Shalvis and Christopher Pike. CP is the only YA writer, mostly because 1 or 2 or even 3 books isn't enough for me to become permanently attached because I don't have enough awesome books to offset it.

    Great topic!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Slap! *high-fives Kimberly* :D

      I remember a page of your blog dedicated to a Christopher Pike challenge...but you didn't list any book, so I assume you never got round to complete it...
      CP is maybe the only long-time active writer who still appeals to new generations...let's face it, his writing is far from stellar, but his over-the-top ideas don't fail to captivate.

      I guess none of us has more than a couple of authors they get attached to...and often, not to the point of buying ALL their stuff, whatever the reason. Maybe it's because there are so many writers out there, and most of them have at least a great plot-idea or address an issue we are interested in...

      Delete
  4. I think I do get attached to authors, but I'm more attached to money so I won't auto buy others I really love. However, Ally Carter is the exception but that's probably because I'm in the middle of the series and I'll preorder the next one :) Great post, made me think :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. LOL @ the money comment! Auto-buy is though, with all the series (or even standalones) that one is interested in, from so many different authors.

      I'm glad I made you think - thanks!

      Delete
  5. Interesting post. I find that there are some authors I am attached to, and I tend to purchase their new books without getting them from the library first (which doesn't happen very often). However, that's only a for a very few authors; I've been burned by a few before, so I tend to do the "try before I buy" option from the library.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Libraries are a good option...after all, if the book is good - or meets one's tastes - one will probably buy it anyway and treasure it. Also, many authors tend to branch out of their main genre, and while it's commendable, it's not like a reader has to feel comfortable with all the different ones. For instance, I'm not usually a fan of contemporary, though I did find a few books in that area that I loved just because they dealt with particular themes. But as I stated in my post, it doesn't mean I plan on reading all the books by those specific authors.

      Thanks for commenting!

      Delete

Welcome to Offbeat YA! I love hearing from you and always - I mean always - acknowledge your comments. Also, this is a full democracy place, because anyone can comment - you don't need to be a registered member of any community. (On the other hand, trying to spam me won't work, because I moderate each and every comment...). So jump right in! Come on, you know you want to... ;) And be sure to leave a link!
BTW...I don't care if a post is a million months old - you comment, I respond. And you make my day. :D
Note: this is an award/tag free blog. Sorry I can't accept nominations due to lack of time.