I’m not always a forgiving reader.
By this I mean that if I don’t like the first book I read by a certain author – or even if I think it’s just okay – the chances are very slim that I’ll read anything else by that same person. I don’t always consciously not choose to read their other work – it’s just that, when given a choice of an author who has given me a lukewarm reading experience versus trying someone new, I’ll usually go for the new.
I realize that this is a somewhat judgmental, unfair and rather high standard, not to mention coming across as being kind of hypocritical. I mean, I think my short story “Extractions” is pretty decent and I happen also to think that I’ve written better stuff and hopefully, I’ll continue to do so.
I’m thinking about all this because both the book I’m reading and my audiobook are by two authors whose previous books I read and wasn’t all that enthusiastic about.
And I’m really enjoying these two.
The Paying Guests by Sarah Waters is for a getting out of the house and doing something fun book club discussion/get-together with local writerly-type friends this Wednesday. That is, assuming I finish this in time, which is looking quite doubtful because I’m only on page 70 and my understanding is that one really should have this finished in order to talk about it.
Regardless, I probably wouldn’t have picked this up at all because I was in the minority of book bloggers for not liking The Little Stranger (you can read my review here) but at 70 pages into The Paying Guests, I cannot put this down. What bugged me about The Little Stranger (I really didn’t like the characters) is quite the opposite here, not to mention the writing itself. The innuendo, the subtleties in the sentences, the foreboding, the symbolism … it’s absolutely fantastic. I am riveted. Love this one and I have a whole new appreciation for Sarah Waters now.
As emotionally-intense as The Paying Guests is, I needed something a little lighter and on the nonfiction side as an audiobook. I’m not sure if Under Magnolia: A Southern Memoir fits the “light” qualification, but I’m enjoying this much more than Under the Tuscan Sun, which, as you can tell from my review, I found pretentious and patronizing in places.
There are some choppy and sometimes hard-to-follow sections of Under Magnolia, but I’m appreciating Frances Mayes’ reflections about memory, family and place. For whatever reason, I can relate to this one a little more than Under the Tuscan Sun.
Or, maybe it’s just the fact that a book set in the South is making me feel warmer – although I know that some Southern states have been getting some snow and colder than usual temperatures, too. We are in the midst of yet ANOTHER snowstorm here in Pittsburgh – expecting a total of 4″-7″ by tomorrow morning, oh joy – so there will be some reading time this afternoon.
What are YOUR thoughts on giving an author a second chance?
If you find a book to be just meh, how likely are you to try another book by that author?
And tell me some examples!