I’m sure you all experience this too. You discover an author that you really enjoy, and you plan to start reading all their books from the beginning, but you get waylaid, and stop after the first few.
This is the case with me and Laurie Graham. Pre-blog, I read her first four novels, published annually from 1996 and loved them all – they were funny, yet moving and deal with real life – The Dress Circle is about a Transvestite dad for instance. They reminded me of Sue Townsend – less overtly comic, but full of great observations.
Then I stopped as her writing took a slightly different tack with her next novel Future Homemakers of America and it didn’t fit with my reading likes at the time. I bought the book though, it’s still waiting there for me.
Since then, she’s written another handful of novels set in earlier decades of the 20th century, including ones based on the Windsors and Kennedys, a couple more written back in the present, and then turned further back in history with A Humble Companion.
Every single one of those novels above are on my shelves. I always knew I’d start reading and, I’m sure, loving them again.
I also see that she has a new novel coming out in October. The Liar’s Daughter continues her historical pattern, and is set in Portsmouth during the time of Nelson.
I can’t wait to get reacquainted with Laurie Graham’s books. I’ll happily read them all! She’s a British author well worth exploring and you can read more about her on her own website here.
Which authors have you got waylaid from, but intend to revisit? Do tell…
22 thoughts on “Losing Touch With Authors”
The major one I’ve fallen away from is Gyles Brandreth and his Oscar Wilde mystery series. OH has got me all of them in lovely new hardbacks for the last several Christmases and although I devoured the first three as soon as I got them, the rest are languishing on Mount TBR – and I don’t know why because I loved the ones I’ve read! Maybe the mood or the moment just isn’t right?
I have the first two of these – never got started. I’m glad to know they’re good, as I do like Brandreth’s writing.
I like them a lot – Brandreth can write, he captures the period well, and I love the concept of Wilde and Doyle off solving mysteries!
Douglas Coupland is one for me read every book up to about ten years ago and then not read any recently not sure why I loved his books in my thirties and sure I’d love them still got hi. Thief recently so may read that next week when I’m off it is a shame to loss touch sometimes
Coupland is another for me too – when I first read MIcroserfs I went ‘wow!’ but I’m less excited by his books these days… a bit more hit and miss.
Simon Brett. I used to love his mystery crossed with gentle comedy genre and was so excited that he had such an extensive back catalogue for me to explore… until one day I decided that they were all too similar to each other.
I’ve never read Simon Brett – I can understand not continuing with a series or pausing for some time if they’re a bit samey. (Ditto for me with M C Beaton) The great thing about Laurie Graham’s novels though is that they’re all different.
They do sound it, which makes it interesting to see how the developments go. I used to like samey, but now I am much more excited if authors bring out different types of work, but with a trademark style.
Barbara Kingsolver. I read all her earlier novels, essays and short stories and then there were no more to read. I probably began reading more older books again as I have from time to time over the years and do at the moment. So I have The Lacuna on my kindle and Flight Behaviour in paperback, and I really mean to get around to them sometime.
Lacuna is great, truly worth reading.
I’m another one who has moved away from Barbara Kingsolver. I think it was because she had a gap herself from writing novels and I sort of forgot about her.
Of course, from time to time this happens because we change as readers and what we once enjoyed no longer appeals to us. Sometimes it may be no bad thing but a sign that we are growing in terms of what we want to spend our time with.
I loved that book by Laurie Graham on the Kennedys. Simply hoovered it up – so smart and funny and insightful. She is someone who falls under my radar too at times, so I know exactly what you mean!
I became disenchanted with Janet Evanovich over the last 2-3 years. There was a time when the new Stephanie Plum books were all I cared about, but my tastes as a reader have definitely changed, and her books aren’t getting more interesting. I do kind of want to revisit her just for old time’s sake. I also feel this way about Sophie Kinsella. Thanks for the post on Graham, her books seem like they would be enjoyable!
Ooh me too – read the first half a dozen Stephanie Plums then gave up.
I’d argue that I always planned to return to Graham though, as all her books are so different – else I wouldn’t routinely buy them (I think).
I’m sure that I’ve unintentionally lost far too many authors, but the one I know I’m behind with is Deborah Crombie. I really must catch up, because I love her books ans she has grown over the the dozen or more I’ve read.
I’ve read a few by Laurie Graham and I would read more if they appeared in the library at the right moment.
Oh gosh, Ruth Rendell for me. I had this grand plan that I was going to read all of her books in order of publication (the Ruth Rendell ones and the Barbara Vine ones), and then I just didn’t do it. I need to get back to it!
I am a terrible reader, so I don’t have an author I follow like that. But, I recall individual books I was forced to read in school and a few that made an impact, giving me the itch to go find them, again. One of those authors was Robin McKinley. And, the book that “bit” me was “The Hero and the Crown,” the second in her “dragon-tamer”/blue sword trilogy which–at the time–I thought was just a singular book. Many years later, I went to a bookstore, saw that book I read beside one about a woman and her elegant dog by Robin, and bought both. To this day, I haven’t read the one about the dog. But, it’s hopefully in my archives somewhere, waiting for the right time.
I hate to admit it–because I am not entirely happy with the series for a few reasons–but I have been reading almost a dozen of Sue Grafton’s “alphabet mysteries.” And, that’s the most I’ve ever read of any series by any author.
I thought you might go more into being turned off by an author when they change their “style”or genre. I heard about Beverly Cleary or someone like her from that era being criticized for writing a “mature” book about a teenage girl after writing so many youthful kids books. While I understand how some might be thrown by such a switch, people have to understand that a human mind goes through many changes. Our tastes, interests and outlooks change with age. So, Harry Potter can’t go on forever. But, one James Bond might go on for decades while another only lasts a trilogy. Every writer or artist carries a period for so long like a star holds its color. Then, something changes in them; and that affects their work.
I can think of how my following of comic books changed, growing up. I recall being turned off when a costume or origin story changed. I was an Iron Man fan until his suit went red and white with a triangle on it. I didn’t think “big picture” or know the comic that well back then. So, I took the change as a bad thing. But, now, I see it was just the character evolving/changing as we all do (when life changes us).
That was definitely why I stopped back then with the author I use as an example. But I want to read those books I missed now – I’ve changed so much as a reader – as I hope we all do.
Truth be told, only the most accepting and evolved (or darkly curious?) person will read everything a diversifying author writes and like all of it. But, people like me and anyone with more finicky tastes will be put off if a favored author writes something that goes against their “code”. I just thought of another comic book series I had to throw out a few issues of because they were upsetting. I could not keep the whole series. The same goes with “The Simpsons” cartoon. It’s one of the most brilliant cartoons I’ve ever seen. But, some episodes cross a line with me. So, I cannot love the show as a whole.