Saturday, May 15, 2010

Bad Books

Quick short post today and I'm stealing the idea from the Wall Street Journal's Book Lover (Cynthia Crossen) (5/14/10). Anyway, someone wrote in to discuss how a favorite author can seriously disappoint a reader on a follow-up book. The Book Lover agreed that authors can write lousy books, and then make a come-back with brilliance. It happens.

The Book Lover used John Irving as her example. She loved World According to Garp and The Cider House Rules. Subsequent works, not so much. She writes, "Either he changed, or I did, or both, and now I don't even try to read his work."

Who's your disappointing author? Two came to mind immediately. Donna Tartt wrote The Secret History, and I loved that book. Then ten years (ten years later!) The Little Friend was published and ugh!, an absolute beating to read. I don't know that I even finished it. Same with Alice Sebold's The Lovely Bones. Wow! I was enthralled with that book and recommended it to everyone. Then she came out with Almost Moon. Blecch!

Aldous Huxley said, "A bad book is as much of a labor to write as a good one, it comes as sincerely from the author's soul."


  1. There was a discussion on another blog about Susan Wittig Albert who, after writing many entertaining books, has changed her writing style - very disappointing. I've also picked up books that give the authors name followed by "with". This usually means that someone else wrote it and the author did nothing but cast a cursory glance at the writing. I've been disappointed in some of Clive Cussler's "with" books and also Janet Evanovich - steer clear of these.
    Ann Summerville
    Cozy In Texas

  2. This is how I feel about James Patterson. Used to love his books but he has been having everyone else write his books and then he puts his name on it because it was his idea. I used to read his stuff all the time, now I won't pick them up. Boring! I did however like one author with Patterson's name on it and that was, Against Medical Advice: A True Story
    by James Patterson, Hal Friedman.