Although it goes against my natural inclinations there are some books I don’t finish reading. I never feel good about it when I reach that decision but it feels like life is too short to spend on books that I’m not really in love with. Unless I can truly believe in the characters the whole story rings false.
I don’t mind when it is an author I’m new to or not very fond of but when it’s an author I’ve loved and followed for a long time it feels doubly disappointing. I am loyal to a couple of authors and always get excited when they have new novels out but when their books start to feel too formulaic or predictable I sadly stop reading them.
This has happened with 3 authors I can think of.
When our Healthy Planet book shop opened up I found a new interest in the genre of crime novels. I collected nearly all the works of one particular female crime writer . I got immersed in the world of her characters but her latest novel left me feeling pretty cold. There seemed to be nothing new or fresh just a rehashing of past stories with an ending that was fairly obvious. I don’t feel good saying this. I feel disloyal but you have to speak as you find.
The second example was a female author who wrote touching family dramas. I had liked her writing for many years but I realised when I reread her books recently they all ended with a particularly nasty twist. You would just be sighing a breath of relief that the characters you’d been rooting for had survived when they’d meet a horrible end. It felt as if all the time invested in reading these stories was a waste of time.
The last example was a male writer who mostly wrote lawyer novels and I enormously enjoyed his earlier novels but his latest offerings seem to have lost their way somewhat.
Let me reiterate that I don’t feel good criticising these authors. That is why I’ve chosen not to name them although that may seem cowardice.
I know writing is difficult. It’s not easy to constantly reinvent your characters or scenarios for them. Perhaps some novels are too heavily or unkindly edited. Really this is all a moot point as I’m not a published writer so what do I know? I am merely giving my opinion.
I expect the problem lies with me and not the writers. I’m the same when I watch films. I can always guess how they will end.
I just think it’s a pity when authors seem to have given up or are trading on their reputations.
Writers must think about what their audiences want or they will wind up losing them, as in the case of a very recent novel when the writer killed off a very major character to the chagrin of her readers.