Sunday, July 6, 2008

Author-Reader Chemistry

Sometimes you meet someone new and you just click. There was that girl in your psych class in college. You started talking and suddenly it is as though you have known each other for years. Ten years later the two of you are still good friends. Then there are those people you meet and promptly forget. Or perhaps you start talking and everything they say and do just rubs you the wrong way. It all comes down to chemistry. I'm not just talking romantic chemistry, simply interpersonal compatibility. I think we, as readers, have this with each author we read. There are those that click with us in such a way that no matter what they write we will read it. If Patricia Briggs or Suze Brockmann wrote a pamphlet on how to set the clock on your VCR, I would devour it. Then there are the authors you never click with no matter how hard you try. It could be a case of the disappearing plot: you close the book on the final page and promptly forget all that you just read. It could be characters that rub you the wrong way (too abrasive for your taste, TSTL, too Alpha, etc.) Maybe you do not enjoy the genre the author writes. Perhaps their style is either more flowery or concise than you prefer. It happens. Bad chemistry happens to good authors.

And to good readers.

I have tried, really I have. For whatever reason, Ms. Eloisa James and I have no chemistry. It is not that I think her writing is bad. Quite the contrary. I just can not seem to connect with her characters. I am unable to become invested in them. It finally hit me when I realized that I was procrastinating so that I did not have to read. What??!!?!?! Reading is my number one tool for procrastination. I actually feel kind of bad about this. I want to like her books. It just boils down to the author-reader chemistry, which sadly she and I lack.

Has this happened to you, either good or bad? What authors have you immediately clicked with? Which ones are you unable love, despite your best efforts?


Anonymous said...

I have too many author that just clicked. I love Jessica Bird, can't help it. (I also love her JR Ward stuff.) And I know I lot of people don't like her contemp stuff. Another author who I adore is Sarh Mayberry. She has only done some catagory romances for Blaze, but I have loved every single one. One had me in tears it was soo good.

One author I can't read, I just can't is JRR Tolkien. I have tried, I really, really have but I just find it cringeworthy. I am so glad they made the movies cause I loved those, just hated the books.

barb said...

I tried to read a couple of different Danielle Steele books, and I just couldn't make it through them.

On the other hand, I read every book Johanna Lindsey churns out, no matter how repetitive the plots and characters get to be. I can't help myself!

Stacy~ said...

I have trouble with her books too. I did get into James' last series until the last book - "To Tame The Duke" I think it was, and was soooo disappointed.

Nora is another one that I don't really click with, but I love the JD Robb books.

Brockmann and Kleypas are two authors I would buy anything from. They own me.

Jill D. said...

There have been authors that I haven't been able to click with and I am glad to see I am not alone. I always feel bad because I know other people have read and enjoyed this author's books. So why, am I not enjoying myself? I hate to say it, but I think Nalini Singh, is one of those authors. I also could never get into Lara Adrian's books.

But I absolutely love Shannon McKenna and I know you had a hard time with her last book Extreme Danger. I don't know what it is about her style, but I just eat it up. Isn't it funny how tastes differ?

I haven't ever read Eloise James so I can't say one way or the other with her.

Sarai said...

I'm with Sayuri I have way too many I click with (Lisa Kleypas, Christina Dodd (some like her others hate her) Nalini Singhi, Lara Adrian, Josh Lanyon, Jet Mykles and others)

Then there are the others like JR Ward for example I can't get into her. I don't care for Danielle Steele or Sandra Brown don't know why I just don't click with them.

Just chalk it up as a no buy author and move on you never know maybe down the road when your taste change (b/c mine tend to every 3 or 4 years) you might want to come back to her and decide you like her or not...

caitlin said...

I have to agree with sayuri60 on the JRR Tolkien thing. I had a friend in high school who loved the whole Hobbitt series, but try as I might, I just don't get 'it'. I've never had any desire to see the movies, either.
On the other hand, the authors I love normally don't write 'fantasy' books, so it's not fair for me to compare. It might not be the author so much as genre for me, although every now and then even my favorite authors will write a 'bzzzt!' book.

little alys said...

No chemistry with so many authors it's actually sad. Another thing I have is fading chemistry. At first, everything's wonderful. It clicks, we connect, it's great. burns out...or it's the same things over and over again and I just sorta stop.

Maybe it's just me. :p

Carolyn Jean said...

Great post! You know what one I've never clicked with is that whole Carpathian series - Dark Knight or something? I was like, whaaa?

And when an author starts a novel with pages of backstory tucked into action, so you have to read a page of history before you hear the next line of dialogue in a tense scene, immediate turnoff!!!