Wednesday, February 10, 2010

I'm ruined...

As a reader, that is. I'm now convinced of it. I've written on this blog before about how much my own reading has fallen off - and not just because I'm busy writing. I recently finished the latest release from a NY Times Bestselling author. I like her books - no, I love her books. I like the way she writes, I like her characters and she's certainly a 'I'll buy any book with her name on it' author for me and will remain so. I was really looking forward to reading this book. It was good, but not great and I don't think it had anything to do with her writing or the quality of it. It was me. All me. I've changed as a reader because 18 months ago I wouldn't have questioned the over-reaching secondary plot, I wouldn't have raised any eyebrows at the rapid POV changes, I wouldn't have felt disappointed at how/when conflicts were resolved, I wouldn't have thought some of the plot devices were predictable and I wouldn't have even considered the pacing of the book. I didn't even know what most of that stuff was! So, what gives? Is there anyone else out there that has experienced a changed reader experience? Am I really ruined as a reader?


  1. Here Hear Kaily ! Count me in.

    I was so excited when a lovely friend of mine mailed me a few books - since in India apart from a few M&B titles, we dont get any. Ripped apart the box to get to the books and ...

    Well, what do I know.. The book totally threw me off. Harsh POV jumps - around 3-4 within one page and the pacing was confusing that I really didn't feel the usual satisfaction though it was an HEA. It was the first of a series and I dreaded to pick the second winking at me from within the box.

    I think this could be a "writer's bane" or the "work-hazards" and we have to live with it !

  2. Ah yes, you've joined an elite sisterhood. You're now a disciminating reader/author. I like the darker stuff, the stories that ride right on the edge, as of late, most of th erotica I find is either really heavy on the sex for the sake of sex, or the plot is so foolish that you wonder how it got pubbed. I asked a friend, 'Have I become snobby as a reader, or have my tastes become more refined?' Her answer: you know what's good and can better spot it.

    If the writer you're reading is truly gifted, then the little things won't matter, but then again every writer has that one or two stories that just aren't quite up to par.

    You might be a little ruined, but it's a good thing.

  3. I really understand this author conflict. I know I've become tarnished as a reader. I don't think I'm a good writer yet, so I pick and pick at my own work until I am tired of it. I have favorite bestselling authors too, and I see their work as not as good as I once did. I think the authors who've been around a while are even worse with the things you describe! I guess I could say to all of us, welcome to the new author's bane!

  4. Ha! Yep, I'm with you there Kaily. I'm totally ruined as a reader. I can even notice writing type stuff while I'm watching TV. I'm like an actor 'what's his motivation here?'. Lol! It's really annoying. :-)

  5. Yes, yes, YES! Headhopping drives me crazy, and many NYT bestselling authors do it.

  6. I'm the same...I've gotten so picky. Though, strangely enough, the more I write, the more I appreciate my two favorite authors (Nora Roberts and Jeaniene Frost) for consistently keeping me glued to my seat...

  7. I'm just as picky as you.... but I have learned to turn off the inner editor so I can enjoy a book. I tell myself that someone saw something in this book. I mean it's published and right where I'd like my book to be, so I look for what made it good enough.

  8. Ahh but when you get your hands on a really great writer you won't stop to analyse and that makes up for all the rest ;)

  9. Yep, Sometimes the inner editor turns itself off when it encounters a story where the plot, the characters and the conflict are so intriguing and gets us to the state of - Gosh, What'll happen next. Read, read, read ;)
    Count that as 1/10 books :(
    So my 'work hazard' has cost me my most favorite hobby.

  10. Wow! I can't tell you how relieved I am to know I'm not alone.
    Ju - work hazards. I'm with you! I think MY favorite hobby has become writing so I'm actually becoming OK with less reading :)
    Wendy - I never thought it could be a sign that I'm getting better as a writer. A good way to look at it.
    Kaye - I certainly don't look at authors I've loved forever the same way anymore.
    Jackie - yes, I can relate to the TV thing as well. Of course, I don't watch as much TV as I used to either, but never equated it to the same thing as reading.
    Helen - yes the headhopping seems to be even more prevelant with more established authors for some reason.
    Cari - Nora is one of my long time favorites as well. I've become very, very picky as well as intolerant. I won't give a book as long as I used to to hook me. I'm more likely to just put it down and not read any more.
    Lynne - I'll look forward to the day when I can perhaps turn off the inner editor as well. I think I'm far from that though!
    Lacey - yes, I think if I'm not thinking about the mechanics of the writing, I've found another go to author.

  11. Sure, I'm a pickier reader, but I look on it as an opportunity to learn. If I'm not enjoying a book as much as I used to I analyze all the different elements. If a book grabs me, and I'm not analyzing, then I know it's a great book.

    I think all most readers want is a great story. It's us writers who get hung up on all the so-called rules. :)

  12. Shelley, if I'm not enjoying a book, I do try to analyze why. It is a learning experience. These days though I just can't force myself through the entire book if it doesn't grab me. Yes. At the end of the day it's about a great story well told!