[personal profile] sartorias aka Sherwood Smith has a fascinating discussion going over on her LJ about when you only like one (or, if they're prolific, two or three) of an author's works and bounce off the rest. So far the responses have mostly been people commisserating and sharing which authors and which books affected them this way, but there's also been some discussion of why this happens.

I don't think there's any one answer to that question myself -- the reasons are as diverse as the individual readers. Sometimes the author undergoes an ideological or philosophical transformation between books (or even just becomes bolder about expressing the views they already had) which leads to a irreconcilable conflict of my thinking and theirs, or pushes my tolerance for those differences over the limit. (See: Philip Pullman.) Sometimes it turns out that the things I loved best about the author's first book -- the style, the tone, the atmosphere -- don't carry over into subsequent novels because they were a feature of that story, not the author's writing as a whole (such as Beagle's The Last Unicorn, which I mentioned in the comments of Sherwood's post). And sometimes I eagerly expect certain things from a series or sequel to a book I really loved, only to find that the author had a completely different plan and veers off in a direction that doesn't interest me at all (I've heard several readers say this about Maria Snyder's Study books, for instance).

Then there's the rarer phenomenon when you love an author's prose but not their poetry (or essays, or what-have-you); or you think them brilliant scriptwriters (or lyricists) but terrible novelists, or the other way around. The ability to put together words in an arrangement that pleases you in one medium doesn't always carry over to others, and that can cause this kind of dissonance as well.

What about you? If you have a much-loved book or books by a certain author but found that most or all of their other works left you cold, what were your reasons for feeling that way? Feel free to comment on either my post or [personal profile] sartorias's as it pleases you; I'll see it in either case.

Flying Visits

Nov. 18th, 2009 03:26 pm
rj_anderson: (Author Portrait)
I drove to Toronto this morning to do an author visit with fifty schoolchildren aged 9-11, and it was so much fun. The kids all sat cross-legged on the floor and looked up at me with big eyes, which is pretty endearing to start with, and they were really attentive while I was talking about the book and reading. And afterward, they asked great questions -- I've been amazed by the insight and degree of interest some of these kids have in the process of writing.

I got a chuckle out of the boy in the front row who raised his hand toward the end of the session and asked plaintively, "Do you have any books that aren't about faeries?" He was so polite about it!

Really, I love doing visits and readings. And I hope to do some more of them now that I've joined the Skype an Author Network, which makes me potentially available to school groups, book clubs, and libraries all over the world by web chat. I got to do a little test run with a group of librarians yesterday thanks to [livejournal.com profile] kmessner, just a 15-minute meet the author thing (including a super-short reading from Faery Rebels: Spell Hunter), and it went off without a hitch.

So if you're a librarian or a teacher anywhere in the world, and you think you might like to have me speak to your school group or book club, check out my author page on Skype an Author Network and drop me a line!
Start Time: 9:00 a.m.
Finish Time: 11:59 a.m.
Title of Book: Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince

And now, for my reaction [emotions only, no specific spoilers] )

I will post something more coherent, with actual details, at a later time.

ETA: There are now some specific spoilers in the comments, so if you were hoping to just read my general reaction and are still trying to avoid the details, don't read the comments, K?


Jun. 21st, 2005 10:00 pm
rj_anderson: (James Marsh - The Colour of Spring)
Checked out from library: 9:45 a.m.
Began reading: 12:15 p.m.
Finished reading: 9:49 p.m.

Allowing for several breaks to deal with various child-related duties, including the making and serving of lunch and dinner, subtract an hour and a half approximately, and that makes the total reading time something like eight hours.

And the name of this book that I read today?

Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell, by Susanna Clarke. All 782 pages of it, including every one of the footnotes.

Seriously, I do not know how I do this. I specifically tried to slow down and not skim it too fast, and yet, there it is, finished already. Which is testimony to how much I enjoyed it, because in spite of the fact that the first half does move quite slowly and it takes a while to get to the real action and crisis of the plot, I didn't feel any inclination to put it down and walk away (except when I had to).

*stretches in a languid, satisfied way* It's been a long time since I could really immerse myself in a thick, meaty book like that. A good warm-up for HBP, I expect...
Yes, believe it or not, I have actually updated. Some thoughts on reading to my four-year-old son, and an update on the status of my original novel, at Parabolic Reflections. Or [livejournal.com profile] rjanderson_blog if you prefer the syndicated version.


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