Thursday, September 28, 2006

Good Question

One of the comments to this post was made by our fair Amie who asked:

So I'm curious Wendy when do you give up on an auto-buy?

The short answer? Death.

The long answer? Oh sure, I might stop buying the offending author, but I won't necessarily stop reading them. Such is the downfall of being a librarian. I literally have access to millions of books, none of which I have to pay for. Plus, I seem to have attachment issues with series/authors I've been reading for a long time. Let's look at some examples:

Lilian Jackson Braun - Lord help me, I feel dirty admitting I still read her books. Longtime fans suggest that maybe the series is now being "ghostwritten." I contend that if they were being ghostwritten they'd be much better books. I stopped actually buying these books (I think) with #22, The Cat Who Robbed A Bank. Yet, I'm read up on the entire series, which will see #29 published in January. They're just plain bad. Once the bible for cozy mystery writers, the books have disintegrated with Stepford-like characters, little to no mystery, and pesky details left off like (oh I don't know) telling the reader the villains' motive! Hello?

Patricia Cornwell - Amazingly enough Blow Fly didn't push me over the edge. No it took Trace to do that, when it became very clear that the author was recycling her plots (alright, I'm a little slow). Seriously, if I read another Scarpetta book where Kay is dealing with office sabotage I swear I'll scream. I hate reading about victims, and that is what Kay has become. Also, I used to love the politically incorrect Marino - but he has since morphed from an intolerant, albeit excellent detective, to an intolerant sad sack who moons over Kay. And Lucy - could someone please shoot Lucy? That said, I still read the last book in the series, Predator, thanks to the library, and whenever The Book Of The Dead finally appears (I keep seeing conflicting pub dates) I'll borrow it from work as well.

Notice that both of these are series mystery writers. I don't seem to have a problem making a break from romance authors. Why? Because romances don't follow the same character through a series of books (they wouldn't be romances otherwise). There is little to no chance for me to get invested to the point that I can't stop myself. Also, a lot of my absolute favorites in romance have either 1) retired 2) started writing a different sub genre (and I didn't make the transition for one reason or another) or 3) haven't hit a skid yet.

Also, both of these mystery authors in question I started reading as a teen - so I have serious attachment issues to both. I keep telling myself the next book will be better. Let's call this The Danielle Steel Syndrome.

As it is, I think I have a serious problem - and as long as work can feed my habit, I'm not sure I'll ever make a clean break entirely.

(And for the record, while I was disappointed in the latest Gerritsen, I'll be buying her next book).


Rosie said...

My series addiction is Janet Evanovich's Stephanie Plum books. She just pubbed no. 12. At least half of TWELVE SHARP was just a recap of the series to date. HALF!! *sigh* But, I'm invested in the characters and want to know what she is going to do with them, so I'll probably buy the next one.

I'd go on the waiting list at the local library, but they have a limited number of copies and our area has tripled in size in the last 10 years. Unfortunately the same can't be said for the library budget. The paperback would be out before I'd get my turn to check out the HC.

Amie Stuart said...

I'm rolling at the Danielle Steel syndrome but I totally hear you! I have that same attachment to certain authors after 20 or so years (Koontz and for a long time, Jude Deveraux -- who i finally did give up on).

I gave up on Cornwell when she took a huge break between books, then the buzz on Blow Fly wasn't good so I skipped it *sigh*

It's tough to make that break. I still see authors I think I should/could buy (Johansen, Garwood etc) *sob*

Thanks WEndy!

Wendy said...

Hmmm, maybe you can chip in with friends. You know, y'all kick in a few bucks then pass the book around. I listen to Evanovich on audio, so the wait usually isn't too bad - and I can usually count on one laugh out loud scene. But yeah, they're getting more than a little redundant aren't they?

Amie: You lucky girl. I waited years for Blow Fly while the author was dinking around with Jack The Ripper. Then the book finally comes out and it sucks balls. Two words: Marino's son. I waited years for Cornwell to do something with this story line and it's so anti-climactic I wanted to hurl my hard cover copy against the wall.

Probably would have too if I didn't think it would have ruined the dry wall....

Amie Stuart said...

You know there's a part of me that wishes it DIDN'T suck! *doublesigh*