Tuesday, 15 January 2008

New Authors For Old

Getting late, so quick post today.

Something I forgot to add in my little meme about 2007's reads - old and new authors. I mentioned that six of the books were re-reads, but haven't brought up the issue of whether authors are first-time-reads or not.

So I had a look at last year. 53 of them were books by authors I hadn't read before. Hmm. Quite a few of those were for review but, still, quite interesting. And does leave over 30 which were by familiar authors.

Both have advantages - a familiar author is a known entity. They can surprise, sure, but you more or less know what you're getting. Perhaps they exceed expectation - like Vita Sackville-West's All Passion Spent - or perhaps they disappoint a little - like Frank Baker's Before I Go Hence. The fact remains that an expectation of some variety or other is there, and you can't help comparing. On the other hand, a new author (new to you, that is) has untold possibility... or lack thereof.

A very short post today, I'm afraid, but something to get you thinking - which do you look forward to more? An author you know you'll like, or a new author you might well love? Anticipation or safety??


  1. Anticipation. I rarely re-read books these days and for new books I generally seek out authors whose works I have not read at all.

  2. Reading, like food, is full of variety. There are times when you are eager to try something new and times when 'comfort-eating' is more to your taste. Some authors go together well, others clash horribly. Some are bland and demand little, others keep you on your toes. Once you reach the point where you feel liberated enough to put down a book you are not enjoying and deciding an author is (generally) 'not for you', a new freedom creeps in - you are a liberated reader who doesn't have to 'eat your greens'. But beware: spending too much time on one author, to the detriment of others = an unbalanced reading diet and could damage your literary health!
    (Now back to PD James - only one dead body so far!)

  3. Both, I think. It depends what I'm in the mood for.

  4. When I find an author I like, I usually immediately go out and get everything they have ever written. However, there is something very exciting about finding a book by a "new" author and loving it! Another trip to the bookstore.

  5. I never really thought about this question before. I think I am always on the lookout for a really good new story. Of course when a book comes out by a tried and trusted author oftentimes I will buy the book no matter what the story is. I wonder how many books I read last year that were by authors I'd already read before...

  6. OK, i thought i had lots to say but then realised OVW had said it all far more cogently than i would have. But thanks for the thought-provoking post anyway!

  7. As you know, I tend to take comfort from the known, and re-read books frequently (although I'm currently in a phase of no re-reading). But I'd like to make the point that an author whose works you have previously loved can cause great disappointment if they don't maintain the standard, and I know I sometimes approach such books with trepidation. On the other hand, if an author who has not touched you in any way before turns out to be poor, it doesn't matter: you can just move on.


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