Wednesday, May 6, 2009

What keeps you reading?


Wednesday, May 6, 2009

I was looking at a list of recently released books. It had a book from a series I've quit reading. What made me stop? And what keeps me reading a series I continue reading?

In a way, books are like people. Some of them sit well for the long term and some don't. Which those are vary with each reader.

I never tired of Ed McBain. I always thought when I picked up an Ed McBain that I'd get a good story. Some were better than others, but insofar as I know, I read them all, most of them as they came out.

I remember the first one I read, not the title, but the feeling I had as I read. I liked the story and the characters, especially Carella's wife Teddy. For me, there were a couple of fizzles later in the series, but I kept reading.

What makes you drop your reading of a series? What makes you keep reading?

8 comments:

Corey Wilde said...

What stops me reading a series is usually a lack of character growth over the series or the relentless use of formula over plotting. A prime example would be Janet Evanovich's Stephanie Plum series. I was really done by book 4 or 5 but because the early books made me laugh I kept looking for that in books 6 through 9 but they were all just rehashing the early books. I finally gave up when I realized that Evanovich was not going to improve on anything because she had found a magic formula that kept people buying her books. I look at those books like Three Stooges movies, they are all much of a muchness.

I quit reading Martha Grimes' Richard Jury series when the author rode her twin hobbyhorses of precocious children and abused animals one book too many. Stories that once relied on flair and wit and character interaction were reduced to having a dog realize the children would die if he didn't untie their ropes and show them the way out of the building. Too much for me.

I've never tired of John Sandford's books. His character has grown over the years, made some mistakes, matured but still maintained the essence of his character. Same with Robert Crais only in his case it's the writing that has really matured and improved, even more than his characters.

Joe Barone said...

I appreciate the examples. I had much the same experience with Janet Evanovich except I went a few books deeper in.

pattinase (abbott) said...

Ditto Corey's answer. If things don't change, I go. Sue Grafton is a good example.
I never got tired of Lew Archer but maybe if I read them now I would. Or Travis McGee.

Joe Barone said...

Patti, I've drifted to just reading an occasional Grafton. I also never tired of Lew or Travis, and I don't think I would now, but maybe for different reasons.

I saw the Lew Archer books a groundbreaking, taking Hammett and Chandler a step farther. I was always interested in how each new book would be worked out.

For Travis McGee, my memory is that it wasn't so much the characters who changed but the situations. Back then, at least, that was enough for me.

Corey Wilde said...

I've just started on The Galton Case, my first time reading a Lew Archer book.

I like the Travis McGee books but I wish I'd read them as they came out. I think they stand up better when I'm not reading several in succession.

Joe Barone said...

I read both authors as they came out and have only reread one or two McGees since.

pattinase (abbott) said...

Unfortunately, I read them when they came out. Couldn't wait to get my hands on each one. I only say unfortunately because of how old that makes me. I think at the time he had a certain glamour---living on the Busted Flush, suave, glamorous women. A bit like James Bond. And the mysteries were compelling.

Joe Barone said...

Patti,
I have the same misfortune. I read them at the time too.