Do You Judge A Book By It’s Author?

Come on… admit it…

nobody is watching….

nobody knows you are reading this post right now…

admit it…

you’ve done it…

shoot, I HAVE DONE IT.

and more than once.

You read a book, it s not a fit for you for whatever reason.  There is a good chance that unless that author has some sort of reputation that makes you want to try again, you are most likely probably out for future books by this author.

And maybe that is the right thing to do.


There are always exceptions to every rule and I want to bring out some examples today of yup, I was wrong, books that I feel are our of an authors norm, and for me personally, a better author for it. 

*Note:  The authors I am about to mention are well established authors who know what they are judged for in their writing, I am not dissing them, or anyone who enjoys reading them.  Instead, what I am trying to do here is point out that if you have a pre notion of what an authors writing is like, these are examples of where it is different and mainly to prove my point here – that we shouldn’t give up on an author after one book.  😛

Nora is known for being an author of many many books.  She has been putting them out since 1981 and that is impressive.  When I think of Nora Roberts I think trilogies… I think the first book will introduce three men or three women…, one of these men or women will take the protagonist role for that book and somewhere early on a love interest will be introduced and by the end of the book – yay!  They are together.  The second book will take one of the two characters that were introduced in the first book and wallah, now they are the protagonist and the same thing will happen, and then again in the third book.  It is a tried and true formula.  It has worked time and again for Nora Roberts.

Now it is true that not all her books are trilogies, she does write some stand alone reads as well, many times with the same outline as I dictated above, but no, honestly I don’t think all. 

For me personally, I have never been a fan of the romance read.  The handsome men or the beautiful women all finding ways to each other does not a page turner make for me.  And that’s just me….

however, here is where Nora Roberts scored big with me.

Now I know you are looking at these three books and  thinking “Sheila, are you off your rocker?  It’s a trilogy!  There are three!”  And if you have read these then you also know… there is a little romance in them and then you may want to say, “Sheila, I know these books!  They are about three women!  They meet three guys throughout the three books…. this is the Roberts formula tried and true!  How are they any different?”

And for you I say, these are different… because the women….

are witches. 

It’s true, the story line in my opinion is superior and the strong independent modern-day women with powers is well… they are three of my favorite all time books. 

And as long as we are discussing Roberts, she does it again here:

Mmmm hmmm, yeah yeah yeah… another trilogy – yes three strong women again but again… with powers!  I don’t know why that gets me… but it does and I love that! 

Ok one more example:  Stephen King.  What comes to mind?  Sure, Christine, a possessed car.  Carrie, yes a possessed girl.  Thinner, creepy thin guy… yup.  It, ugh, probably the creepiest as I really don’t like dolls and It is a clown or to me… a big doll.  Pet cemetary, yes, people and pets back from the dead… gross, but keep going!  Cujo, spooky book and movie, and CRAZY scary dog.  Misery, yes crazed book fan, oh wait… I like that – no no I am kidding of course, she is nutso!  Anyhoo, you got this… Stephen King writes deep creeptastic stories.

And then… he writes this:

So what is this?  This is historical fiction, it is a little time travel…. it is a great “what if” story that simply blew me away when I listened to it a few months back.  This is not your typical Stephen King, in my opinion, it is some of his best work.  There is no more creep factor in this one beyond a bit of intense moments, and average mystery type happenings.    If you have not gone here…. do so.  Soon, if not now.  😀

Now it can happen in reverse too… I read Mr. Perfect by Linda Howard forever ago.  Laughed out loud silly and funny.  Every Linda Howard I have tried since… flat line.  Cant get into them. 

Now I turn this over to you.  I would love to hear your examples of the books that seem out of an authors normal writing genre or pattern that made you look twice at an author you perhaps would not have .  Please share your experiences below.

22 Comments on “Do You Judge A Book By It’s Author?

  1. Have you tried Nora’s In Death series? Written as JD Robb? They center around LT. Eve Dallas and cast…try them from the beginning as the characters come along nicely…they will not disapoint..not the formula! A true crime series…

  2. J.K. Rowling is soon going to become one of these authors. She had such fame with Harry Potter, and after it ended, I’m sure everyone thought (or at least hoped) that her next book would be along the same line as the Potter series. But surprise(!) she’s coming out with a book that will be nothing like Potter:

    And you know what? I’m actually hesitant to read it because I am such a fan of Harry Potter and afraid she may mess everything up…But my attitude will probably change once her new book is actually out!

    Great post!


    • You are correct and although that book is on pre-order because I will want to know…. I am nervous too… it’s like seeing Daniel Radcliffe in other roles now and thinking, “no, wait… that’s Harry Potter!”

  3. Dean Koontz is that author for me. Some of his books are just creepy and others have an element in them that keep you reading, because you just have to to know what happens next. Then there is his Brother Odd series – awesome!

  4. Mine would be Dickens. I just hate Great Expectations. Hated reading it, hated the movies/miniseries (exception is the recent BBC one- Its well done, but I still didn’t like the story). I don’t remember much about Hard Times. I started using the movies of his works as a guide for which books to try, which was how I found Little Dorrit. I loved the miniseries, so I tried the book, and I just loved it.

    King writes so much more things than just the horror books everyone focuses on. His Dark Tower series is highly thought of in the SciFi community. And he is also responsible for the stories that became The Green Mile, Stand by Me and Shawshank Redemption

  5. I feel that way about Sophie Jordan. I read her YA dragon books, and I was totally impressed with the smooth, confident writing… and then we got to a romantic scene and I had to zip over to Goodreads and check up on the author. I’d’ve never read her romance stuff, but I’ll read her third YA dragon book coming out this fall.

    I feel that way about some new authors, too. There was something that bugged me about their writing, so that it wasn’t a favorite, but there was something unique about their style, so I’ll keep eye on what else comes out by ’em. I won’t mention names there… some authors are established enough to mention.

    I’ve heard a lot about the Dark Tower series, and I’ve avoided King. Very interesting discussion!!

  6. I agree that we do have expectations of authors based on what they’ve done…and then they surprise us. I still haven’t read 11/22/63, but it’s sitting on my coffee table, ready to go and soon.

    And Nora’s J. D. Robb might also be “formulaic,” but another kind of book from her romance reads.

  7. 11/22/63 is the only Stephen King book that is and ever has been on my TBR list. I don’t like creepy, horrory books or movies. I’ve seen things like The Shining and hated it, so I guessed I wouldn’t like the book. The same has applied to other movies based on his books. I don’t think he’s a bad author, I just don’t think I have the stomach for most of his books. I would say I’m more guilty of judging a book by its genre instead of author, and probably judging an author based on an extension of that.

    • With many authors Crystal, the judging would work I think – many stay on the same genre, the same pattern… look at Nicholas Sparks? He gets a lot of guff for his writing 😀

  8. Definitely Stephen King. I haven’t read any of his other books because his stuff scares me too much (I tried one and made it only a few chapters.) 11/22/63 however was completely fantastic!

  9. I used to judge by author immensely and yes I confess I am a Nora Roberts big time fan. I loved the Three Sisters trilogy, but still have read the Key trilogy. Will have to read that now with your mentioning its greatness. Lately, and with my acquisition of an ereader and “free” books, I’ve learned to read maybe less established authors. Guess what, they are just as good as the big known names, not all, but many.

  10. I just finished 11/22/63 after taking may tears off of reading Stephen King. Normally I do not go back to an author if the first book I have read from them was bad. If I’ve read a few good ones and then hit a bad one I usually will try a few more before swearing them off for good.

  11. Unfortunately, I read Stephen King’s novella “The Body” (which became the movie “Stand By Me”) first. It’s so well written. Then I tried “The Shining” and only kept reading because it was supposed to be a classic. I’m glad to hear he’s circled back to compelling fiction. I found his scary writing cardboard on dry toast.

    • LOL nice description Barbara…. yes give 11-22-63 a read… I bet you will be amazed! I would never have guessed it was a King novel.

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