This doesn’t mean just that a book’s not my favorite within an author’s oeuvre. But if I’ve dedicated a significant amount of time to an author’s collected works and then read a cringe-worthy novel by that same author, with wooden characters and a nonsensical plot, I tend to shy away from that author’s books in the future.
I suppose I need assurances I won’t be disappointed a second time. In some ways, this is silly, because an author can’t always write at the same level. On the other hand, I suppose the author has developed a sense of trust in me that his or her writing will draw me in and is at a certain level. If a book causes me to roll my eyes and wince, it’s hard to build up that level of trust again. A new book by that author needs to be pretty spectacular to lure me back.
What do you think, readers and writers? Are you as fickle as I discovered I was in your reading choices? Or do you regularly return to authors who have disappointed you in the past?