There is more than a grain of truth to the axiom, but what if that first impression was not entirely accurate? We’ve all done something like this. You pick up a book by a new-to-you author on a trusted friend’s recommendation or on a whim. But then you find that it really is not your cup of tea. Perhaps the pacing is off, or the plot is thin, or you feel like you are reading about a group of caricatures instead of characters. Chances are, you decided to avoid that author’s other works altogether.

Of course, this is a practical approach since the majority of us do not have an unlimited budget for book buying. It makes little sense to buy another book by an author whose work you have not loved in the past. I’ve found though that occasionally it benefits me greatly not to completely disregard an author based on my initial reading.

I have a confession to make now. A few years ago I read LaVyrle Spencer’s Morning Glory…and I didn’t love it. Not even a little bit. How could I possibly have disliked this universally loved classic? I groaned every time I picked it up to read a few more pages, but I pressed on determined to finish it. I’m not sure if it was the book or if I had been on a diet that left me starving and cranky that week, but for whatever reason I swore off all things LaVyrle Spencer, including the television movies that Lifetime always seems to butcher.

I may have cheated myself out of some good reading, though. Several months ago I was browsing in our local UBS and noticed a large collection of Ms. Spencer’s books. I hesitantly picked up Small Town Girl, made a quick decision, and added it to my collection. What a surprise it was when I read and enjoyed every page! I decided that perhaps I was too hasty in my initial assessment and I am looking forward to trying other novels she has written. It’s such a shame for us that she is no longer writing, but I do hope she is enjoying her retirement.

That experience brought home to me that maybe I should not be so quick to dismiss authors whose first work I read I didn’t enjoy. Up until last year, the only Lisa Kleypas title I had read was Suddenly You. And while I didn’t hate it, I found it dull and couldn’t imagine wanting to read other books like it. But once again I had a change of heart and checked Devil in Winter out of the library. I’m pleased to say that I found it delightful and have read many, many of her books since then. Sometimes, I really love it when I’m wrong.

How about you? Have you had any similar experiences? Is there an author you dismissed initially that went on to become a favorite? What makes you give (or not give) an author a second try?

I’d love to hear from you!

– Heather S. AAR