Is this a bad reading habit?

There are certain authors that I tend to steer clear of. To name a few they are authors such as James Patterson and Nora Roberts (Janet Evanovich, Jude Devereaux, Sandra Brown, Nelson DeMille, and Alexander McCall Smith also get honorable mentions here). “Why do you stay away from authors like those?” you might wonder. Well, here goes.

Nora Roberts: 29 years of writing + 165 books published = about 6 books a year
James Patterson: 34 years of writing + 82 books published = about 2.5 books a year

I do not stay away from either of these authors because I necessarily think I will be disappointed in the stories–not to mention, I’m not a romance fan so Nora Roberts might not be the best choice anyway. But, I mean, come on! How can an author write 6 books a year, on average?! Essentially, I stay away from authors like these because I think, if it takes you about 2 months to write a novel, it can’t really be that good. Not to mention that, if I read all of Nora Roberts’ or James Patterson’s books, I think I would be bored: 165 and 82 books honestly can’t differ much from each other, especially if they’re written so quickly.

Now it’s up to you: Do you think this is a bad reading habit I have? I want you to be honest.

I want to know if you think there’s any of these authors’ novels I should give a chance, or if you have different views.


9 thoughts on “Is this a bad reading habit?

  1. I agree with you. I tend to stay away from authors that write multiple books a year. I have learned to try other genres and authors. It never hurts to try one of these authors, and see if you are missing something. I’ve repeatedly mention that I do not like romance novels, however I’ve learned that I enjoy historical romance. I’ve tried to broaden my genres and I’ve learned I like a lot more genres than I realized.

    • Kristie says:

      Thanks for your reply! I, too, have enjoyed some historical romance, as well. At least those in a specific series. And I have looked into reading some Georgette Heyer novels–but of course they might get lost in my TBR list 😦

  2. Jinny says:

    Hi! Thanks for the comment on my blog! 🙂

    Hmm I don’t think I’ve ever touched any books by authors who write that many books a year, not that it’s a conscious decision. The only author I can think of is maybe Ann M. Martin and all her various Baby Sitters club books and spinoff books way back in the 90’s (and when I was in elementary/middle school) but I was young back then and didn’t know any better haha. I agree with you though, any author that churns out *that* many books gives me the impression that their stories can’t be that good too. I think I might try one of those author’s books one day for kicks, but I’d be very wary!

  3. Carmen says:

    I kind of agree with you. Except that I really enjoy the Janet Evanovich books! (At least the Stephanie Plum series.) I started reading book 13 (or something) en then I read 14 and I thought they were pretty much the same, so I didn’t touch her books for a while. But recently I picked up the first one from the library and I’ve been reading from the beginning. I’ve read 4 books and they are less similar than the later ones. Though they are starting to fall into the same pattern.

    But besides that, I agree with you that writing so many books a year probably doesn’t deliver great literature. But sometimes there’s a need for a light book that is just fun. (I have that at least ;))

    • Kristie says:

      I agree with the need for light books 🙂

      But when I worked at a library for 3.5 years, I saw many older women come in and check like 10 Nora Roberts out at once–and I wondered how they could possibly read that much of one person at the same time.

      And, I have to admit, that Jane Austen’s books *ALL* have the same basic pattern of events, so I don’t know how I can like some of them so much more than others (but I like all of them). So, in this case, I’m sort of being a hypocrite.

  4. Shannon says:

    I’ll admit to a healthy degree of wariness regarding these two authors as well. I haven’t read any Nora Roberts and I don’t expect to – not because I don’t like a bit of romance now and then (I do!) but because I get this vibe from her books, and I lump her in with Danielle Steele – I read one Steele book in grade 8, borrowed from a friend who loved them, and yes even at, what, 13? I was discerning enough to realise how sickeningly self-indulgent and saccharine the story was (woman loses husband and baby in house fire, is I think successful author and years later, still withdrawn and wearing her “I am a tragic figure” t-shirt, writes a screenplay of her novel IN THREE DAYS!! while new man serenades her in the background – not only was the writing dreadful, the characters predictable and the plot boring, but it wasn’t even believable! I felt like I was watching a cheap telemovie).

    (I can’t believe you missed Steele off your list – or maybe she’s just an obvious one to avoid? 😉 ) I think we both know the answer to Roberts’ six-books-a-year: formula. Give the characters new names, change the setting, rearrange the details a bit and BINGO! new book!

    I did read one James Patterson though – I avoid books with covers like his, even if he weren’t too prolific – it was Sundays at Tiffany’s and despite being co-authored by a woman it was pretty bad. Very lacking in substance, like eating fairy floss (you would say cotton candy?) – just dissolves in your mouth in a flavourless sugary grit. Curiosity satisfied, I need never bother with one of his books again.

    I guess the short answer to this is that: I agree with you, I think it’s a healthy, discerning habit to have, and aside from satisfying my occasional bout of curiosity, steering clear of these authors is for me as easy as avoiding fast food – it actually turns my stomach to see or smell McDonalds or KFC etc.

  5. Shannon says:

    Oh, but – what’s wrong with Alexander McCall Smith? I hadn’t thought of him as being too prolific, and I loved The No 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency!

    • Kristie says:

      Well, I haven’t read any of any of the authors I mentioned. I do actually own No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency–it’s somewhere, I know 🙂 If you suggest it, I should try one of his, I guess.

      As for Danielle Steele–I knew I was missing one of them! I was picturing the authors who took up 2-3 whole shelves in the library. I don’t know how I managed to miss her 😕

      • Shannon says:

        Hell, I’d throw John Grisham in there too, though he seems to have quietened down lately.

        I definitely recommend McCall Smith – I haven’t read past the first book yet but it was wonderful. He doesn’t write trashy fiction, if that helps. 😉

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