Monday, November 03, 2008

Authors' Backlists

I was going to post a review today, but changed my mind and decided to start a discussion. I don't often hold a book discussion, but I have to admit, I've been curious.

So on my last trip to the States, you all know I went book shopping, as usual LOL :) What I like when I go to the States (or even in Ontario) is that bookstores over there have older books (say, with a print date before 2002 ^_^;) and so it's easier to find authors' backlists. I guess the problem in Quebec is since this is a French province, bookstores have to carry a French section and it takes up place and blablabla.

So last time, I was able to get my hands on two oldies from Sharon Sala, two from Susan Andersen and 1 from Rachel Gibson... Plus, at McGill's bookfair, I got Truly, Madly Yours, another oldie from Ms Gibson. I've enjoyed all three authors' books and they are on my auto-buy list.

In the past month, I read Deep in the Heart by Sharon Sala - not the best, but okay. Enjoyed the best friends love theme... I finished Head Over Heels by Susan Andersen and thought it was meh. As for Truly, Madly Yours, it was a DNF. So let's just say, I've been a bit disappointed :(

So my question is: What do you do? What do you do when you go to great lengths, invest your time, effort and money to get authors' backlists... and you don't enjoy all the books. Do you keep it all, because hey, it's one of your favorite author and you must have all of her backlist... or do you only keep the ones you enjoyed?

I'm the type of person who'll try to get my hand on all the books the author has written and keep them all... however, I'm wondering if it's the best thing I can do...


  1. Interesting questions - I'll be curious to read the comments that you get.

    I keep the backlist if it is a series - definitely. I used to keep all my books - but due to space, I am slowly but surely getting rid of the books I didn't care for. I do keep a list, however, of what books on my favorite author's backlist that I have read, so that I don't repurchase them.

  2. I only keep real "keepers". Those books I can't live without. So even if it's an author I love, if tho books was "meh", to the library, a friend, or PBS it goes.

  3. Great question, Nath. :-D

    Some months back, I glommed Anne Stuart's backlist. I've got some 20+ of her older books in TBR right now. Then I started reading ... and I didn't like most of what I read. *wail* The books that people raved about, such as Nightfall and Moonrise, did nothing for me. Now I look at that stack of Stuart books and I don't know if I'd want to try another.

    Back to your question. I don't keep what I don't like. This applies to ALL my books, not only backlist. I give them away via BookMooch, the international book trading site, or by swapping with my reading buddies. :-)

  4. If I like something, naturally I'll look out more of what they've written. If after I've read a few things of theirs I still like 'em and not just a particular book or plot, but the way they in particular write, then and only then will I go out and collect the backlist.

    Now, sometimes, however much I liked their other books, I'll find one I don't like. I still keep them. Mainly because there are quite a few books that I've read for the first time and felt 'meh' or disliked, and then upon re-reading sometime later, maybe even years later, have found that I see them differently now.

    Case in point for me was Jan Siegel's Fern Capel trilogy.
    I adored Prospero's Children, whirled giddily through The Dragon Charmer, and then hit the ground with a thorough bump when I read The Witch's Honour. I was SO dismayed, by the ending. I nearly got rid of the series, that's how strongly I reacted.

    And then... some time later I reread them and this time, however painful it might be, the painful accuracy of the ending struck me. What was different? I was. And that's why I don't often get rid of books.

  5. Kara - That's interesting. I guess I just want it all, series, authors' backlists... the whole nine yards :)

    Lori - LOL, you definitively have more willpower than me. Then again, I think it's easier for you to buy oldies than me. Perhaps that's why I cling so much... if I get rid of them and suddenly want it back, I'll have a hard time to do so...

    Jace - LOL, me and you, Jace. I have a couple of books from Anne Stuart's backlist that I have yet to read. sigh.

    Again, someone with more willpower than me.

    FD - I have to say that it rarely happens to me. Then again, I don't often go back and read books that were meh to me... which I guess begs the question: why am I keeping them.

    However, it's true... as time goes, we change... so our feelings towards a certain book can as well.

  6. Good question. I don't keep the ones that I know I won't read again even if it's an author I like. Books from a series are a little different. I like to have the whole series but when you have an open ended series keeping all the books, whether you liked them or not, can put a strain on storage space. I just took some Suzanne Brockmanns to the UBS because even though I liked them I know I won't be rereading them. And I needed more room on the B shelf. : )

    I also seem to have this belief that if I clear out some books I can justify getting more even when my TBR pile is huge. (currently close to 200)

    It's become almost a hobby for me ~ searching out older books to fill in an author's backlist. Feeling like I've found some buried treasure when I find them and check them off my spreadsheet. I'm lucky because I have a lot of UBS and other places to search. So maybe I have an easier time parting with them.

  7. I'm really fortunate Nath, because my library offers an inter-library loaning option that allows me to find virtually any book from any library in my state. This is how I work my way through author backlists. As for keepers, I have around a dozen. For whatever reason, I'm not a keeper of books--no matter how amazing they may be.

  8. Leslie - Wow, lots of ppl with more willpower than me :)

    I guess I just like to keep the books for completion :) It's like when you're able to complete a series or an authors backlist, there's this feeling of achievement :)

    Jennifer - LOL, obviously not a ratpack. Well if you have good libraries, I think it makes more sense :) You're lucky :)

  9. I just keep them all. I'm horrible that way. For one, I like to have all the books by authors, even if they aren't my favorite. And two, I'm a horrible pack rat. LOL

    Basically, I'm not the best person to ask.

    I'm kind of surprised that you didn't like Truly, Madly, Yours though. I LOVED Nick. YUMMY!

  10. That's always a tough one for me. But since I built the library downstairs and have the room, I tend to keep them - even if they aren't 'keepers'.

  11. Holly - It's good to know I'm not the only one :) Yeah, well looking at my room, I'm a bit lot like you :)

    I know... I bought Truly, Madly Yours because I know you really enjoyed it :) and I don't know... something just didn't fit for me... it rubbed me the wrong way.

    Kristie - LOL, I bet you have room for it :D Lucky you :)

  12. A book by a favourite author has to be Really Awful before I'll get rid of it, and even then I'll try to find it a good home with someone else...

    Otherwise, I keep everything. My husband always complains that one day our house will just fall over and sink into the swamp like the castle in Monty Python and The Holy Grail, because of the weight of my bookcases...

  13. If it is an author who I love then I search used book stores and eBay. eBay is usually my best bet for back list books that you can't find in stores.

    My library has inter library loans, so if the title is not here, then we can have it imported from a different library.

    I never get rid of books from favorite authors, even if I don't like the book.

    I have this dream that one of them will break down in front my house and need to use my phone. Then I will show her my bookshelf and say "I am your number 1 fan, I have ALL your books, I'm the best fan in the world."
    THen she will write a huge best seller with me as the heroine.

    Yup, thats my dream. It's a little creepy, is it not? lol

  14. Chantal - That's true... my problem with ebay however is the shipping... I find it quite expensive ^_^;

    LOL, I like you :) You're like me... never getting rid of books :D

    LOL, it's not a creepy dream :) I wish your dream will come true!! :)

  15. Susanna - Same thing for me... and even if it's really awful, I might still keep it... just to have the entire backlist.

    LOL about your husband :)