What authors have you deeply enjoyed in the past but...

Reply Tue 24 Apr, 2018 12:00 pm
... no longer tolerate or enjoy because of your current temperament, social, political or emotional disposition?

For years, I used to love the nonfiction of David Sedaris. Last Christmas, I tried to listen to perennial Holidays on Ice. I guess I can excuse part of my irritation towards relistening to the audiobook was because of seasonal foul mood (which is kind of why everyone loves his very cynical and acidic worldview). But I found him too toxic to enjoy anymore.

I think I tried to read his Let's Explore Diabetes with Owls a couple of years ago. If I did? I'm pretty sure I didn't finish it. I do remember trying to read his short fiction, Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk: A Modest Bestiary. Yeah. Definitely couldn't finish that because I wasn't enjoying his bitter sense of humor at the time.

He's got a new book of nonfiction essays called Calypso. I guess I'll read it if I find a copy of it in the library or win one from Goodreads. Has anyone read his recently published diaries? Are they worth a read?
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Reply Tue 24 Apr, 2018 01:37 pm
In my youth, I greatly admired Dostoevsky. I recently started to reread Crime and Punishment and couldn't get very far. Overwrought. Over-everything. I'm not gonna go back to reread his other novels.
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Reply Tue 24 Apr, 2018 02:07 pm
I've reached a point where I reread passages, but, whole books, rarely.
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cicerone imposter
Reply Tue 24 Apr, 2018 07:54 pm
We had to read Les Miserables in grade school, and that story has been one of my favorites for most of my life. When the musical came out, my sister, niece and I saw it at the Kennedy Center in Washington DC. After returning to CA, I treated my wife and her sister, my son and his wife to see it in San Francisco. Victor Hugo really stole my heart and soul.
I need to share what happened that I was able to get 3 tickets for the show when it was sold out for the time we were in Wn DC. When I asked our tour director if tickets were available for the show, she said it was sold out, but during our tour of the Kennedy Center, I went to the box office and asked. Luckily, somebody just returned three tickets for the show just before I arrived at the box office. Yes, we truly enjoyed the show, we had great seats, and my niece collected memorabilia from the show when we returned home.

Before the trip, I contacted Congressman Norm Mineta's office to let them know we would be in Wn DC, and I left our hotel's telephone number with my wife. The reason one should contact their congressman is to take advantage of meeting with the congressman, and getting a special tour of the capitol. When we were in DC, my wife called to tell me Congressman Mineta invited us to lunch, so I had the privilege to have lunch with a congressman. Luck was on my side.
Reply Tue 24 Apr, 2018 08:26 pm
@cicerone imposter,
Les Miserables is one of my favorite stories too, CI.
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Reply Wed 25 Apr, 2018 11:46 am
What I have found is that I read a book with a particular author for the first time, love the book and so pick another of that author. Often times - I am disappointed, in part, I find some authors write a very similar theme or use the same character forward. No more surprises so it ends up being a disappointment.

For example, I loved a Dogs Purpose. Holds special meaning especially after I lost my best friend unexpectedly. Then I went to read a second one by this author and although I enjoyed the dog's antics, it was too familiar in a sense.
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Finn dAbuzz
Reply Mon 30 Apr, 2018 10:12 am
Interesting take on Sedaris

He's been a favorite of mine for years, and one of the few authors whose audio-book versions (but only if he is the reader)I prefer to text. This is because above all else he is a great storyteller, and I find his strange, deadpan voice the perfect instrument to play his odd, hilarious and sometimes poignant tales. It's also why I haven't read his most recent works (Calypso or his diaries - assuming they are not one and the same).

I believe I've read every one of his books (prior to the diaries), but in the last one (name escapes me), for some reason he decided to break from his tradition and include political commentary in his storytelling. Not in a major way, but also not in a satirical way. I didn't and won't read him for polemics (no matter how mild) and it may have been simply my annoyance, but it also seemed like the quality of his storytelling had declined. Maybe he just ran out of the really good stories and can't live enough in the roughly two years between books.

In any case, I already have too great a backlog of unread books to add any from an author who has disappointed me. I may try him again at some time in the future, but I fear he may have gone stale.

Politics has nothing to do with my abandoning Stephen King. I can't say he was ever a huge favorite, but for a long while he too was a great storyteller, and his books were a lot of fun. My favorites of his were the first books in his Dark Tower series, but it was the final Gunslinger novel that turned me completely off of King. In all ways I thought it was truly horrible.

King has always had trouble bringing a long involved story to a completely satisfying end. My theory is that once he starts a book, he just keeps writing while the ideas for it are fresh and exciting for him. When the tap starts to run dry, he gets bored and just wants to quickly make an end of it. With the Dark Tower series he took what he himself considered his opus and flushed it down the toilet. Don't want to spoil it for anyone so I won't get specific, but the conclusion to what was clearly a saga was unbelievably trite. His decision to introduce himself as a character was bizarre, conceited, and jarring. The worst of it though was the Afterward he wrote in which he pre-emptively scolded his readers who he obviously knew would be disappointed by the finale, and insisted that the absurd and sophomoric attempt to tie up all the loose ends was what he intended for the ending from the very beginning. A pathetic self-deception, in my opinion, but if it's true (and I don't believe it for one second) he isn't half the storyteller I thought he was.

For some reason, I think King became a bitter, angry man. Maybe it was the lasting effects of his terrible injuries, and or drug addiction. Maybe it was his reaction to the well going dry. Certain archtypical characters were common throughout his work: The Religious Fanatic, The Idiot-Savant, The Magic Negro etc, but for a long time they were in someway comforting, like old friends. Eventually, though, it seemed as if he was just recycling:

Strange and sinister things begin to take place in a small town occupied by a Religious Fanatic, an Idiot-Savant, a Psychotic Killer, a Town Slut and a Magic Negro and eventually the whole place explodes and goes to hell (sometimes literally) with everyone killing and maiming everyone else.

I've read reviews of some of his more recent work that seem to indicate he may have got his bearings back, but he'll get no more of my money. I have not forgotten the face of my father.
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