Monday, September 08, 2008

The delight of “discovering” an author

A few years back, a friend gave an interesting view on reading. She claims that the first book you read by an author is nearly always the one you like best. I’m not necessarily talking about the author’s first book—rather, the book by that author that you read first.

When my friend said it, I thought, yes, that’s exactly right. Now, I’m not so sure. I think back over some of the authors I’ve “discovered,” and in some cases I liked the first book I read the best, but in others, I liked later books as much or more.I’m going to talk about some of those books here.

Please note, just because I say I like one book best, it doesn’t mean I didn’t like, or even love, the author’s other books. I’m just talking about that book I would name as my favorite by that author.

The “first is best” rule holds true for me with some authors. Anita Shreve’s Fortune’s Rocks was the first I read of hers and is still my favorite. My Sister’s Keeper is my first and best read from Jodi Picoult. Prince of Lies (Harlequin Presents) is my first and favorite book by Robyn Donald. The Heiress Takes a Husband is, I think, my favorite book by Silhouette author Cara Colter, and it was also the first I read (it was part of trilogy, BTW, and somehow I missed the other two books, which is a lasting regret!).

But on the other hand... Lucy Sullivan is Getting Married was the first book I read by Marian Keyes, but Rachel’s Holiday is so far my favorite. This Heart of Mine was my first Susan Elizabeth Phillips book, but although it’s still right up there, I think I prefer Kiss an Angel or Match Me If You Can. Marrying Marcus is my favorite book from Silhouette author Laurey Bright, who also writes as Daphne Clair, but it was by no means the first I read. With Sophie Kinsella’s Shopaholic series, I think I’ve enjoyed all the books equally.

I rather enjoy sitting around remembering books I’ve read and debating (with myself, mostly) which is the best. How about you? Do you think the first book you read by an author tends to be the best, or does that have nothing to do with it?
Abby