This got me thinking about the Little Professor's recent post about "must keep on" authors. She then goes on to ponder the related phenomenon of "must keep on tv".
[P]eople who feel obligated to press on, dutifully or otherwise, with a television series or a film franchise--even though they announce to the world at regular (and, to be honest, aggravating) intervals that said series or franchise is relentlessly bad. Unbelievably awful. Mind-blowingly terrible. (Etcetera, etcetera, etcetera, as the King of Siam likes to say.) Thus, people trooped off to see the second and third Star Wars prequels because, goshdurnit, they had invested themselves in this story; just because the execution left something to be desired (a lot to be desired...) didn't mean that they were going to act like the proverbial rats. Similarly, when television shows go off the rails, die-hard fans may rant and rave, but they'll grimly announce that they're sticking it out until the bitter end...Bringing it back to books, she writes
To what extent does this sense of self-imposed obligation extend to the written word? Do people feel that they have a ball-and-chain connecting them to a given author--or, perhaps, to a given series? For example, do longtime fans feel that they must pick up the latest Pern or Xanth novel?Given that the plethora of lists touting the New/Best of the year have "repeat" authors, it seemed like a good time to examine my own thoughts on the topic.
As we know, I have many books by the same author in The Collection (and some authors are also on Mt. Bookpile). Does that mean I automatically purchase their books without thinking? No. Particularly in the area of genre fiction (mystery, sci-fi) it depends on the series and the author. One mystery author has a series that is teetering: there was a 'bad patch' of a couple of books, then a mediocre book, then a couple of good ones. I'm sticking with this, but this is not necessarily a Must Read Author. Another few authors are Avoid The New Book authors because they've declined in quality. It's not a hard-and-fast rule for me: sometimes, the subject matter just does not appeal. Other times, well, I'd read anything they wrote.**
I feel the same about tv. Several series I'll stick with "until the bitter end" (no names, because they were truly awful series!). Many, including some real "what do you mean you didn't watch that" shows, I've dropped after the first couple of seasons because the charm of the start got lost. This is particularly true of a gimmick show (about, say, Nothing) that gets too self-aware. And there are certain movies I won't go to, unless dragged, because I just don't care about seeing the next [your favorite director/series/actor] here. I'll even fake being violently ill to avoid certain actors/directors.
(** this freedom of choice does not include books that I Must Read for work reasons. Let's just say I'm very very happy that a certain series about a boy wizard with a facial scar is ending soon)