Sometimes relishing reading a book by an author new to us is not enough to leave us excited about picking up a second one. Some of the reasons why that may happen are that the author’s other books may not sound as something we will enjoy as much, they may be from a completely different genre, or they may not be as universally loved as the one we’ve already read.
There are three authors whom I’m apprehensive about reading a second book by. Two of those authors I don’t even have other books by on my wish list. The other one I do, but I’ve been hesitant about finally reading one of them for a couple of years.
Last year I read and utterly adored Hamnet by Maggie O’Farrell. It’s a fictional story about the death of the son of William Shakespeare, who is not even once mentioned by his name. Grief oozes from the pages, as the characters’ emotions, namely those of Agnes, are intense and tangible. I haven’t since added any other of O’Farrell’s books to my wish list, though. Why? I have a little voice in my head telling me that all of her other books are a far cry from Hamnet, both in terms of genre and writing style, and that I probably won’t enjoy them, which may well not be the case.
Tracy Chevalier is another author whose only book I’ve read deserved a spot at my favourite books of 2021. Set in 1664, Girl with a Pearl Earring has as narrator and main character Griet, who was a maid at Johannes Vermeer’s household. The novel tells the fictional story, which feels incredibly realistic, of how she came to sit for Vermeer and be the star of his most famous painting. I cherish reading historical fiction and I know that Chevalier wrote various other books in the genre. However, none of them seem to be as revered. Are they not as good? I suppose I would have to read them to find out.
A couple of years ago, I read Christmas Days: 12 Stories and 12 Feasts for 12 Days by Jeanette Winterson. It’s a collection of short stories set in or related in some way to Christmas and New Year’s Eve and which are accompanied by recipes appropriate for the season. Various of the stories are highly gripping. Others are undoubtedly atmospheric. Nevertheless, I still haven’t read any other books by Jeanette Winterson. Contrary to Maggie O’Farrell and Tracy Chevalier, I do have other of her books on my wish list. I’m extremely nervous about reading them, though, mainly because their probable eccentricity scares me. When I finally overcome my trepidation, I may read Weight, a retelling of the myth of Atlas and Heracles.
Have you read books by these authors? Which do you recommend? Are there any authors you are apprehensive about reading a second book by? Tell me in the comments!