Love at First Read

When you’ve read a particular author’s oeuvre (or most of it), do you tend to favor the very first book you read?

I’ve been thinking about this for some time, and I think that in my case, my “first encounter novel” of a particular  writer is usually the one I end up liking most.

I wonder if this is true for other people?

Of course it could be that because I liked the first novel I read, I went on to read the writer’s other novels.  Rarely have I ventured to read a writer’s other novels after I disliked the first novel I read (Donna Tartt being the exception, which I really regretted).

Some of my “first encounter novel” I’ve read and liked more than the other books by the same writers are:

1.  Jane Austen – Pride and Prejudice.  Though Persuasion is also one of my favorites, even though it’s probably the 3rd or 4th Austen book I’ve read.

2.  Haruki Murakami – 1Q84.

3.  E.M. Forster – A Room with a View.

4.  William Shakespeare – Hamlet.

5.  Gabriel Garcia Marquez – One Hundred Years of Solitude.

5.  Ian Mcewan – Atonement.

6.  David Mitchell – The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet.

7.  Laura Esquivel – Like Water for Chocolate.

8.  Milan Kundera – The Unbearable Lightness of Being.

9.  George Orwell – Animal Farm.

10.  Orhan Pamuk – My Name is Red.

There are, however, some cases when my reading experience was better the second time around:

1.  Neil Gaiman – Neverwhere.  The first Gaiman book I read was American Gods, which I wasn’t crazy about.

2.  Kurt Vonnegut – Slapstick.  Vonnegut is one of my favorite writers, but his first novel I read, Slaughterhouse-5, was not as enjoyable as his other novels, namely Slapstick and Cat’s Cradle.

3.  Kazuo Ishiguro – The Remains of the Day.  The first Ishiguro novel I read was Never Let Me Go.  The Remains of the Day I only read recently, but I enjoyed it much more than Never Let me Go.

What about you, do you tend to favor your “first encounter novel” of a particular writer?

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22 thoughts on “Love at First Read

  1. In my case, I have 12 love at first sights:
    Junot Diaz – Oscar Wao over This is How You Lose Her
    Charles Dickens – Great Expectations over Two Cities
    Knut Hamsun – Hunger over Mysteries
    Halldor Laxness – Independent People over The Fish Can Sing
    Gabriel Garcia Marquez – 100 Years over Colonel/Cholera
    Cormac McCarthy – The Road over Blood Meridian
    Ian McEwan – Atonement over Chesil Beach/Comfort of Strangers
    David Mitchell – Cloud Atlas over the rest
    Marilynne Robinson – Gilead over the rest
    Jose Saramago – Death with Interruptions over Blindness/The Gospel/Small Memories
    Leo Tolstoy – War and Peace over Anna Karenina
    Virginia Woolf – To the Lighthouse over Mrs. Dalloway

    8 love is better the second/third time around:
    Raymond Carver – what we Talk About under Cathedral
    Jeffrey Eugenides – Middlesex under The Virgin Suicides
    John Green – Paper Towns under The Fault
    Kazuo Ishiguro – Never Let Me Go under The Remains
    George Orwell – 1984 under Animal Farm
    J.K. Rowling – HP1/HP2 under HP3
    J.R.R. Tolkien – LOTR1 under The Hobbit
    Jessica Zafra – Manananggal under Twisted 1

    And 3 undecided love affairs:
    William Faulkner – The Sound and the Fury vs Absalom, Absalom!
    Ernest Hemingway – The Old Man and the Sea vs A Farewell to Arms
    David Sedaris – Me Talk Pretty One Day vs Dress Your Family

    Based on numbers, I should be the kind who tends to favor the devirginizers, but 8 is not far from 12. Plus I don’t want to think of it that way. It just happened that my first encounters are usually the famous and the masterpieces (e.g. Hunger, Independent People, 100 Years).

    Long comment is looooong! XD

  2. I’m currently reading Persuasion but I’m not exactly loving it. Norwegian Wood was my first Murakami novel and the ending left me with a bad after taste but Murakami has gone on to be one of my favourite authors and I love most of his other books a lot more than Norwegian Wood.

      • My top 3 favourites from murakami would be Hardboiled wonderland and the end of the world, Dance dance dance and Underground^^ I guess Pride & Prejudice was my most enjoyable read. The characters in Persuasion seem really superficial but I read somewhere that it’s meant to be satirical so I’m just gonna finish the last 1/4 of the book before I give a verdict.

  3. My love at first reads (what I can remember off hand):

    David Mitchell- Cloud Atlas
    Keigo Higashino- The devotion of suspect X over Salvation of a saint
    Jane Austen- Pride & Prejudice over Emma and Persuasion
    Albert Camus- The Outsider
    Rainbow Rowell ( I loved this but I love her other book Fangirl more, does it still count as first read? lol)
    Ruth Ozeki- A tale for the time being
    Jojo Moyes- Me before you
    Gillian Flynn- Gone Girl

    Love at second read:

    Haruki Murakami- Everything else over Norwegian wood

    Usually if I don’t like the author the first read round I won’t read another book by that author but I guess Murakami and I were fated for love at second read.

  4. Cloud Atlas was my first David Mitchell and although I loved it, I preferred Number9dream. I agree about The Remains of the Day. It was the fourth Ishiguro, but has become my favourite. On the other hand, Love In the Time of Cholera was my first GGM and while I know that One Hundred Years is a better book, it still can’t supplant my first love!Interesting to think about!

  5. Nope, not always. My favorite Toni Morrison book is Song of Solomon, but I read two or three of her books before that one. I have two favorite Atwood books–one of which was the first I read, one of which was the third or fourth one I read. My favorite Murakami book is the second or third one I read.

    As for first books being favorites–the first John Irving book I ever read, the first Maya Angelou book I ever read.

  6. Jane Austen – read Pride and Prejudice first and now consider Persuasion my favorite, although I could be persuaded to consider them tied for favorites. 🙂 Charles Dickens – Great Expectations, still my favorite. Kate Morton – read The Forgotten Garden first, then some of her older and new novels, but that one is still my favorite. Harry Potter and The Sorcerer’s Stone – still my favorite HP book.

  7. Of what I can remember, here are my loves at first read:
    Jeffrey Eugenides – Middlesex over everything else
    Paul Auster – Man in the Dark over everything I’ve read from him
    David Mitchell – The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet over everything I’ve read from him
    James Salter – Last Night: Stories over A Sport and A Pastime
    Denis Johnson – Jesus’ Son over Nobody Move
    Stefan Zweig – Chess over Journey Into The Past
    Cormac McCarthy – No Country for Old Men over Blood Meridian
    Mikhail Bulgakov – The Master and Margarita over Fatal Eggs
    Gabriel Garcia Marquez – One Hundred Years of Solitude over everything I’ve read from him
    JRR Tolkien – The Hobbit over The LOTR Trilogy
    John le Carre – Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy over The Honourable Schoolboy

    Then the writers who gave me a better experience the 2nd or 3rd time around:
    Neil Gaiman – Fragile Things over American Gods
    Michael Chabon – The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay over The Yiddish Policemen’s Union
    Vladimir Nabokov – Lolita over Bend Sinister
    Julian Barnes – The Sense of An Ending over The Porcupine
    Alice Munro – Who Do You Think You Are over Dance of the Happy Shades
    Raymond Carver – What We Talk About When We Talk About Love over Short Cuts
    George Saunders – In Persuasion Nation over Pastoralia
    George Orwell – Animal Farm over 1984
    Ernest Hemingway – The Old Man and The Sea over For Whom The Bell Tolls

    I think that you’d have more loves at first sight if you first read the author’s masterpiece. I don’t know. I just like making lists. Haha.

    • I agree with your David Mitchell, GG Marquez, and Neil Gaiman.

      That’s what I was thinking….would you like an author more and will most likely read his / her novels if you started on his / her masterpiece and liked it?

      Thanks for sharing!

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