For the February 2019 newsletter we asked our readers what authors are very popular, liked by many, but they just can’t stand!

Here are the responses:

Sandy: John Grisham–Have read 2 of his books and could not like or care about the protagonist and most of the characters. Forced myself to finish, but said never again.

Sandra Brown–Again read 2 of hers, Both times the ending fizzled out, very unsatisfactory, ruined the whole book.

I tried a second book from both authors because occasionally I’ve read a “bad” book from some authors I really enjoy, if that had been the first book of theirs that I read and stopped with just the one I would of missed out on a lot of good reading.

Alan: 1: Do you get in “funks” when it comes to reading? And if so how do you get yourself out of that funk?
I am constantly on the look out for “different” stories, thrillers and mysteries. I am a Barnes and Noble most frequent visitor and my local library (White Tanks Maricopa County) is an absolute delight to peruse and just sit and look out at the Sonoran Desert. I usually tire of authors who put out 2 or 3 books a year and when my searches go for naught or a favorite author is out of current publication, I just switch to non-fiction. I read 8-10 books a year on politics and social conditions. When I tire of that category, I find a new novel and I’m at it again for half a year.

2: Along with reading do you watch lots of TV, play video games or consume other entertainment? If so how do you balance it all?
I try not to get sucked in to TV. There are about six TV series I watch every week and the rest is sports, primarily football and golf. Great thing about watching sports, I can read while watching. If I miss something spectacular I can rely on instant replay or rewinding the play.

3. I must add as a new subscriber to your blog/website, I found the author Thomas Perry. I went to the library the next day and picked up “The Old Man”. I am about to finish it, I’m dragging it out a few days because I do not want it to end. I am next going to pick up “FortyThieves” by Perry. So thank you for your lists and thanks for revitalizing my searches for new and “different” story lines.

Judy: I thoroughly enjoy your monthly newsletter. Glad I found out about it.

On authors I just can’t read, I completely agree with you about Dan Brown and Stephen King. I read one book by each of them and decided they just aren’t for me. I did find myself sitting close to Stephen King at a New Hampshire restaurant one day when my daughter and I were having lunch. No, I didn’t bother him.

My get-out-of-a-reading funk authors are both Kellermans, Michael Connelly, David Baldacci and Lee Child.

Have you ever tried the series about Commisario Guido Brunetti by Donna Leon? I love them. Can hardly wait to visit Venice.

Thanks for all your good book info.

Divafirefly: 1: Do you get in “funks” when it comes to reading? And if so how do you get yourself out of that funk? Sometimes, but it’s kinda rare for me. I usually just switch genres! I read almost anything fiction, and if I get in a funk, I’ll change to something quick and easy, or something hot and sexy!

2: Along with reading do you watch lots of TV, play video games or consume other entertainment? If so how do you balance it all? Not really….but when I do watch TV, I always have a book with me. If there are commercials, I read then!

Wanted to let you know about a series that I have really enjoyed this last year. The Chronicles of St Mary’s by Jodi Taylor. It’s a fun, wacky, and wonderful series. Time-traveling historians that are always getting into the most unpredictable jams.

Sam: Your subject for this month is an interesting one. Generally, when I read a book by an author I don’t like, I don’t get another book from them unless my arm is really twisted. A good example are the Kellermans. I read The Golem Of Hollywood mostly because the subject of golems has always been a divergent interest of mine. But I found the book to be really weird, hard to track with and it had a crummy ending. I never intended to pick up another novel by them. Then a sequel for the book came out, The Golem Of Paris. I swore I would never pick it up. But after a lot of arm twisting from someone I finally did. Hey, surprisingly the book was better than the first one. I didn’t love it, but I had to admit they did a better job with this one than the original. I still don’t intend to pick up another Kellerman book, but to some extent they’ve redeemed themselves in my book.

I read the Atlantis Series by A.G. Riddle. They have good reviews on Amazon, but I just couldn’t get into them. I lumbered through all three just to finish what I’d started, but was sort of speed reading after about half-way through the first one and found them relatively boring.

More often than not though, I just get so tied up with series that I’m really into and don’t have time for others. I saw you mentioned Stephen King. I think I’ve read two or three of his books. In all honesty I actually liked them and have nothing against him as an author. But drawn as I am into so many other series, it’s rare that there isn’t a new release of one of those that I’m not reading. Generally, when I do get back to other authors (such as Stephen King) or pick up something random and new, it’s when I’ve exhausted every Mitch Rapp, Gabriel Allon, Camel Club, Sigma Force, etc. novel I can get my hands on.

Patti: First of all, Graeme, while I totally respect your right to have an opinion, I respectfully submit that it’s the wrong opinion!!! :). I just finished reading the latest Orphan X novel, and it is just sublime! I don’t know why you don’t like the series, but I’m sad that you are missing out on one of the best series I’ve read in a LONG time! Evan Smoak is an amazing person, oh, and one heck of an assassin! Hurwitz endows him with characteristics that I really admire, and, despite his profession, I just love the passion that he gives to his work. There were two particular segments of the book that struck a chord with me. One was how Hurwitz described the Trayvon character and his mental limitations, along with the inspirational words of wisdom his mother ingrained in him. The other was a sequence that spoke to the overwhelming assets at the disposal of the President as compared to the seemingly minuscule weapons in Evan’s arsenal. Some powerful writing!! At the end of the day, Graeme, I still love you and Order of Books, but I really disagree with you on this one.

As for the question about how to get out of a reading funk, I have to be completely honest and say that I don’t think I have ever suffered such. I have been a voracious reader since age 4, and I have never had a funk. Thankful it is that I am for that, because books are a huge part of my life. I read four or five at the same time, on different devices and in different locations, and no, I do not have any trouble keeping them all straight! To me, it’s no different than following multiple TV series. Each book is unique, and I go from book to book with no difficulty at all.

And now for the question of the month, which Ask if there are popular authors out there that I just can’t get into. And I’m going to have to say it would be the Jack Reacher series. I did read several of them, long before the movie adaptation disaster, so you can’t blame Tom Cruise for this, but I strictly don’t like the books – they just don’t hit home for me.

Okay, that’s all for me for now. Keep up the good work, I love your website 😊

Marcia: I do like to respond to each newsletter but I didn’t have an answer last month, so I skipped it. Usually if I get in a slump about reading, I have my go-tos but it seems that I never slump when it comes to reading.

I am finding myself tiring of the series books. And I am also finding myself tiring of the retired CIA/ex-cop/PI/rogue ex-Marine style of books that investigate, find conspiracy theories and are always running for their life.

I did take your advice about Nick Petrie’s Peter Ash and read the 1st novel. Guess what? I felt like I was back in the ’80’s reading a Robert Ludlum novel, who I must say was my favorite author for a very very long time. I reread his novels many times. So Peter Ash just became an extension of those. I think I am searching for more novels that make me think long after the last chapter has ended and I find myself thinking about the characters, plot, etc.

Kristin Hannah’s The Nightingale and Gail Honeyman’s debut novel, Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine are just 2 examples. Honeyman’s work made me think in terms of character development and Hannah’s Nightingale made me want to learn more about the French Resistance during WWII.

Unlike you, I don’t read novels as soon as they come out, I try to wait until I can get them on my Kindle and sometimes that takes months from the Library.

Also, I was surprised that many don’t like Dan Brown’s writing nor Baldacci. I find both of these author’s to be excellent and look forward to anything they write. So please don’t tell me you don’t like Greg Iles’ writing. I would be devastated! I can’t read Stephen King (too scary) and I tired of Alex Cross after the 21st or so. The formula was too pat. As it is in many series. I also recently read Sue Grafton’s A is for Alibi as I had not ever read any and I wondered if the series would be, later on, the same old formula so I don’t know if I want to invest my time in her popular series.

I always enjoy your newsletters and last month I thought I had overlooked it and put it in my trash so I was surprised and happy when it was received. Late was better than nothing!!

Maria: this is my first comment although i devotedly love your newsletter….you have opened doors for me for new writers and thank you for that…
…about authors everyone likes but i just can’t stand…first up..james patterson although i did enjoy the initial alex cross books, then nora roberts, lisa gardner, stephen king, but all for different reasons. basically some of the authors are the only ones featured at local stores, really pushed by publishers…rather than list them all i’ll say that maybe it’s about formula … always the formula stays the same but not in a good way….about boring concepts that have been overdone….poor writing although king can be an excellent writer…..knowing a writer’s formula can be a good thing if it is well written, it is reassu ring, comfortable…maybe that’s why some writers are so popular…
and now i see this is a topic that requires much explanation…it is just so
subjective….sometimes reading is like eating chocolate, and sometimes it’s like eating gruel….and it’s always because of how the book is written…

Chris: I’ve tried to read books by Dean Koontz but the gore and horror just get to me. He’s a great writer but his books leave me feeling terrible. I like suspense and mystery but reading gruesome details is just too much (for me). Maybe I just happened to pick the wrong titles–maybe I’d like some of his other books–the problem is, I don’t want to even try to read anything else by him. Luckily, there are plenty of other books and genres out there to read.

Vicki: Danielle Steele – I’ve read a few and liked them well enough. But her long, sweeping sagas are usually more than i want to bother with.

Robrt Jordan’s Wheel of Time series. I thought the first two were great. That was 20 years ago. I never could be bothered to pick up the third.

Thank you for this site. I use it freqently. I’ve recommended it to my librarian friend who helps patrons trying to fifure series.

Ray: Hi Graeme,
Glad to see you back from the funk!

You’re much more generous to authors than I by not giving up on books. I’m older than you so I can say, “Too many books, too little time”. I don’t spend time reading something that really isn’t doing it for me.

I had the same problem with Hurwitz as you, but I tossed the second one after a ways in.
I don’t remember ever tossing a Baldacci book, but it’s been awhile since I’ve read one. I think the last one was, “True Blue”.

WHAT-WHAT-WHAT???!!! I must be hallucinating! SAY IT ISN’T SO, LORD!! Did Graeme just say he doesn’t like Dan Brown and Daniel Silva!?? MY HEART CAN’T TAKE IT, LORD!! JOHNNY BLUE WHERE ARE YOU!? There has to be another Dan Brown lurking up there in the Canadian Rockies!!? And Daniel Silva!? QUICK, GRAEME, GRAB A TRIPLE FIREBALL!! YOUR’E HEADING INTO

Okay-okay, dramatics are over. Isn’t it interesting, the different tastes people have in books, movies, food, music, et al.?
Dan Brown: “Origin”, his best so far in my opinion. The best book I read last year. It made me start reading his others again. None as good as “Origin”, but still enjoyable.
Daniel Silva. I’m speechless.
Thanks for the newsletter, Graeme. Always enjoy them.

Linda: I must say I cannot think of too many authors that I have tried that I really don’t like. Guess I am just very careful about my picks. There was a series by Ted Dekker:Black, Red, Green and White, that I hated and everyone else seemed to really like them. I could not understand them and was lost most of the time. Same with the “Outlander” series. Loved the first books, then got mired down by the ones that were too much war and rebellion and way too descriptive. Most of my friends loved those parts. Guess I don’t like history. Now if there is a genre I do not like it is romance. Not a Daneille Steel fan at all even thought she is so popular with most. I also find self-help and non-fiction boring. At my age I just want to enjoy reading not learn anything. I have had several good reads this month. Clare Mackintosh’s “I See You” and “I Let You Go” were both excellent. Next up is her third book “Let Me Lie”. She is an exceptional writer and always with a twist. The Melinda Leigh books were excellent, too. I think someone on this site recommended them and I thank whoever it was. As always enjoyed the newsletter and the reader’s mailbag. Look forward to it every month. Thank you.

Joy: I think Danielle Steel is overrated. All of her books are the same. If I read a couple of chapters, I can tell how it will end. No surprises or story twists.
Another one is Michael Connelly-ugh

Jackie: I think Danielle Steele is overrated. I have read several of her books but they are all wordy and predictable. They all have the same theme.

Doug: !! Just finished the last Harry Potter book, I have to admit it’s quite a chore to get through them all !! but i digress, my favourite is by far John Grisham, i I thought Camino Island was a delight to read, I used to like Stuart Woods but got tired of the same thing, same with the Reacher series,what happens to these writers are they under the gun to produce by publishers so they just write garbage ?? It’s a shame because they start out so good, Oh well that’s my take

Max: Thanks for giving me the “plug” for your Reader’s Mailbox topic this month! I guess that makes me slightly famous, albeit anonymously. My “most popular author that I just don’t like” is Robert Ludlum. His novels just seem to be a random series of unrelated, unmotivated events — I just don’t understand his plots at all and I’ll never pick up another of his books.

I also agree with you about David Baldacci. I liked several of his earlier works (“Last Man Standing” comes to mind), but his later stories seem a bit juvenile and poorly plotted — and perhaps a bit too much like Ludlum. Ditto for Dan Brown. His earlier books were innovative and clever, but his recent books have gotten much too “preachy” and dull. “The Lost Symbol” was the last of his books I tried, and I won’t go back.

I really, really tried to enjoy Patricia Corwell’s Kay Scarpetta books, and I forced myself to read the first six before I gave them up. The warped relationship between Scarpetta and her big cop co-worker — I forget his name — was just unbearable to wade through. No, thanks!

I do love John Sandford’s magnificent “Prey” thrillers, but I hated his four “Kidd” novels. They were just feeble. Go figure.

An entire category of literature I can’t bear is the “magical realism” genre, as represented by authors like Carlos Castaneda (The Teachings of Don Juan) and Gabriel García Márquez (One Hundred Years of Solitude). I just don’t understand that stuff, and it drives me nuts when I try to read it!

But I don’t agree with you about Daniel Silva — I do like Gabriel Allon!

(On the opposite side, I enjoy John Lescroart very much, as do you. His mystery “Nothing but the Truth” is one of the favorite books I read over the past several years. The insights Lescroart has into husband-wife dynamics in that novel are profound!)

So there you have some of my thoughts. Please keep up the good work!

Loretta: I absolutely disliked ALICE FEENEY’S, SOMETIMES I LIE. This psychological thriller that messes with your mind, so much so that it gets annoying and frustrating. Is there anyone good in this book? I realize there are many accolades made on this book and author; however, it is NOT for me. It gave me a headache, and I gave up trying to figure out who did what, etc., and just stopped reading. To me, it was not enjoyable at all.

Another one that I STOPPED reading was GONE GIRL BY GILLIAN FLYNN. There is so much praise, and it’s a movie, etc., and on and on that I wonder why I could not get into it. Nevertheless, it was a bummer for me.

However, I might look at these authors’ new books as they come out, but it will be with a very wary eye.

Joanna: Interesting you should ask…
A very dear friend came over bubbling over the four Elena Ferrante books in the Neapolitan Series…started out…was turned off…kept going into the first book until I’d slogged to the end…opened the second and decided
almost immediately I don’t have that much time to give to books that are all about immature people who think violence (especially between married people) is “the way it is”…
I decided early on that Stephen King and Mary Higgins Clark were not for me…I hate Patricia Cornwell (she seems to revel in the gore), and Baldacci is also off my list after “Absolute Power” (his first?)…

On a positive note…just finished the six Oxford Medieval Mysteries by Ann Swinfen…loved them…

Thank you for your contributions to our literary conversations…

Doris: Always look forward to your newsletter, they help me making the right choices about reading 😊

On the subject of not liking popular authors, Matthew Reilly is one I tried but can’t get on with. Also Margaret Attwood and Terry Pratchett I can’t go near.

I would like to recommend Tana French’s Dublin Murder Squad Series. Every book features a different detective in the squad that has appeared briefly in the previous stories. Very clever, engaging writing.

Pam: I just read my first Order of Books newsletter and really enjoyed it. From your recommendations and reviews, I added a couple authors to my book list to check out one of these days, and a couple authors to my husband’s book list.

Here is my list In response to your inquiry about popular authors that your readers do not like despite their popularity.

Tom Clancy: His books are just more than I can get into. And the subject matter of most of his books does not interest me.
Lee Child: A hands down favorite of my husband. He is currently reading the Jack Reacher series as though they were his daily bread. I tried reading one of them, but it did not captivate my interest so I did not finish it and have not tried another.
CJ Box: Another favorite of my husband. I read one of his books, but I did not like it at all, and I have no intention of ever reading another.
Stephen King: He was once a favorite author of mine, but as his books grew more and more bizarre, more and more evil, I made a decision to not read any more of his books.
Dean Koontz: Ditto

Among popular authors of women’s books, I will not waste my time reading Nora Roberts.
I used to thoroughly enjoy Jodi Piccoult, but she has brought in too much material that deviates from my Christian beliefs, so I choose to no longer read her books.

Suggestion: It would be interesting for you to have people share their favorite authors of books considered to be the classics and also to name their favorite classical book.

Suggestion: I am trying to discover an author that would spark an interest in reading in our 16-year-old granddaughter whom we are raising. She is very intelligent and excels academically, but she does not enjoy reading. She has outgrown the authors she liked in her early adolescence, and I have not discovered any books or authors that I think would captivate her at her current age. Perhaps this is another matter you could address in your newsletter? No doubt among your readers there are parents of teens who may be able to recommend young adult books for both boys and girls.

Order of Books is my “go to” site for obtaining a complete list of books by a particular author. That, together with Amazon, is a treasure trove for books of any genre.

Thank you for the help you provide.

Ayesha: I started reading & immediately Stephen King came to mind (before I read further & saw you also have trouble with him…). Some books are amazing (The Dome was way better than the made for TV version!) & I used to love The Dark Tower series (though I never finished it-it took so many years to be completed & I forgot where I’d read up to…) The movie was unbelievably bad-it could/should have been incredible but I didn’t finish (watching) it either! I’ve found that with a lot of his books too: people rave but I find them tedious. Glad it’s not just me who thinks they peter out to boringness (that’s a word right? Ha)

WY: J K Rowling. Tried to read three separate books of hers. Never read more than 70 some pages of any of them. There ya go, I said it, please hold your tomatoes and other sundry over ripe vegan food.

Ron: Glad you suggested doing this. It allows all of us readers to understand that we’re NOT ALONE! (LOL)

I am a “Voracious” reader of mystery and spy novels. It all started for me at the suggestion of my dear mother when I was a teenager. I started reading Agatha Christie mysteries. I’ve read everything she ever wrote, and to this day, Agatha Christie remains my FAVORITE author!

Of course, it went on from there to include virtually every popular author of the Mystery, Foreign Intrigue, genre.

I know that John LeCarre is a very popular and successful writer. I have tried a half dozen times to read and finish one of his books. I ABSOLUTELY can NOT understand, follow, or enjoy one single thing that he writes! I have NEVER been able to get past 25 pages of one of his books!

Thanks for the opportunity to VENT! (LOL)

Dennis: As for this month’s question: what popular authors are there out there that you just can’t get into? Basically it seems like everyone else in the world likes them except you.

I wholeheartedly agree with you on Stephen King. His books are like a masochistic endeavor as I each one I’ve read I keep hoping there is a good ending, but I’m almost always disappointed. And yet, I keep trying with select new books of his.

The other author I can’t seem to enjoy is John Grisham for almost the same reason. The story progresses well and then when it comes time for the end it’s a total dud. Every time I come across a book of his that I haven’t read, I think maybe I should give this one a try and then remind myself how dejected I felt after the last one. The only comparison I can come p with is when Ralphie finishes he decoding with the Little Orphan Annie decoder in the Christmas Story. That’s how I feel with both of these authors.

Katy: So many people have recommended to me the books by Louise Penny. I just cannot get through one!

The series I am hooked on, though, is The Cat Who… by Lilian Jackson Braun. Have read about a third of the 29 so far.

Also just finished Ritz and Escoffier, by Luke Barr. Reads like a novel, but it’s fascinating and true! And just started The Food Explorer: The True Adventures of the Globe-Trotting Botanist Who Transformed What America Eats, by Daniel Stone. Looks like a good one.

Dusty: Ok, here goes. I am probably the only person in the world that has notread The Davinci Code. Not even the first page. Not even the movie. They did make a movie didn’t they? I don’t know what it is but I just can’t read his books.They’re just boring. Same thing with Baldacci. I’m glad I’m not the only one. I do love Stephen King except for his Dark Tower series. I hate that thing. I’ve come across an author named Michael Reisig who writes the Key West series. First one is On the Road to Key West. This guy just makes me laugh out loud to the point of tears. That doesn’t happen very often. It’s very light, funny reading but just hysterical. I think it could be a very good answer to a deadly funk.
Til next time. Love your newsletter.

Janice: I just cannot get into Iris Johansen’s Eve Duncan series. The premise of the series is excellent, and Duncan’s occupation is interesting. The problem? Duncan seems to garner unrealistic admiration from other characters in the books, which, to me, detracts from the story line.

Jackie: Thanks for your February newsletter. I find I look forward to hearing from you more and more each month.I

I have an author that I used to enjoy and no longer do, Danielle Steel. When I start a Danielle Steele book I feel I’ve already read it. Each one is the same as the last. Oh, the locations may be different but the beautiful girl needs saving and the handsome man saves her. There is always great wealth involved and beautiful clothes and jewels. I’m probably not being fair as her books may be for people than me. To me they are right up there with Cinderella, although I like Cinderella better.

Debra: Stephen King was a favorite of mine with his early works. In fact, I was a collector. Lately, I find that his stories start off so slow that I can’t read them.

AJ: For me, it is James Patterson and Danielle Steele. The so obvious ploys to increase the emotions and try to hook you in just leave me flat. There’s enough drama in real life that I really don’t like such manufactured drama. On the other hand, I think the Gabriel Allon series is my absolute favorite, along with Genevieve Lennard by Estelle Ryan. That’s why I’m glad there are so many choices out there – plenty for all of us, no matter what our tastes.

Tom: Thanks for another great newsletter, Graeme. I couldn’t get through “The Da Vinci Code” and never read any more Dan Brown. After the first 6-7 Dirk Pitts, by Cussler, I got tired of them and haven’t gone back to it. I tried reading Connelly’s “Bosch” but couldn’t get into them. I do really like the TV series though. It depends more on the type of book for me than the author, mostly. I can’t get into anything much about the Middle East wars or some plot to take over the world.

I think most authors have some really good books, a few really bad books and most fall in between. Of course, as always, the validity, truth and beauty of a book is best determined by the reader and not thousands of opinions. I am terrible at remembering book titles and authors, but I have come across so real duds from time to time…just can’t recall them.

If not for a site like yours, I would be lost in the sea of books with nowhere to start.

Carol: I’m with you on not being a fan of Stephen King. He’s got wicked writing skills, but it’s the horror genre that I tend to avoid. There’s enough horror in the daily news of the world as it is, so I don’t care to devote any more of my time to reading it in fiction.

Elizabeth: Hi
Glad you are out of your funk.
While I love mystery books, I’ve never liked the Rita Mae Brown series or other car books. I do love the Timber Creek K9 series though. I’m a big dog lover.
Also, I’ve never gotten into the Aunt Comity or Mitford series.

Amy: The Mitford series by Jan Karon. So many friends absolutely love those books. I’ve never been able to finish even one. Bores me to tears.

But that’s the beauty of books and humans….not everything appeals to everyone.

Order of Books » Newsletter » Reader Mailbag: Popular Authors You Just Can’t Stand

2 Responses to “Reader Mailbag: Popular Authors You Just Can’t Stand”

  1. AFN10: 5 years ago

    When I saw the Frederick Forsyth book, “The Fox” I knew I had to re-read some of his older books before that one. Have just finished his “The Day of the Jackal “ and his ?”Odessa File” and thought for the second time, they were well worth reading again. Will now read his others and know I won’t be disappointed.
    Have tried James Patterson and he is a no go for me.
    Loved the Baldacci books until the “Memory Man” and no longer read those.
    One of my all time favorite authors is Jeffrey Archer…llove his books.


  2. Mojave Son: 5 years ago

    I don’t like listening to audio books, but I love reading books. To each his own.


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