Why I Don’t Play Favorites

While there are many books out there that I love, and several that I call favorites, it’s a lot harder for me to call an author a favorite, or to say that I’ll read/buy any book they publish. This might just be me being picky, which is definitely partially true, but I do think that I have more thoughtful reasoning behind my difficulty with calling an author an all time fave. And lucky for you, I’ve decided to write a whole post detailing what that reasoning is!

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My first issue with having a favorite author is that while I might love one of an author’s books, I highly doubt that I can find any author where I adore every single one of their books that I’ve picked up. There are always going to be highs and lows. There’s one author that comes to mind who wrote one of my favorite books, but another of their books I kinda detest. Is that author a favorite of mine? They did write one of my all time favorite books after all. But does my intense dislike of their other book disqualify them?

We can even take a less extreme case. What if I just enjoy all of the books the author has come out with, even if none are favorites? I have fun reading this random author’s books and give them all between 3 to 5 stars, but none hold a special place in my heart. Should I consider reading everything this author puts out? Because chances are high that I’ll have a good time reading their book. But chances are low that I’ll LOVE their newest book.

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But all of that is mere pondering on my part. The real reason I can never cement an author as a favorite is because I’m quite the picky reader. I don’t care if a book is the most hyped novel on the planet. I don’t care if this author has written a book I’ve loved in the past. I don’t even care if this book was dedicated to me. (I say that, but if you ever decide to dedicate your book to me, there’s a good chance I’ll read it and declare you my favorite author). If I don’t like the premise of a book, I won’t read it.

I’ve written many, many posts about my particular reading tastes. I know what genres I like. I know what tropes I enjoy. I’ll read reviews and look at ratings before picking up a book. And if a book doesn’t sound right for me, I just won’t pick it up! Or I’ll get it from the library so I can feel no regrets about setting the book down after 50 pages if I’m not enjoying it. For me a synopsis means way more than the name of the author who wrote the book. I’m not picking up a thriller no matter who writes it. I’m not going to enjoy a book that centers around miscommunication. So I won’t read those books.

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Then to further complicate matters there are some books by authors that I would like to read more from that I just can’t read. Whether the book contains triggering material, or will just generally upset my mental health, there are some books that as much as I adore the premise, I know I will never read.

Now, I’m not saying you need to read every book by an author to consider them a favorite. And I’m not saying that if you don’t give every book by your favorite author five stars you’re a fake fan. Personally, I don’t feel comfortable calling an author a favorite when I know that some books of theirs I’ll never read for whatever reason. I think I just have a very specific definition of a favorite author, that I’m aware most people don’t share. There are authors I follow. There are authors I admire. There are even authors where I want to do everything in my power to support them. But I don’t think I’ll ever have a favorite author.

What makes someone a favorite author? Who are some of your auto read/buy authors? Have you ever hated a book by your favorite author?

25 thoughts on “Why I Don’t Play Favorites

  1. I love this post it’s so true! I definitely have different levels of “favorite author” haha, like Leigh Bardugo, where six of crows took over my life and I’m absolutely obsessed and I think she’s a queen but also found the Grisha Trilogy and Nikolai Duology mediocre lol, versus like Morgan Matson, who I have genuinely really liked every book she’s written, but none of them are all time favorites that changed my life. right now I can only think of one author where I’ve genuinely loved every single book she wrote which is Marissa Meyer haha but maybe that’s a bad thing because my expectations are too high now… I don’t want to be disappointed! anyways, loved this post!! (and also I’m baaaack just finished finals and reemerged from the dead and I can’t wait to read your blog posts I missed <3)

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    1. Yes, exactly! Not all favorite authors are favorites for the same reason and that can make things really confusing! I can’t think of any author where I liked every single one of their books that I read, but then again, I’m picky and I haven’t really done a deep dive to verify how true that statement is. Who knows, maybe there’s some author out there where I loved what I read from them but forgot about them as time passed!

      So happy you enjoyed this post!

      CONGRATS ON FINISHING FINALS! School is so time consuming. I’m still catching up even a month after finishing my semester, so I totally understand the need to catch up on posts. So happy that you’re back! 😄

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  2. I haven’t hated a book by a favourite author but I have been incredibly disappointed. I never finished The Midnighters series by Scott Westerfeld because it just didn’t click with me, and I was let down by Afterworlds too, which sucks because he is one of my favourite authors ever.

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    1. Ooof! A disappointing book by a favorite author can be just as bad as a terrible one, especially if it was a book you were anticipating for a while. I’ve definitely had authors that let me down and it always upset me, and if I’m honest, took them out of the ranking from a favorite author. In a way I’d prefer to hate a book from a favorite author than to be disappointed. At least with a book I hate I can have a good long rant to vent my frustration, while a disappointing book is likely to just lead to a reading slump.

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  3. This is so true! I actually have a similar post languishing in my drafts, because I feel the same way! Like- I feel SO bad when I don’t like a book by a “favorite”, you know? OR, when I am just plain uninterested because the genre doesn’t align with my preferences. One that comes to mind is The Raven by Cat Winters- I hated it and I was so SAD! Most of my faves haven’t let me down *too* badly, but I also feel okay skipping their latest fare if I just don’t think it’d be my “thing”! Great post!

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    1. This has been a post idea that I’ve had for a while as well! And I’d love to read a full fledged post with your thoughts on the topic!

      YES! The expectations are SO high for favorite authors! When their books let me down, it can be enough to send me straight into a slump. I’ve made my peace with not picking up books that I’m not interested in or won’t pick up for whatever reason, but I do get imposter syndrome at times because of that and can feel like a “fake fan” for not reading an author’s entire list of published works.

      Thank you! 💕

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  4. I also have a hard time declaring an author a favourite. While I do have several, I rarely will read every book they have written. (One exception is Agatha Christie, because I’ve read every novel and short story collection she wrote.) I consider someone a favourite if I read multiple books from them that I loved and have a special place in my heart, but it happens rarely. There are authors, like you mentioned, whose books I enjoy but not LOVE. And that’s okay too, sometimes we just need entertaining books.

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    1. I think it’s a lot more common for people to forget about an author’s backlist, even if they are a favorite, but deliberately not picking up a new release from a favorite author is a lot more rare! (But also, that is so cool that you’ve read all of Agatha Christie’s works! I’d love to have read an author’s entire list of published works!)

      I definitely hear that. I think that there’s a lot of overlap for me with favorite books, and authors that have the potential to be favorites. Although there are definitely books that have a special place in my heart, where in general I haven’t loved that author’s previous works. So it depends.

      And I agree! There are several authors that I turn to when I just need to read something, but don’t particularly care what I’m reading. Those entertaining books serve a function too, and I’m glad that they’re around for me to pick up whenever I’m in the mood!

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  5. ahh this is such a well-written post, and i think you made some great points!! i’m also a picky reader, and i know that i will never, ever pick up a thriller or horror novel, even if it’s written by an author whose works i really love. i definitely consider the book’s synopsis and genre more heavily than who wrote it, because at the end of the day, the plot of the book is why i’ll enjoy it or hate it haha. again, wonderful post!! ☺️

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    1. Awwwww, thank you! 💕

      Yes! I’m way too big a scaredy cat to ever pick up a horror or thriller. Even mysteries can be too suspenseful for me!

      Exactly! While there can be something comforting about an author’s writing style or the way they develop their characters or setting, I need to be interested in the premise to actually want to pick up a book! It’s funny though, because there are just as many premises that will draw me in with tropes of enemies to lovers or some such cuteness as there are bad premises that turn me away from a book, no matter who wrote it!

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  6. this is such an interesting discussion, malka (as always)! i do have favorite authors but they’ve changed a lot over the years, and after reading your post, i’m wondering if i really do have a “favorites” list if it’s changed so much. i feel like i haven’t put much thought into this as you have LMAO but i love all you reasonings! i think i have tiers with who i call a favorite, though, the same as i do for books? and like with books, i think it’s hard to really determine a True Favorite since we’re changing all the time and what we love now might be something we hate later!

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    1. Awwww, thank you, May! 💕

      Sorry for making you question if you do in fact have favorite authors! I think when I was younger it was a lot easier for me to have favorite authors because I didn’t really understand the term backlist (and I didn’t overthink as much). I just knew there were books or series I would take out from the library constantly to read and reread and then read again. I knew there were some authors whose writing I just loved, whose storytelling was perfection. I also was less critical. But as a child I definitely have favorite authors.

      As an adult, I overthink more and have for some reason created these criteria for what an author has to accomplish to be crowned a favorite. Like you mentioned, since every person changes and evolves as they grow that complicates matters, because while an author could fit my standards one day, as I take more time to reflect, they may no longer fit my description of a fave.

      Anyways, thanks for allowing me to ramble some more in this comment. I think I should implement the tier ranking system and just leave the top category empty since I don’t think anyone can ever truly reach my impossible standards!

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  7. I think we all have different opinions on what favourite means and that’s totally ok. Personally, I view a favourite author as one whose new releases I will always be excited to read. I might not 5 star all of them but I will enjoy them. I know you can’t say you’ll read every author’s release because of triggers and knowing tropes and premises aren’t for you so you’re definition has to be different. And, to be honest, I do think favourite books matter far more than favourite authors. Favourite books help to really reflect your reading tastes.

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    1. Oh, definitely! That’s what’s so much fun about discussions. I get to provide my perspective on a topic, and then I get to hear what everyone else thinks. It’s been really interesting to see what makes an author a favorite to people and whether or not favorite authors are a struggle for others as well.

      There are definitely authors that I tend to enjoy more than others, but for me, there’s something that’s keeping me from calling them favorites. It could just be that I’m being picky, and that’s okay!

      And I totally agree! I learn a lot more about a person when they tell me their favorite books than when they tell me their favorite authors!

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  8. I agree with you point. I have said the author is my favourite by just reading 2 books. I try to get other books by the same author but I don’t make it habit to get all of them or I would be broke. And Yes not all books by favourite authors are perfect. Great post!

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    1. I’ve definitely called authors favorites when I was younger, but now that I’m older I think I overthink things too much and therefore no longer think of authors as favorites. And I definitely need to accept the fact that I can love an author, but not love every book they’ve written! It will make finding a favorite author so much simpler!

      Thank you! 💕

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  9. This was such an interesting discussion to read, Malka! I definitely get what you mean, and I feel like I always use the term ‘favorite author’ loosely exactly because of this. For example, Nalini Singh is one of my favorites because I’ve read more than 20 books by her and her Psy-Changeling series brings me such comfort. She does have some books I have no interest in, though, so that does make me feel like I’m not a real fan haha. Not to mention that some of the books I’ve read by her were disappointing. Still, the fact that I read and enjoyed so many of her books makes me think of her as a favorite.

    I used to have favorites by whom I read every book, but I gave up on that after some disappointments and after not being interested by every book by the these authors. I still have a few favorites but not a lot. In fact, a lot of my favorite books come from authors who I haven’t read a ton of books by. For example, I loooove The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo, but I tried two other books by the author and I wasn’t impressed by either of them, so I doubt I’ll read other books by her. BUT nonetheless Evelyn Hugo is still a big favorite of mine. Great discussion! 🙂

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    1. Thank you!

      WOW! 20 books by one author is a LOT! And I totally hear how if the majority of them were enjoyable, you’d consider her a favorite. But I feel like most contemporary authors don’t have enough works for me to have read more than 10+ for me to see if I liked the majority of their works.

      I guess my brain can be too focused on rules and definitions and such, so I’d probably overthink and create exact criteria for how many books I’d have to have read and how many of those I’d have to enjoy to consider an author a favorite. For me, it’s so much easier to figure out if a book is a favorite!

      I also think it’s fine to have authors where you only liked one book but you consider that author a favorite because of that anyways. I just can’t seem to bring myself to do the same!

      So glad you enjoyed! 😊

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