Ninety-nine times out of a hundred, I read the books I read because: hype / cover whore / highly recommended by someone trustworthy / auto-buy author, etc.
On rare occasions, an author comes to my attention, not b/c of their work, but b/c of themselves as humans. They did or said some very cool thing that makes me like them enough to want to try their books, even if they don’t write the sort of thing I typically enjoy.
1. Chuck Wendig.
Wendig first made it onto my radar after verbally eviscerating (but in a way that was somehow matter-of-fact, as opposed to rage-fueled) a naysayer who disapproved of a homosexual character in his STAR WARS books.
Since then, he’s proven himself adept at improv storytelling (Dragon Con 2015) and an excellent source of gifts-for-anyone-writer-or-otherwise via his annual Gifts for Writers blog posts.
You should follow him. It’s good times.
2. Jonathan Maberry.
Maberry writes about zombies (amongst other things, but primarily zombies), and I hate dead things . . .
After listening to him explain how speculative fiction shaped his childhood, offered him an escape where heroes saved the day and villains were thwarted, in a way that was so similar to my own experience, I had to check him out. HAD to.
It was like my need for oxygen or something.
And really? Can a guy who seems to own nothing but Hawaiian shirts be all blood and guts?
3. China Miéville.
I discovered Miéville after reading a blurb for EMBASSYTOWN by Ursula K. Le Guin, but this road was a rocky one. I quit around 22% into the aforementioned novel b/c I found it to be inscrutable . . . in a way that felt deliberate. *flares nostrils*
And try as I might, I was unable to come up with a reason for why that might be that didn’t point to pompous assery.
So I wrote him off as a literary hipster snob masquerading as a sk8er boy for over a year, until a few weeks ago when I stumbled across a quote from one of his events:
“Most of the books I love the most, I don’t for one second understand . . . It’s precisely because I don’t know what’s going on that I keep going back to it.”
So he’s back on the Must-Read-ALL-the-Things list. My copy of PERDIDO STREET STATION and THE CITY AND THE CITY should arrive tomorrow. Stay tuned.
This phenomenon also works in the reverse.
For example, I will never, ever read that crazy Hale woman who stalked a reviewer to her home.
What about you? Have you been tempted to read outside your comfort zone b/c you discovered an awesome human being who also happened to write books? Sworn off someone altogether b/c not an awesome human being?