Let’s Talk with Terry Odell

August 30, 2018

What Do Authors Read?

by Terry Odell

I’m dipping into our reader questions again this month. One reader says: “I love when authors read books. I’d like to know what genres an author reads. If they have a favorite, or least favorite book. If they have never not finished a book and why.”

Speaking for myself here. I used to read a lot of Science Fiction – Isaac Asimov, Ray Bradbury, and Arthur C. Clarke topped my list. Now, I read a lot of mystery, with a leaning toward the police/detective sub-genre. John Sandford, Michael Connelly, Linda Castillo, Robert Crais and CJ Box are among my favorites. (Not discounting our other Booklover’s Bench authors, of course!)

In romance, I lean toward romantic suspense, and that’s probably why I write it. It’s a blend of both mystery and romance. My favorites in this genre include JD Robb and Suzanne Brockmann who both keep a series going with well-developed characters.

I don’t really have a favorite or a least favorite book, at least not ones I would be able to say are the “best” or “worst” books I’ve read. That’s kind of like asking me which of my children is my favorite or least favorite.

Are there books I don’t finish? Yes. With so many books out there, I’ve gotten past the “clean your plate club” and if a book isn’t holding my interest—and there are a lot of reasons for that, including poor research, sloppy editing, cardboard characters—I no longer feel guilty setting it aside. (There’s a “formula” that says take 100, subtract your age, and that’s how many pages you “owe” an author. The older we get, the faster an author has to grab us.)

If it’s a book by one of my favorite authors, I’m more likely to finish than if it’s someone new to me. Then again, my favorite authors are those who rarely disappoint, which is probably why they’re my favorites.

What about you? What are your favorite genres to read? Do you finish every book you start?

Deadly Assumptions by Terry Odell(And if you’re looking for a quick, easy read, my new Mapleton Mystery Novella, Deadly Assumptions was just released. You can find more about it on my website. I’m sharing my royalties through the end of September with the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, so buying now also helps a good cause!)

<> And while you’re here, remember to enter our Gift Card Giveaway which runs Sept 1-18, 2018. Click HERE! <>

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Posted in Let's Talk, with Terry Odell, zed: Former Authors • Tags: , , , , |  20 Comments


20 thoughts on “Let’s Talk with Terry Odell

  1. I rarely set aside a book once I’ve started to read, but I did recently, for maybe the first time. Not even sure why, but it just didn’t grab my attention. I made it about 1/4 the way through and decided I had other books in my TBR that I really wanted to read, so at best, this one was shelved for a later date.

  2. I used to feel an obligation to finish what I started, but now I’ll stop reading a book at whatever point I no longer care to find out what will happen. My reading list covers a lot of different genres, but my favorites are suspense/thrillers.

    1. I learned there are too many books out there to feel obligated to finish. If a character doesn’t make me care, I no longer feel guilty about quitting.

  3. I no longer finish every book I start. Lately, I’ve had a streak of great reads but my TBR pile could furnish a new library. Well, i exaggerate, but not by much. I have learned that sometimes I’m not in the right mood for a book and will set it aside for later, and then race through it with real enjoyment.

  4. I will pretty much finish a book I start, although I might skim past passages that are expository in nature or that contain too many tedious details. I’ll also skim by if the characters don’t connect with me. My reading tastes range from scifi/fantasy to cozies to historical mysteries to historical romance. I like to be taken away from reality and into another world.

  5. LOL, I love the “Clean Your Plate Book Club” analogy. I pretty much avoid that by downloading Kindle samples of new-to-me authors to make sure I’m interested/intrigued. I’ve avoided a lot of unfinished books that way. 🙂

  6. I am returning to a true love of mine after spending so much time reading mostly mysteries — sci-fi fantasy. Just finished Lightning Trail by Rebecca Roanhorse and loved it. And I didn’t even feel guilty putting aside a mystery I’ve been trying to read for years and never could get into.

  7. I love to read, and I was a reader long before I had the audacity to try to write a book. Now after seeing a book from the inside out, I find I have less patience for a book that doesn’t hook me. And I see why they call it the hook. Literally, if I’m not invested after 10 to 20 pages, I’m setting it aside and going for something else. Being busy all the time cut into my reading time, but I still find time for reading! I just finished a great book by Cheryl Hollon, and I have to say that I find her Webb’s Glass Shop series. I started in the middle with Etched in Tears. I’ve always been fascinated by glass anyway so this series is such a bonus for me, combining two of my interests. I hope to start one of Diane’s books soon. I like books that have a strong mystery with some relationship aspects, but the setting can be now, in the past, in the future, or on a distant world. It all works for me! Mostly I prefer faster paced and shorter books so that I don’t stay up ALL NIGHT. Great post, Terry! And I second her recommendation for her novella! It’s a fun read.

    1. Thanks for your shout out, Maggie. I’ll be looking into more by Cheryl and Diane myself. I used to go for longer books — more words for my bucks, but after being an Edgar judge for a year, my patience has grown thinner with books that don’t keep me involved.

  8. Mystery, or true crime, or non-fiction, especially memoirs about people with exceptional intelligence, or abilities, or neurological / psychological issues. ( Born on a Blue Day, by Daniel Tammet; You Don’t Look Like Anyone I know, by Heather Sellers)

  9. Books I couldn’t finish – The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, and The World According to Garp….and almost everything called a “classic”.

  10. There were a few books I could not finish, as they did not draw me in or hold my attention (sometimes just too verbose). One of my favorite mystery writers was Rex Stout with his Nero Wolfe Mysteries (and continued by Robert Goldsborough). I also love classic sci-fi by writers such as Jules Verne, H G Wells, and Isaac Asimov. I don’t care that much for books that are heavy on the romance angle.

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