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Disappointing Reads & Literary One Hit Wonders

Recently one of my favorite authors let me down, which led me to think about disappointing books and authors who are literary one hit wonders.

I had read all of her other books, but her latest was simply disappointing. Whenever this situation happens – which isn’t that often – I wonder how other fans handle it.

When Authors Disappoint You

…do you totally give up reading anything new the author writes? Or do you read on? What if the book in the middle of a series starts to tank? Do you read the future books in the series?

For the personal example I listed, I seriously adore the author. I think it was an “off book.” I will definitely continue to read her future books and have faith she’ll impress me once again.

As for series, I’m a bit pickier. Because almost every book has a sequel these days, I don’t have any regrets about cutting short reading a series if I start to dislike it.

For example, although I really loved Ally Condie’s Matched, I couldn’t get into Crossed for the life of me. I have no problem with simply stopping in the middle of the series and calling it a wash (for now).

Literary One Hit Wonders

In a similar vein, I was curious about how many authors only had one bestselling novel. Authors in the list either went on to write other books that didn’t match their one big hit or didn’t write any additional works. To read the full articles, check out Litverse, ABC and The Huffington Post.

Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell

Mitchell’s other book is titled Lost Layson.

gone with the wind margaret mitchell one hit wonders

Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre and Emily Bronte’s Wuthering Heights

Charlotte wrote two other books, but Wuthering Heights was Emily’s only published book.

jane eyre charlotte bronte literary one hit wonders

wuthering heights emily bronte

The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath

Sadly, Plath committed suicide a month after the book’s publication.

the bell jar sylvia plath

Catch 22 by Joseph Heller

Heller completed several other novels, but none reached the same popularity as Catch 22.

catch 22 joseph heller literary one hit wonders

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

Lee did not continue writing after penning her famous novel.

to kill a mockingbird harper lee literary one hit wonders

One the Road by Jack Kerouac

Kerouac also wrote Dharma Bums, but On the Road remains his most well-known book.

on the road jack kerouac

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

Fitzgerald also wrote This Side of Paradise, The Beautiful and Damned and Tender Is the Night. The Great Gatsy endures has his crowning novel.

the great gatsby f. scott fitzgerald literary one hit wonders

What has been your experiences with disappointing reads??

About Lisa Parkin

I'm a hardcore lover of young adult fiction and have been reviewing books since 2011. Other interests include Downton Abbey, heat lightning storms, Harry Potter land and (begrudingly) one orange tabby.
  • I didn’t realize how so many famous authors only had one*big* book. (I thought for sure the Bronte sisters had as many books as Jane Austen, but apparently not…)

    Sometimes I have no problem ditching a series, especially if the first book doesn’t really work for me. But if I’ve already finished 2/3’s of the books, I usually read the last book. It’s funny because I adored Matched and then was so let down by Crossed. I’ll read the last book, but I won’t be in any hurry to get to it.

    • I didn’t either! I was really surprised about the Bronte’s too. Although, it’s great to even get one HUGE hit!

      You’ll have to let me know how the last Matched book is when you do read it. I dunno yet if I’ll invest in the last one.

  • that’s an interesting look into well known books and their authors. I am pretty similar in that I will give the author another try, if I’ve enjoyed their previous works, but also am very willing to drop a series if it’s not working out for me. Maintaining a TBR pile through goodreads makes me all too aware that there are TONS of great books out there, waiting for me to read them, and I don’t want to waste my time with a mediocre one.

    • Yes, looking at my TBR makes it a bit daunting when a book isn’t living up to my expectations. Great perspective! 😀

  • Ems

    If it’s an author I adore, I’ll keep reading because I figure that it’s just the book and not the author. If it’s someone new to me, I might not keep going unless someone I trust highly recommends something. As for a series, I used to torture myself into reading them all (Vampire Academy, which I HATED), but now I’m getting to the point where I can stop in the middle (cough HouseofNight cough) without feeling guilt.

    I didn’t realize that so many of the classic authors only had one hit!