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Bloody Bookaholic's Commandment:

Thou Shall Read Till Thy Eyes Bleed

Sunday 27 September 2009

One Hit Wonders

There has been a lot of one hit wonders in music. From Eddie Murphy's Party All The Time to Panic At The Disco (Yeah I really think they were a one hit wonder, second CD sucked). And to be honest most of the one hit wonders we don't even remember them. Well, I have come to think about this big series that have left a mark on the YA literature world, and ask myself, what else have they done?

I mean really. Has J.K. Rowling written anything else that is not related to the Harry Potter series? She wrote The Tales of Beddle and The Bard, but that also had to do with HP. Dumbledore even made comments, and he is dead. So you see where I'm getting at.

Another One Hit Wonder is the author that has been like an eclipse that came over the YA literature world, and funny about the world eclipse cause one of her novels is called that. Yes, I'm talking about Stephenie Meyer.

She was both a blessing and a curse really. Made a lot of press for YA, and vampires. Now is the time were vampires made a big boom, and we have to
give a little credit to SM on that. I know I luv my vamps, and if I had not read Twilight, I would probably be still hung up on HP reading the book DAILY. That's how much I read the HP books. Twilight Saga made me realise that there were more books out there, and I thank it for that.

Take note that this is not a let's-say-how-awesome-twilight-is post, and I'm getting to my point. Stephenie Meyer left a gaping hole behind for teenage kids to fill, they needed to look for comfort after finishing Twilight, and what do you know, they discover another world full of different themes but still related that's called the Young Adult section. Saying that, her twilight fan base has passed the line so much I don't even think they saw the line under their feet as they crossed it. So yes, a blessing and a curse.

But more to the point, what else has she written? The Host? Which in my opinion was a good novel. And did you guys know it's being turned into a movie? Learn more on Stephenie Meyer's main website, there is also an article about it here. But I'll talk more on that later, in another post.

Thing is, most authors get in a rut, and you never know which is their excuse for it. Do they do it because they have so much money already they don't need to keep up the writing? Or do they think that since they have so much money they'll just take a looong vacation and let us high and dry?

Which let some rather hopeful people stuck in their stories more time than necessary. Like me with Harry Potter 4 years ago. And she still hasn't written anything new. A shame really, she has a talent for story telling.

Who else do you consider a One Hit Wonder? I know there must be lots of them, but in this post I talked more about the super famous ones. Now you tell me which other authors that you enjoyed left you high and dry. Let's pin those suckers down.

Yours truly,


  1. I really hope JK Rowling writes something else in the future. I feel like she doesn't just crank out books though, her words are carefully chosen and it's evident that a lot of time and work goes into her writing. Stephanie Meyer on the other hand, well, I don't know if in 20 years the kids will still be reading Twilight, whereas in 20 years I think kids will still be reading Harry Potter.

    Like, I see books as being much more different than songs and music. I think with books if you put something really excellent out there, and it's only one book, yet continue to enchant the world with that one book, then maybe that isn't so bad.

    Among literary one hit wonders are To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee and Gone With The Wind by Margaret Mitchell. I guess if I was an author I would love to write at least one book which has the staying power of TKAM and GWTW. :-)

    Excellent food for thought!

  2. I think it's too early to call JK Rowling a one-hit wonder. She's been writing the HP series (7 successful books, even if they are related, plus the spinoffs) for 15+ years. The last book was only published 2 years ago. Since then she's had touring and reading and thanking and lawsuits and just plain taking a break. After all that, it'd be natural to take a break. I think you can't call someone a one-hit wonder unless they swear off writing altogether, or nothing they ever publish again is any good. I don't expect anything she writes to be received as well as Harry Potter again, but that doesn't mean it's not necessarily well done.

    Besides, if you think about it, Harper Lee was pretty much a one-hit wonder with To Kill a Mockingbird, and that doesn't make her any less of a writer (I see the commenter above mentions the same thing). On the other hand, you have someone like Bram Stroker, who wrote the wildly successful Dracula and a bunch of crappy books like Lair of the White Worm. He was a one-hit wonder.

    Anyway, those are just my thoughts.

  3. @April I completely agree about the staying power of Twilight vs. the staying power of Harry Potter.

    With that said, I think you have to think about how you define one hit wonder. I mean, Harry Potter was a seven book series, all of them bestsellers, and Twilight was a trilogy, all of them bestsellers, so from one point of view each of those authors had multiple "hits." But, you can also look at a hit as a storyline or a set of characters, in which case an entire series would count as one hit. I think I agree more with the first point of view, since in a series any volume still has to stand or fall on its own merits.

    For me, the biggest change I've seen in the book world since these two groups of books came out is that people aren't afraid to be specific about what they like in a book anymore. Mediocre offerings get panned by readers, instead of having to be tolerated since there aren't really any other options. For me, that's definitely a good thing.

    What Book is That?

  4. You have a really good point here. I wonder what the pair of them will do next. I haven't really started following modern authors until recently so no-one has left me high and dry yet.

    The only author I will mention is Audrey Niffenegger. The Time Traveler's Wife is my all-time favourite book and it was her debut novel. Her second novel is due to be released on Tuesday and there's a lot of pressure on her for this. I kind of feel sorry for authors who have immediate success - I mean, they've got a lot to live up to.

  5. I actually far prefer Panic at the Disco's second album. :)

  6. I also liked Panic at the Disco's second album. Since Stephenie Meyer wrote The Host, which was a light science fiction novel, I don't consider her a one hit wonder. The Host is very different from the Twilight Saga. I hope she writes more books, but I would understand if she didn't.

    Mary Shelley was a one hit wonder with Frankenstein.

  7. I think Stephenie Meyer was a multi hit wonder, but I don't think that TW deserved all the hype it got because I feel that, while it was good, it wasn't phenominal. Personally, I liked The Host better. However, I feel that TW and Host had a very similar formula and plot line depite their incredibly different story lines. If we see anything else from Meyer, we can probably expect it to have the same formula as her first two endeavors.
    I can't think of any literary one hit wonders, but this was a great post! It's gotten a lot of feedback. :)

  8. It might be a little early to consider Elizabeth Kostova a one-hit wonder, but ever since The Historian in 2005, I've been wishing she'd publish something else! I understand that writing can take a long time, but four years have passed and I haven't been able to find anything that even suggests that she's working on another book.

  9. I can at least understand why stepehenie meyer wants to bow out and be a one-hit wonder

    her writing isn't anything to 'write home about' she just happened to capitalise on vampire romance thats been around for years and make it more accessible to the general non-reading public as well as teenage girls.

    thats my two cents :)

    with j.k. rowling, she'd be too rich now wouldn't she? id stop getting stuff published after that. too much pressure to perform. id just write in my little hidey-hole for fun and never let it see the light of day.

  10. I actually read somewhere that after the success of Harry Potter, J.K. Rowling does not plan on publishing any other books...ever. Sad but true. =(

  11. I think with JK Rowling and Stephenie Meyer anything they write after the massive success of their respective series will just pale in comparison. And it's better than some other authors that drag on a series long after we've grown bored with it. Like with the Anita Blake series. I don't think I can handle anymore ma petite after 13+ books.

    So which is worse, them leaving us asking for more, or out-staying their welcome? As frustrating as it is, it's probably better that they leave it on a high note. I mean I totally welcome any more work from either author, but I understand their hesitation. Even The Beatles had to break up eventually.

    But I just have one more thing to say about SM. Midnight Sun. Please God. Publish the darn thing!

  12. another movie to lookforward to !!!


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