Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Most-Read Authors

Taking a page from Emily, Amateur Weeder, and Nicole, I've decided to compile a list of my most-read authors. Naturally, it's an odd list that doesn't actually reflect my current reading tastes. Emily and Nicole cut off at five but since my numbers aren't as huge I decided to stop at three.

Dean Koontz - at least 30
Anne Rice - 18
Peter David - 9
Isabel Allende - 6
Toni Morrison - 6
William S. Burroughs - 5
Dan Simmons - 5
Roberto Bolaño - 4
F. Scott Fitzgerald - 4
Mark Twain - 4 (one was an anthology)
Virginia Woolf - 4
William Faulkner - 3
Hermann Hesse - 3
Jack Kerouac - 3

I went through the Dean Koontz bibliography on Wikipedia and counted all the titles that sounded familiar. I was a huge Koontz fan from the time I was about 11 until about halfway through college when I realized that all his books were following the exact same formula, centered on exact same stock characters, had too many damn superdogs, and each one was preachier than the last. While I still hold several of his works in high regard (particularly Phantoms, Winter Moon, and Seize the Night), I no longer seek him out.

Anne Rice was another high school favorite - something about all that WANGST just appeals to teenagers, I think. I've read pretty much everything she's written that wasn't either Christian or erotica. I still do like her and strongly recommend her but, at the same time, haven't picked up any of her books in a long time, other than a recent partial reread of The Witching Hour.

Peter David - Star Trek novels. All of them.

Isabel Allende was yet another high school favorite I no longer read. So were Burroughs and Kerouac, as part of a wannabe-iconoclast phase. I actually owned Burroughs's The Soft Machine, The Ticket That Exploded, and Nova Express at one point but never, ever made sense of any of them. I think I gave them away to a used book sale, although I still have Naked Lunch and Exterminator!

Toni Morrison, Mark Twain, and William Faulkner - meh. Once again, I liked Morrison better when I was younger. Maybe it's time for a reread? Was assigned As I Lay Dying in college and couldn't stand it.

I like Woolf but can't say I love her the way Emily does.

But Hermann Hesse, Dan Simmons, Roberto Bolaño, and F. Scott Fitzgerald - love them all!

In closing: favorite authors ≠ most-read authors. It was an interesting exercise, though, one that reflected my changing book preferences.

Update: I forgot Faye Kellerman until Jill reminded me in the comments! I've read 15 of her books which puts her between Anne Rice and Peter David. I still enjoy her Peter Decker/Rina Lazarus series and just learned that there is a new one out I haven't read yet.


Emily said...

I think it's interesting that many peoples' lists include authors they read "back in the day" - I wonder if there's something about reading as a middle- or high-schooler that encourages binging on book after book by the same author, in a way that adult reading doesn't? Like, maybe one's reading world seems smaller as a teenager. Nowadays there are just SO many different books & authors I want to read, that I have trouble even getting to the back-logs of my very, very favorites. I don't remember having that feeling as much back in high school.

rhapsodyinbooks said...

What about the Kellermans? Shouldn't they be on your list?

E. L. Fay said...

Emily: Yes, that's definitely why the results are so weird. For me, I think Koontz is such light reading that it's easy to plow through a ton of his books. Rice is just addicting.

Jill: OMG! Thanks for reminding me! I knew I was forgetting somebody!

Amateur Weeder said...

If I went down to three, I'd have a dang long list. A lot of this is a function of nothing more than age. I have even read three Anne Rice novels!

E. L. Fay said...

Oh I'm sorry! I called you "Amateur Reader" in the post. Fixed it.

Yeah, I was surprised at how short my list was. Hopefully it'll grow before long.

Amateur Weeder said...

Ha! I need to make the same list, but with weeds.

Dandelions - 117
Coffeetree seedlings - 78
That thing that looks sort of like a cabbage with antenna - 45

Richard said...

E.L. Fay, I suspect Amateur Weeder's name change, like The Artist Formerly Known as Prince's, is only temporary. However, I've never been mistaken for Paul the psychic World Cup octopus either! Of the writers on your list, I've read the most by Bolaño (7 + another 1 just started today) followed by Woolf (4, all this year due to Woolf in Winter) with Woolf possibly tied by F. Scott Fitgerald (I lost track of what I read by him, but I was a big fan back in high school and college). Never read any Koonst and dropped Interview with the Vampire due to boredom/bad timing years ago (this sometimes happens--not a true knock on Anne Rice). Anyway, interesting post and it's been fun seeing what you and the others have been big readers of over time and/or once upon a time!

JoAnn said...

Oh, this is fun! I'll bet Stephen King and John Grisham would be near the top of my list, but I haven't read either one of them in ages. Need to look through my reading journal...

E. L. Fay said...

Weeder: I just weeded yesterday and was too sore to go running today! My strawberry patch was buried in jungle!

Richard: I actually thought they were two different people at first - that's why I was so apologetic! You're lucky to have read all that Bolaño.

JoAnn: I tried to like King but couldn't - his prose just never did anything for me. The only Grisham I've read was The Testament which I actually loved.

claire said...

Your DeaN Koontz was my Stephen King. This is such a fun exercise!

Related Posts with Thumbnails