Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Why Have I Read Only One Book By So Many Authors?

I recently started asking myself the question that is the title to this post, why have I read only one book by so many authors?  There are authors, who after reading one of their books, I say I'm going to read more by them, but don't. They range from classic to contemporary, from serious literature to genre fiction, from very famous to lesser known.  I decided to compile a list:

Nick Hornby - A Long Way Down
Hanan Al-Shaykh - Only In London
Zora Neale Hurston - Their Eyes Were Watching God
Anna Davis - Cheet
Jeanette Winterson - Weight
Edith Wharton - Ethan Frome
Audrey Niffenegger - The Time Traveler's Wife
Rohinton Mistry - Family Matters
Rabindranath Maharaj - The Book of Ifs and Buts
Elizabeth Hay - Small Change
Francesca Lia Block - The Rose and the Beast
Karen Armstrong - A Short History of Myth

There were more, but these were the ones that stood out the most.  I liked all of these books, loved some of them. I intended (and still do) to read more by these authors.  Why haven't I yet?  I'm not sure. For many of these authors, I already own another book by them. Why are they still unread?  The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is the first book in a trilogy and I have the other two books!  It's embarrassing. Why haven't I read Salman Rushdie's Fury or Audrey Niffenegger's Her Fearful Symmetry or Edith Wharton's The House of Mirth?  Can someone tell me?

I own a lot of books. An insane, bordering on hoarder, amount of books. Are they too distracting?  I don't know if I lack focus; I have read Family Matters and Their Eyes Were Watching God. Do I want to read ALL the authors, even if I can't read all the authors' books? Maybe something like that. 

I recently read The Last Policeman, by Ben H. Winters. Will I be reading more by him? 


  1. I bet that my insane pile(s) of unread books beats your insane pile.... [grin]

    1. What are we talking here? +/- 500?

    2. Oh, well over 500. I'll have to count them up one day or two days.....

    3. I have a very handy spreadsheet so I can know exactly how many books I own that I haven't read yet. It's very handy and occasionally daunting. At least I haven't broken 1,000.

    4. I counted approx 200 books on my small bookshelf (not counting the ones stacked above it. I then have a pile at least 2-3 times that size plus another one probably the same size (as the book shelf) hidden in a corner.

      Then there's my non-fiction pile and the one waiting to be added to my database.

      So, say 1500 fiction and 500 non-fiction at a conservative estimate....

    5. Haha. That's awesome.

  2. If you put an unreachable goal on yourself it will never happen. I always say a minimum of 2 books by an author I enjoyed and want to read more by each year. You meet your goal, it feels good and most times you can read more than that.

    The answer really is there are far to many books in life and life is to short :-)

    1. I'm a moody reader and can't put goals like that on myself. It was more of an observation anyway, that I've only read one book by so many great writers.

  3. I try to keep my pile of TBR down to two or three these days, usually stacked on my nightstand. My "hoard" of personally owned books is something near 10K, most of which have already been read - you can view the sci fi and fantasy portion of it on my blog on the right hand side under The Card Catalog. I have a "want list" running at all times, and when I get low on the TBR, I either purchase or borrow one to a few more and they move to the TBR pile when they arrive. If I find an author I really love, I tend to make a serious run at all of their books pretty quickly, one or two a week until I'm caught up, then they'll go on the want list as their new works are published.

    1. My time reading time is sadly limited these days. If I focused on one author only, I'd be missing out on too many others.