Wondering What This List Tells Me

Inspired by Bibliographing’s “Bizarre Ranks of the Most-Read,” I’ve been turning over in my own mind which authors I have most read. Excluded are writers I read in my teens and poets, with a cut-off below 5 books.

There are no major surprises, though I wish, of course, it was more erudite, more literary. It reflects the volume of science fiction I read in my twenties; also an inexplicable passion for writers I can no longer abide (Amis, Irving, Theroux). Many other writers on the list I have ceased to read.

  • Iain (M.) Banks – 18
  • Robert A. Heinlein – 14
  • Paul Theroux – 14
  • Julian Barnes – 13
  • John Irving – 10
  • J. P. Donleavy – 10
  • Martin Amis – 10
  • Alberto Manguel – 8
  • William Gibson – 7
  • Ian McEwan – 7
  • Vladimir Nabokov – 7
  • Douglas Adams – 6
  • Haruki Murakami – 6
  • J. G. Ballard – 6
  • Glen Duncan – 6
  • A. M. Homes – 6
  • Jose Saramago – 6
  • Michael Marshall (Smith) – 6
  • Nicholson Baker – 6
  • J. M. Coetzee – 5
  • Geoff Dyer – 5
  • Graham Greene – 5
  • Friedrich Nietzsche – 5
  • Arturo Perez-Reverte – 5
  • Jean-Paul Sartre – 5
  • Elmore Leonard – 5
  • Ed McBain – 5
  • Franz Kafka – 5
  • Kingsley Amis – 5
  • Joseph Heller – 5

Three seems to me the decisive number; after three books in a row I branch out, get distracted by a new writer. I wish there were one or two more female writers in the list. That aside I am not mortified, though obvious to me I must read more Shakespeare (as opposed to watching the plays).

Thank you for the inspiration.

Author: Anthony

To quote Samuel Beckett's letter to Thomas MacGreevy (25 March 1936), 'I have been reading wildly all over the place'. Time's Flow Stemmed is a notebook of my wild readings.

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