Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Tuesday on Wednesday: Top Ten Popular Authors I've Never Read

Alliterative memes and lists on every topic under the sun are found all over the Internet and, as of now, they are here too. Well next week, when I get on the bandwagon of Top Ten on Tuesday, the brain child of the young women at Broke and the Bookish. This week it's just a top ten list with no alliteration. But the set topic is a perfect entry point for me as it will begin to make clear how overstuffed the shelves of this blog's title really are. For here is my list of "Top Ten Popular Authors I've Never Read."

There are a lot of bestselling authors I've never read, and many of them I'm unlikely to ever read. I'm not listing them. Instead I'm going to list those authors that I want to read, plan to read and am so secure that I will love once I do read them that I've amassed stacks of there books in advance of ever cracking a single title they've published.

You can start laughing now, 'cause here's a picture of all of the books by the authors I list below that are floating around my house:

Obviously, I had to waste a fair bit of reading time just to round all of these up (and I didn't even go upstairs to my daughter's room to raid the Tamora Pierce books she has stashed up there). Now for the lame excuses.

1) Martin Amis

He's first on the list because not only do I have five of his novels on hand, I'm going to go see him read this evening at Haverford College. In my defense, I've heard so much about his books, both positive and negative, that I know I need to get to these to form my own opinion. Why do I think I will probably like them? His writing style is reputed to be caustic, intelligent, verbally playful, and satiric. Sounds like my cup of tea, or shot of whiskey.

2) Claire Messud

I tried the opening pages of The Emperor's Children when it came out a few years back, but despite the praise the book received, I wasn't in the mood and never went back to it. The Woman Upstairs hit my radar when it came out last year and in this case, I loved the first chapter, bought the book and then proceeded to let it age on the shelf. Then I ran across a remaindered copy of an earlier work, The Hunters and bought that as well. Another literary superstar's collection that I haven't yet read.

3) Tamora Pierce

My daughter, my mother, my half-cousin and any number of YA aficionados of my acquaintance have been extolling her magnificence for years and years. At least in this case I am not the collector of many of her books that occupy shelf and floor space around the house. They are here and I do want to read at least some of them, but I'm pretty sure once I start I won't want to stop.

4) N.K. Jemisin

Last year was the moment when I rediscovered fantasy and ran around like a madwoman reading lists of books I should read. I was especially chuffed at discovering that there are non-white writers working outside the Tolkienesque rehash of northern european mythic literature (not that I don't love that tradition, I'm just ready for something beyond that set of source materials). I've got her  The Inheritance Trilogy and the two volumes of The Dreamblood waiting for me. My hesitation has been that I am wary of losing myself in her work and getting even further behind on my other reading goals. I'd better get on it since she has a new book coming later this year.

5) Margaret Atwood

I forgot, I have lots of her books around here that I haven't read, but I did read Alias Grace many moons ago and loved it. In this instance I've been collecting as a fully informed consumer (hoarder). In her place let me add

5) Andrea Levy

I will read Small Island and The Long Song someday soon, I swear!

6) Patrick Ness
7) Melina Marchetta

I've put these two together (and probably could have listed them with N.K. Jemisin) since in both cases I heard about them from friends whose reading taste I trust, and am certain that once I get started I will have to read everything they have written and both of them have at least one major trilogy completed.

8) Dawn Powell

A good friend recommended her work last year and I promptly collected a bunch of it from second hand sources, before I just as promptly got distracted by some other shiny and new-to-me author.

9) Colm Toibin

Really, I have no excuse here. The Master may appear dense since it's a novel about Henry James who was himself a writer of intense and dense prose, but Brooklyn seems to be straightforward and digestible. And, for god's sake, The Testament of Mary is only 113 pages long. I'd better hop to it.

And, as a true recognition of my failings, we have:

10) Alice Munro

No, I have no excuse, not even a feeble one. I could read one short story and get over the hump. Would that be so hard?

Ten is a pretty arbitrary stopping point, but I need to get ready to head out. Trust me, the list could be much, much longer. Don't even ask about the closets full of yarn. Okay?

Who's on your list?

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