Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Repeat offence

Worn Out: At Eternity's Gate
by Vincent Van Gogh.
© Wikimedia Commons
Since I don’t have an e-reader, yet, ebooks have not made an impact on my reading process. I still read books in physical form. The only ebooks I read on the laptop or desktop are short stories and short fiction, anything less than 50 or 60 pages, usually over two to three days. I don’t have the patience to read lengthy ebooks sitting at my desk. It is backbreaking and can lead to a stiff neck.

This post is not about the way I read books. It’s about the many authors I discovered and rediscovered in the first dozen years of this ebook century. While I cannot recollect each and every author I read over the past 12 years, I can tell you the ones who come back to me more often than others. I don’t know how that happens. My subconscious probably opens the door and allows them in.

I took a pencil and paper and wrote down, offhand, as many names of authors I could remember; authors new and old I read this century. I came up with a list of 24 names give or take a few worthy exceptions, like John Steinbeck, Brian Garfield, and Tom Sharpe.

I ran through the list of 
established authors and found that I had read several books written by most of them, with the exception of Mickey Spillane, Ed McBain, John D. MacDonald, Elmore Leonard, Lawrence Block, and Jonathan Kellerman. These are writers I discovered quite recently and I haven’t read all of their books yet. They account for a sizeable number of unread books in my collection. 

Then I placed the authors according to the genres they write in. This is what it looks like, with a subjective recommendation for nearly each of the authors. The titles mentioned are not my favourites, they are some of the books I really enjoyed.

Fantasy & SF
01. Ray Bradbury – Fahrenheit 451
02. Edgar Rice Burroughs – Tarzan at the Earth’s Core
03. J.K. Rowling – Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

Spy & Thriller
04. Tom Clancy – The Hunt for Red October
05. John le CarrĂ© – The Constant Gardener
06. Craig Thomas – Snow Falcon
07. Harry Patterson (Jack Higgins) – The Eagle Has Landed
08. Don Pendleton (Mack Bolan) – War Against the Mafia

09. John Irving – The World According to Garp
10. Ernest Hemingway – For Whom the Bell Tolls
11. A.J. Cronin – Beyond This Place (most would vote for The Citadel)
12. Nevil Shute – None that I can think of

Crime & Mystery
13. Mickey Spillane – Not read many
14. John MacDonald – Not read many
15. Ed McBain – Not read many
16. Agatha Christie – The Murder of Roger Ackroyd (so far)
17. Elmore Leonard – Not read many. I haven't read his westerns
18. Lawrence Block – Not read many
19. Jonathan Kellerman – Not read many
20. Martin Cruz Smith – Gorky Park (Arkady Renko series)

21. P.G. Wodehouse – Blandings series

22. Oliver Strange – The Range Robbers
23. Louis L'Amour – Flint

24. Thomas Hardy – A toss-up between The Mayor of Casterbridge and Jude the Obscure. Michael Henchard (in the first) and Jude Fawley (in the second) must be two of the most intense and pathetic characters in English literature.

Who are some of the authors who have stayed with you this century? Which ones keep coming back through the backdoor? Do you let them stay?


  1. Wow, there would be a whole lot, I guess, lesser known names than the ones here. Richard Godwin, Patti Abbott, David Cranmer, Richard Prosch, Bernard DeLeo, Sarah Hina, G. B. Miller, Anonymous-9, Heath Lowrance, Rachel Olivier, Tom Doolan, Steven Shrewsbury, Chris La Tray, Ty Johnston, Travis Erwin, David West, Shauna Roberts, Keith Gouveia, Jeff Doten, Avery Debow, Mark Burgess, Steve Malley, and lots lots of others. Many I can't be sure I discovered in this century, or maybe at the end of last century. The years, they do run together.

    1. Charles, your impressive list of writers makes me guilty for I have only read Patti's short stories and nothing by the others. Funnily, though, I am familiar with most of these writers through their blogs and websites. I am going to keep these fine authors in mind and try and read at least one or two books by each of them.

  2. This is such an interesting list which gives me more authors to think about.

    And an interesting question. Too many to list them all... and I am at work so this just off the top of my head:

    Since 2001 I discovered and read most of the books by:
    Jane Haddam, Jill McGown, Deborah Crombie, S. J. Rozan.

    I had read Stuart Kaminsky's Toby Peters series way back when, but in the 2000's I discovered his series set in Russia.

    Also I discovered Tom Clancy, and The Hunt for Red October is one of my favorite books. But I don't care for the rest of his novels as much.

    Just in the last 3 or 4 years I found John Lawton (the Inspector Troy series) and read all of those. Read five or six of the Bernie Gunther series by Philip Kerr.

    My 2012 find was Len Deighton. Especially the Bernard Samson series. I am on a mission to read all of his books.

    1. Thank you, Tracy. The ones that come off the top of the head are usually the best ones and you have named some of them. I have heard of some of the writers you mentioned but haven't read any of their books. Deighton was a favourite in college and following your review of his book, I have started looking for some of them. He shouldn't be too hard to find.

  3. Interesting question. It's difficult to say which authors have impacted on me most over 12 years. I'm going to have to put my thinking cap on.

    I have the final 3 Bernard Samson books to read. I'm looking forward to them.

    1. Sarah, I am intrigued by our individual choices of authors and they almost always differ from one another. I might have read some of the Bernard Samson books by Deighton considering I used to read his novels a long time ago. His books are still available in used bookstores here and I'll pick up a few next time.

  4. Recently discovered unforgettable authors off the top of my head: Anthony Gilbert, Eric Ambler, Norbert Davis, Mridula Garg, Ismail Khadare,Belloc Lowndes.

    1. Neer, I scored a 2 out of 6 from your list of "unforgettable authors," namely Gilbert and Davis. The rest make it to my "authors to look out for" list.