Sunday, June 12, 2011

Sunday Salon: Favorite Authors

A few months ago, I wrote about the realization that I rarely explored backlist titles. Yesterday, I sat down and made a list of favorite authors and authors whose work, both old and new, I want to read more of. I took a look at all the books I've read in the past few years. When I got to the end of my list, there were 62 authors. Some are authors who have only written one book. Some are authors I've enjoyed for years and I've read all their books. About half, though, are authors with backlists I am eager to discover. Still, I was shocked. 62? How soon can I realistically read all of their books? I know I'll keep adding to the list of favorite authors.

One of the biggest joys of reading more deliberately and focusing on award-winning fiction has been discovering so many new-to-me authors. Some have been authors I've intended to read for years and some are authors I never knew before the award list was announced. The biggest thing I've learned, however, is how many amazing authors and novels there are. Try as I might, I simply cannot read them all. If anything, my ever-growing list of 62 authors reinforces my goal of reading the best books first, but it also reminds me to read for the joy of reading itself. There are plenty of wonderful authors I've read, but I'm not inspired to read all of their work. Conversely, there are a few authors on the list who wrote a book I rated less than four stars. Ultimately, it's the intangibles that earn an author a spot on my favorite authors list. Reading is immensely personal, and despite how much I enjoy the conversations about books and authors, at the end of the day, I read for me.
Now tell me: how many authors do you consider favorites?

Coming up on the blog this week:

  • Reviews of three fantastic novels by women authors I read for the first time: We Had It So Good by Linda Grant, Repeat It Today With Tears by Anne Peile and Please Look After Mom by Kyung-Sook Shin.
  • Debuts of three new semi-regular features: 
    • Loving the Des Moines Life, where I'll feature restaurants, plays and cultural events as I re-explore this fantastic city
    • Thursday TV, where I'll showcase my favorite television shows (coming 6/23!)
    • Short Fiction Saturday, where I'll examine a short story or short story collection as I attempt to fully embrace short fiction (even if I always love novels more) (coming 6/25!)

As an affiliate, I receive a  small commission when you make a purchase through any of the above links. Thank you for helping to support my book habits that bring more content to this blog!


  1. 62 is a high number! I have never sat down and listed my favorite authors, but I would guess the number is about half of yours.

  2. There are four favorite authors who have featured pages on my blog, which means I'd like to read everything they've ever written. But I have about 20 authors that I consider favorites for one reason or another, and still more where I read one book and am interested enough to read more.

  3. I need to make a list like this as well. I know I have a bunch of favorites, but have no idea how many would make the list. This seems like it would be a good project for the summer time.

  4. Wow, 62!? I've discovered a lot of new authors, and will continue to do so, since I've put more of a focus on literary and prize-winning fiction. Of the authors I consider "favorites", many are those authors I read as a younger person -- high school, undergraduate years. I need to get better at reading more by each author and understanding their body of work. I've done this with Siri Hustvedt and Paul Auster, and it's been immensely worthwhile.


Thank you for taking the time to comment. Happy reading!