I got distracted again whilst looking at my bookcases, to see that I have quite a few books by authors with the same surnames. This led to me looking at my Librarything catalogue to see which was the most popular surname on my shelves.
Whilst I have several each of Taylor, Williams, Collins, King, Miller and Wood, one surname appeared in super-abundance…
Let me introduce them to you:
ANDREW: Author of a highly thought of biography of Patricia Highsmith – Beautiful Shadow. He also wrote this literary psychodrama The Lying Tongue, which I very much enjoyed reading pre-blog.
ANDREW (aka A.N.): I have several of A.N.’s novels on my shelves including Winnie and Wolf, which was Booker-longlisted and his most recent from 2012, The Potter’s Hand. He is also known for his non-fiction e.g. The Victorians.
ANGUS: Another Wilson I haven’t read for ages, I adored his novel The Old Men at the Zoo, and family drama Anglo-Saxon Attitudes, both of which had TV adaptations.
CHRISTOPHER: I have a book called The Ballad of Lee Cotton on the shelves. It’s about a black child born with white skin in Mississippi – I don’t know more.
COLIN: The Outsider, published in 1956 when Wilson was 24, was a phenomenon. It studies the trope of the social outsider in literary works including Hemingway, Sartre and Hesse to name but a few. I’ve not read it though, but used to devour his books about the paranormal and occult in my twenties, which introduced me to Aleister Crowley and the like – sensational stuff!
DANIEL H: Robopocalypse is destined for the charity shop pile, but it does have a great cover. From the reviews it seems like a novel treatment of a yet to be made film script…
EDWARD: Finally – a Wilson I’ve reviewed on this blog already. Edward is an UK-based American author of spy novels. I read The Envoy (review here) and enjoyed it a lot. I have The Darkling Spy to read on the shelf next.
ELIZABETH: The first female on the list. War Damage is set, as you might guess in the austere times after WWII. Hampstead is the location for a well-thought of literary whodunnit.
KEVIN: My most recent Wilson-read is a wonderful novel. The Family Fang is about families and the excesses of performance art. Hilarious, yet moving I reviewed it here in 2011. It made my books of the year list for best debut.
LAURA: I’ve seen some great reviews of her novel Stratton’s War around the blogosphere which is a crime novel set during WWII in 1940. See Thinking in Fragments to find out more.
LESLIE: She is one of the ‘History Girls’ I recently heard talk at the Oxford Literary Festival (see here). I have both adult and children’s books by her on my shelves. She was fascinating to listen to, having been at Greenham Common.
PAUL: I own two of his books, but know nothing about either except that they have great titles. Do White Whales Sing at the End of the World (1997) was a charity shop find, and was his first novel pubished by Granta. I see I’ve acquired his new one Mouse and the Cossacks which is newly out in paperback too. Both are set in NW England.
ROBERT: A British crime writer, Wilson is best-known for his Javier Falcón series, beginning with The Blind Man of Seville (2003) which are all waiting to be read on my shelves. However I first got to know him with his earlier Bruce Medway series of four novels which are set in Benin, Eastern Africa. Instruments of Darkness is the first and I enjoyed these gritty, hot books a lot.
ROBERT ANTON: Co-author of the totally bizarre Illuminatus Trilogy (with Robert Shea) – ‘A fairy tale for paranoids’ the books were full of sex, drugs, magic, tripping through history, time travel and conspiracy theories published from 1975 onwards. I devoured them but didn’t understand them then. He later wrote The Schrödinger’s Cat Trilogy (1979-81) which is quantum mechanics and magic, with lots of sex and drugs etc. I don’t think I could read them now – they’ll surely be horribly dated.
SLOAN: My copy of The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit is the Penguin Modern Classics one with a still of Gregory Peck from the film. It’s about family life and the corporate rat race in the 1950s.
That makes FIFTEEN different Wilsons on my shelves alone and over thirty books, (and that excludes my daughter’s Jacqueline W. books). There must be more!
Do you have a surname that dominates your shelves in this way?