I don’t usually take part in the Top Ten weekly meme, but occasionally they and/or other regular memes will pick a topic that piques my interest. A couple of weeks ago the Top Ten topic was ‘The Top Ten Authors Whose Books I Own’. I’m glad they made the distinction between own and read! Thanks to Librarything this was easy as I could sort my catalogue accordingly. I wasn’t really surprised by the results (except one), but it was fun. So here they are:
Leading the charge with 24 books on the shelves each are two of the three authors I am most passionate about. So much so that they have their own pages up at the top of this blog. Of course it’s the late-lamented Beryl and Iain. Have a look above to see more about both of them.
I really must make time to continue my plans to (re)read everything they’ve ever written.
Following close on their heels with 23 books is Peter Ackroyd. I find his books are a little hit and miss with me, but his best are wonderful, and the others are always interesting. Amazingly prolific, I’ve only managed to read/review one of his (The Death of King Arthur) since starting this blog. Others I’ve enjoyed include Hawksmoor, English Music and Dan Leno & The Limehouse Golem.
Then come four authors with twenty books apiece.
Top of the list alphabetically is Paul Auster, who happens to be the third of my favourite authors. Again he is definitely overdue another read. See here and here for posts on him and his books.
Don’t you think he has the most compelling eyes? Married to Siri Hustvedt, he’s a New Yorker, and is the king of meta-fiction. Some people don’t like that, but I do!
Auster shares twenty books with Lawrence Block, John Le Carre and Michael Connelly. Two crime writers and one spy novelist.
I see that Block’s tenth Matt Scudder novel A Walk Among The Tombstones will be on the big screen soon starring Liam Neeson as the ex-cop, alcoholic but now TT private eye. Again I say to the adapters – why do you always start in the middle of a series? Actually I’ve read up to about number twelve, so am ahead so to speak, and I really recommend them.
More spies and crime next. At sixteen comes Ian Fleming – I have a complete set of James Bond naturally, and he keeps company with Elmore Leonard, who is probably the crime writer that makes me laugh the most – his dialogue-driven novels are usually hilarious as well as violent!
Having told you about nine authors, I can’t have a top ten – it’ll have to be a top twelve as three tie on fourteen books each. They are the incomparable Graham Greene, the prolific Stephen King, and the intriguingly named L Du Garde Peach.
Pictures of Du Garde Peach are few and far between, so you’ll have to make do with this painting by Thomas Cantrell Dugdale (not dated but Dugdale died in 1952, Du Garde Peach in 1974).
LDGP was the author of many plays for radio and stage, having a long association with the Sheffield Playhouse. He also wrote film scripts including the Boris Karloff film The Ghoul (1933).
But how would I own fourteen books by him?
Well, he wrote thirty titles for the Ladybird Adventures from History series, and I still have a pile of them from my childhood – much treasured (and all bearing my homemade library stickers).
If you want to find out more about old Ladybird books, visit The Wee Web which has them all!
So that’s my top twelve authors whose books I own. Which authors feature at the top of your lists?
17 thoughts on “Top Ten Authors Whose Books I Own…”
Wow! Fascinating stuff! Since most of my books *aren’t* on LT, I’d have to guess, but thinking of the space they take up on my shelves it would be: Italo Calvino, Sylvia Plath, Dostoevsky, Mayakovsky, Bulgakov, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Virginia Woolf, Colette and Jack Kerouac to name a few. Top of the list would come Agatha Christie – I have a copy of all of her books…….. =:o
Your shelves are so cultured – I’m quite envious (although you can keep Kerouac). One day I will read Colette and Woolf properly.
You’re not a Kerouac fan, then?:) I don’t know about cultured – is Agatha cultured? – I just read what I like!
They feel cultured to me in the best possible way! Christie being golden age counts of course.
I’m ambivalent about Kerouac – read On the Road and a couple more when I was younger, but *whispers* was a bit bored by the style, so not tried again since…
OTR Is not necessarily his best – I read “The Dharma Bums” first and it stood up to a re-read recently. The scraping the barrel lost stuff they’ve brought out recently has not been so good…..
P.S. I really must re-read Hawksmoor…… !
In no particular order, Philippa Gregory, Anita Shreve, Anne Tyler, Jennifer Johnston, Pat Barker, Ann Patchett and Cormac McCarthy.
Some great authors there – the only one I haven’t read is Ann Patchett, I do have Bel Canto on my shelves though. Must read more Cormac McCarthy too.
I love your Du Garde Peach story, Annabel! I’m not sure how many complete works I have but I’d certainly count Siri Hustvedt and Paul Auster (or Mr Hustvedt, as I like to think of him) amongst them.
Peach was the pleasant surprise! I’ve never been able to quite work out why I love Mr Hustvedt’s books so much, I’m hypnotised by the eyes of course, but also his prose.
And the playing with identity – I know lots of people think New York Trilogy is tricksy (I live with one of them!) but I love it.
I’ve never thought of doing this before! What will it tell me? Probably date me. Evidence of completism too. Off the cuff:
JAusten, CDickens, ATrollope, GEliot, lots of Brontees, DHLawrence, THardy, CPSnow, JPSartre, SdeBeauvoir, AHuxley, LPHartley, WGolding, (LGarfield, PDickinson, CSLewis, CFisher), DMItchell, ZSmith, RZimler lots and lots of anon, SHustvedt, PBarker, (J Lasenby), KAmis, BPym, EJHoward. Bet there’s more but I’ve overshot and not included detective stories or poetry. There’ll be more children’s authors when I think more deeply, I cheated the number asked for by bracketing those (erm WMayne, DW-Jones, AFine, etcetc)
Of course it doesn’t date you – just says you read a lot of the canon. 🙂
I don’t have the shelfspace to be completist these days – except for Bainbridge, Banks and Auster – and I’m not quite there yet with anyone except for Beryl. I do have three sets of the Narnia books though – does that count as 21? 🙂
PS Forgot Elizabeth Taylor, and Lesley Glaister
I expect mine would include Thomas Hardy. Elizabeth Taylor, Agatha Christie Anthony Trollope Wilkie Collins Barbara Pym and several other nineteenth century writers.
Colette, Murakami, Bulgakov, Calvino, Primo Levi, Eco, and Byatt would certainly be amongst my top 10.