Have you already looked your list of most read authors on Goodreads? Today I did that and found that really interesting because that simple list of author names, together with the number of books I read from each of them gave me a lot to think. A kind of contemplative kind of thinking, as if I was looking at a piece of my life listed, at all the hours I spent reading my favorite children books, or my vampire, paranormal fantasy, romance or science-fiction books.
I spent hours going through it, correcting when an author appeared with more or fewer books due to me adding a book in two different editions or forgetting to add it.
I also draw some final thoughts on looking at that list and, even if that list didn’t specifically show me as an extremely well-read or even intellectual kind of reader, I was still happy with its sincere, even if incomplete, picture of me as a reader. So, those were the conclusions I had.
1)I don’t have to read many books by the same author so that author is an influential or favorite author.
A couple of authors that were very influential to me weren’t listed because I read only one book from them. But that sole book stayed with me. Even if I haven’t read another book by the same author, their importance is still there. One of them is Victor Hugo, of whom I read only The Hunchback of Notre Dame or Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte. But I indeed liked that sole masterpiece. So they are equally influential, even if not represented on my list of most read authors.
2) I read mostly to entertain myself.
I do read a lot of classics, but only if the plot is interesting and the author’s voice makes it a not too dense and tiring read. If the style is too old-fashioned or the author’s voice isn’t catching, I’ll probably drop the book. A good story is not enough for me, it must also be told in a way it hooks me as a reader, or I won’t read it for long. I’ll probably skip a lot of pages or wait for the movie. I do though have more patience with books than I lot of readers I know of, and I’ll equally skip a book if the writing is too commercially oriented, so there are a lot of bestsellers books I could not read through or I’m not even interested in. So I’m not in the mainstream audience, but I’ll also won’t ever read a book only to look well read. I like to go my own way between commercial and literary reading.
3) I mostly don’t reread fiction books.
The only time I reread two-thirds of a fiction book was when I forgot I had already read that book. While reading it again I wondered all the time why the story was so familiar and why everything was so repetitive, until I saw I had read that book before. I think I still need some time to allow myself to reread fiction books. There are so many new interesting fiction books out there that I don’t feel like coming back, even if I gave that book five stars. Perhaps one day I’ll be in the mood of rereading my five-star books when I run out of new books on my TBR list.
What I could eventually do though is rereading some of my non-fiction books on writing techniques, so that all that knowledge has a second chance to stay in my mind.
4) I am faithful to the authors I like, up to a certain point.
Once I treasure an author’s voice I’ll read a lot of books from the same author.
I can follow a ten book series with the same characters and world, or read a five book series in the same week. If the author’s voice and the plot make their books an entertaining read, I’ll dive in their words like a seal, only coming back to surface after a thousand pages.
It takes a lot to put me away from reading further from the same author, but this will also happen if the author starts rehashing old plots in new books or the plots start getting weaker with each new book. I’ll also drop an author if he/she starts a new series based on themes I’m not interested in, or if he/she starts writing in a new genre I’m not really into.
5) I read a lot as a child and a teenager. And nowadays I read Paranormal Fantasy and Science Fiction while all other genres tag along.
I read 24 books of the Brazilian author Monteiro Lobato, mostly his children books series. My teens show in the list with Isaac Asimov as the mostly read Science-fiction author of 17 books, and Anne Rice leads Paranormal Fantasy as the most read author of 16 books. The list goes on with other Paranormal Fantasy, Science Fiction, Classic, Young Adult, Dystopia, Epic Fantasy and other Brazilian children books authors. The most-read author’s list shows my genre preferences, but it won’t show the occasional Thriller or Historic fantasy books I read, even if they aren’t always my first choice genre.
As a final thought, I know this most-reader author’s list isn’t complete, as I surely forgot to add some of the books I read and forgot about, but this is fine because, in the end, our look into the past or ourselves is never complete or really accurate.