In her post “Unread books by favorite authors,” Linda at Three Good Rats writes, “Weirdly, there are some authors who I consider favorites and whose books I usually read as soon as they come out, but who still have one book I haven’t gone back and read.” She asks, “When you find an author that you like, do you make a point to read all of their books? Do you ever stop at one even if you really like that one?”
Right away, I thought of a few novelists I adore, but whose complete works I haven’t read. (I’ve read most of their books, but not all of them.)
- I had David Mitchell‘s Number9Dream and Ghostwritten in my hands at Powell’s just last week, and I couldn’t decide between them, so I put them both back. (I’ve done the exact same thing at Porter Square Books. Can anyone make an argument for one or the other, or both?) Those are the only two Mitchell novels I haven’t yet read, and I’ve loved his others, even when I needed a nudge from book club to pick them up (Cloud Atlas, The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet). I’m a little worried that his earlier books won’t live up to the later ones, but they got very good reviews when they came out. So why haven’t I read them yet?
- After reading Maggie O’Farrell‘s Instructions for a Heatwave, I tore through every other book of hers, except for My Lover’s Lover. After that kind of reading binge, why stop with just one left? Partly I didn’t want to be left O’Farrell-less, partly I wasn’t sure it would be as good as the others.
- Between 2009 and 2012, I read five of Margot Livesey‘s novels; why not read Banishing Verona and Homework and collect ’em all? I always enjoy her books, but I’m not as passionately head-over-heels as I am for, say, Ann Patchett.
After coming up with those three, I realized there are more nonfiction writers than novelists in the “unread books by favorite authors” category for me.
- Eula Biss: On Immunity was fantastic, so why didn’t I immediately run out and get her earlier, National Book Critics Circle Award-winning essay collection, Notes from No Man’s Land?
- Stephanie Coontz: Every single book she writes sounds fascinating to me, but the only one I’ve read so far is A Strange Stirring: The Feminine Mystique and American Women at the Dawn of the 1960s.
- Leah Hager Cohen: Cohen writes both fiction and nonfiction, and she writes both exceptionally well. There’s no good reason I haven’t read all of her books, as I know they are good and I will like them. I’ve even checked out Train Go Sorry before and returned it to the library unread. I will read it though!
- Steven Johnson: I read The Ghost Map: the story of London’s most terrifying epidemic – and how it changed science, cities, and the modern world when it came out in 2007 and have been recommending it to other readers ever since. Why haven’t I gotten around to The Invention of Air or How We Got to Now? I have no good reason.
- Rebecca Solnit: Men Explain Things to Me is one of those books I would make everyone read if I could. (Cohen’s I Don’t Know is also one of those, as is Andrew Kaufman’s All My Friends Are Superheroes, just for fun.) I’ve heard great things about The Faraway Nearby but haven’t picked it up…yet.
- Alan Weisman: The World Without Us is, like The Ghost Map, a nonfiction book I read in 2008 and have been recommending to others since then. But I haven’t read his others, and I’m not sure I’m going to. I do want to re-read The World Without Us though.
Maybe next year’s project will be to read favorite authors’ backlist titles. What about you – any unread books by favorite authors?