Saturday, April 13, 2013

Twice-Read Authors

I recently listed some “twice-read books” as a way to share my interests as a reader. But some of my favorite authors were left off, because though I’ve read more than one book of theirs, I haven’t necessarily read any of their books twice.

But if reading a book says something about you, I think reading more than one book by an author might, too. After all, these are folks I came back to because they offered me something—however lowbrow or highbrow that was. They represent only a small percentage of all the authors I’ve read. Life is full, and there are many books. If I’ve dipped back into the well of an author, that probably means something.

Not counting trilogies and series as more than one book, or authors that after reading a second one I knew it was mistake, here are the ones I remember, in roughly the order in which I read them (or came back to them):

Jack London
C. S. Lewis
Mark Twain
H. G. Wells
J.R.R. Tolkien
Stephen Lawhead
George MacDonald
Patricia McKillip
Ray Bradbury
Fyodor Dostoevsky
Shakespeare (not just for school!)
Franz Kafka
Ernest Hemingway
Isaac Asimov
Orson Scott Card
Ursula K. Le Guin
Jane Austin
Nathaniel Hawthorne
Gabriel Garcia Márquez
Dean Koontz
Daphne Du Maurier
Henry James
George Eliot
Stephen King
Jane Yolen
W. P. Kinsella
Paulo Cuelho
Neil Gaiman

I think that list shows a few things about me: I tend to gravitate toward (and enjoy!) classical authors. If I’m adventurous (and sometimes I am), it’s only for a short fling—so they don’t make the list. Paperback writers are almost unknown to me (this is quite true). For me reading is an event, a cultural experience. That might make me limited in some ways, particularly in knowing what may appeal to the masses. But we are what we are. I like an intensely well crafted story, careful language, depth of meaning—except when I don’t.

Who’s on your list?

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