I have a literary confession to make.
I hear readers all the time talking about their favorite authors. “I’ve read everything they written.” “When they publish a new book, I run right out a buy it.”
As a writer, I would love to have these people as my fans. I would love to have lots of people run out and buy all my books. It would be awesome.
But here’s my confession: I am not one of those readers. I have favorite authors and I love them. But I haven’t read everything they ever wrote. Nor am I typically a new release buyer. There are precious few books that I pre-order or wait in line for.
Why would someone who is as big of a bookworm as I am have not read everything by their favorite author? I think the first answer to that is to look at who my favorite authors are. I grew up reading and loving Ray Bradbury, Isaac Asimov, and Arthur C Clarke. Ray Bradbury alone wrote 27 novels and over 600 short stories. Asimov wrote, edited, co-wrote or was involved in the production of over 500 books. Clark has been attributed nearly 300 publishing credits between his novels, short stories and academic publications.
Given that I admired prolific author sections these is easy to see why I never thought I could read everything an author had published. I also grew up in the 1970s long before the Internet or ebook to come along. I grew up in a small town and access to books of any kind was a challenge. So even to track down and find all of the books that a prolific author like Ray Bradbury had written would have been an incredible challenge.
I graduated from the classic science fiction writers two more contemporary writers who were if anything just as or more prolific. I discovered Ursula K LeGuin through the Lathe of Heaven. I was an early reader of the Xanth series, the Dragonriders of Pern and the Sword of Shannara. What all three of these series have in common is that they went on to include many books.
So as much as I admire readers who have read everything from their favorite authors, I admire prolific authors even more and my to-be-read pile is simply too large to think that I will ever read all of the books by all of the authors I admire. Despite this I have to confess that I’m a little bit ashamed that there aren’t any authors that I can say I’ve read every single thing they written. So what is your literary confession? Let me know in the comments.