Tuesday, July 07, 2020

Top Ten Tuesday

The Top Ten Authors I’ve Read Most

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday, bloggers are sharing the top ten authors they’ve read the most books by.  My list includes authors I have read over most of my many decades of reading with some on the list due to my youthful reading preferences while others are there because my interests have changed with age. All of these authors I would heartily recommend to anyone who enjoys reading. The reading numbers are from GoodReads.

1. William Shakespeare, 28 readings :  I have read and reread most of Shakespeare's plays over the more than five decades. His works are essential for understanding humanity and provide a reference point for understanding many more contemporary authors. 

2.  Plato, 26 readings:  Plato's Dialogues have provided me with intellectual stimulation for almost as long as Shakespeare. I read my first dialogue as a Freshman in college and have continued to read a reread Plato ever since.

3.  Leo Tolstoy, 18 readings:  While I did not read War and Peace until I was almost forty years old, I have managed to reread it several times while reading almost all of Tolstoy's other novels, novellas, and short stories. 

4.  William Faulkner, 16 readings:  I struggled with The Sound and the Fury in high school as part of my outside reading, but persevered over several readings and in the meantime found Faulkner's prose style in all of his novels and short stories to be most felicitous.

5 . Iris Murdoch, 16 readings:  I encountered Iris Murdoch while I was in college and over the years have read most of her novels and also her philosophical writings. The way she weaves philosophy and psychology into her novels appeals to me.

6. Charles Dickens, 15 readings:  My first Dickens novel was Oliver Twist which I read while at Summer Camp when I was twelve years old. Since then I have read  and reread all of his novels with delight, counting David Copperfield as my favorite.

7.  Henry James, 15 readings:  While I have not read all of his novels, I've read and sometimes reread most of the more important ones.

8.  Aristotle, 14 readings:  Again starting in college and continuing to this day I have read many of Aristotle's philosophic works. My favorite is the Nicomachean Ethics.

9.  A. E. Van Vogt, 14 readings:  This is evidence of my fascination with Science Fiction which peaked in my teen years, but has continued, albeit at a slower pace, till today. Van Vogt's superheroes were some of my favorite SF characters.

10. Thomas Mann, 12 readings: I planned to read all the novels of Thomas Mann when I retired, having enjoyed those I had read before then. I reached my goal a couple of years ago when I finally read Doktor Faustus, while Death in Venice remains my favorite.

Special Mentions (Authors who came close to making this list): Joseph Conrad, Robert Heinlein, Ayn Rand, H. G. Wells, and Virginia Woolf.


Lydia said...

William Shakespeare is a good answer!


James said...

Thanks for your comment - he's a treasure for our fellow readers and the rest of the world.

P M Prescott said...

Should have mentioned the Bard. Good list. https://pmprescott.blogspot.com/2020/07/ttt-070720.html

Susan said...

Wow! You have a very refined list. When I made my list, I was a little ashamed to see it was all popular fiction, no classics, and not much literary fiction. Oops! Oh well. We like what we like, right?

Happy TTT!


Stephen said...

Van Vogt is a new name for me, or at least if he's come up I've forgotten him -- ditto for Iris Murdoch.

mudpuddle said...

great and comprehensive list! i've had a lot of satisfaction from Van Vogt, also... i'd add Chaucer to the inventory, i think...

James said...

P M Prescott,
Thanks for your comment. Reading Shakespeare is fun.

James said...

Thanks for sharing your comment. I read a wide variety of literary and genre literature, yet I continue to return to some of the classics.

James said...

Thanks for your comment. Van Vogt was one of the great SF authors of the forties and fifties - my favorite is The Voyage of the Space Beagle (with apologies to Darwin). Iris Murdoch was a British philosopher and novelist who wrote from the fifties through the nineties. While she won the Booker Prize in 1978 for her novel, The Sea, the Sea; my favorites are The Black Prince and A Fairly Honourable Defeat. She also wrote philosophy, plays, and poetry.

James said...

Thanks for your comment. It is good to hear from another fan of Van Vogt. While I enjoyed reading The Canterbury Tales I have not read much else of the great Chaucer.

Lectrice Vorace said...

Impressive list! 🏆

Here's my TTT list.

Kathy's Corner said...

Hi James, Congratulations on reading and rereading so many great authors. Its only in the past five years that I have focused on reading the classics. I think I am approaching a point now where I can therefore focus on reading more books from the great authors I like. Because if I am constantly jumping around I will never get a deeper knowledge of specific great writers.

Brian Joseph said...

Great list James. I was thinking of putting together my own list. I did not think to include Shakespeare or Plato but it makes sense to do so.

I think that some science fiction writers that I read lots of when I was younger would make my list.

curlygeek04 said...

You've got a great list, very impressive! I've read War and Peace and a fair amount of Shakespeare. I'd really like to read Iris Murdoch.

mudpuddle said...

aside: have you read "The Silkie"? one of his last or maybe THE last book he wrote; it was highly imaginative to say the least... (Van Vogt)

Aj @ Read All The Things! said...

I love all the classics on your list! I’ve read books by almost all of these authors.

Aj @ Read All The Things!

mudpuddle said...

i finished "The Rainaldi Quartet" and liked it a lot. falling into a grave and breaking your neck sounded a bit weird, but Adam has very interesting things to say about life and music. i recalled that "Paganini's Ghost" was the book i referred to earlier; and i've discovered that a third entrance in the series has been published, if you're interested: "The Hardanger Riddle"... i ordered it from Abebooks and will read it as soon as i get it... i assume you'll not print this comment; it was just to complete some thoughts i had... like your post!

James said...


James said...

Thanks for your observation. I've been reading the great books for while and repeating some while I try to read more of my favorites.

James said...

Thanks for your comment - I think some of our reading interests may overlap as I also was much more interested in Science Fiction several decades ago. This list comprises reading over six decades.

James said...

Yes, I read The Silkie, but a long time ago. I think my favorites of his novels include The Voyage of the Space Beagle, The World of Null-A, The Weapon Shops of Isher, and The Empire of the Atom.

James said...

Thank you for your comment. I would recommend Murdoch highly, especially The Black Prince.

James said...

Thanks for your comment.