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April 26, 2003

Must…write…more…about…books….

Johan just published a nifty list he made of the 53 most frequent authors (i e the ones we own the most books by) in our book collection. Together they have written 37% of the fiction we own. Since the books are mine, too, and since Johan’s posting is in Swedish, I’ll take the liberty to publish the list here, too, so I can comment on it (the numbers in brackets are the number of books we have by each author):

Moorcock, Michael (64)

Vance, Jack (61)

Tolkien, J. R. R. (45)

Pratchett, Terry (39)

Shakespeare, William (39)

Wodehouse, P. G. (30)

Jones, Diana Wynne (28)

Alving, Barbro (24)

Jansson, Tove (23)

Dick, Philip K. (22)

Howard, Robert E. (21)

Banks, Iain (20)

Leiber, Fritz (19)

Aldiss, Brian (17)

Brust, Steven (17)

Lagerlöf, Selma (17)

Lewis, C. S. (17)

O’Brian, Patrick (17)

Burroughs, Edgar Rice (15)

Christie, Agatha (15)

Zelazny, Roger (15)

Priest, Christopher (14)

Vonnegut, Kurt (14)

Henrikson, Alf (13)

Lang, Andrew (13)

Lundwall, Sam J. (13)

Nesser, Håkan (13)

Dickens, Charles (12)

Durrell, Gerald (12)

Heinlein, Robert A. (12)

James, P. D. (12)

Jordan, Robert (12)

Sandman Lilius, Irmelin (12)

Sayers, Dorothy L. (12)

Simak, Clifford (12)

Ahlin, Lars (11)

Delany, Samuel R. (11)

George, Elizabeth (11)

Gray, Alasdair (11)

Lindgren, Astrid (11)

Nesbit, Edith (11)

Orwell, George (11)

Asimov, Isaac (10)

Ballard, J. G. (10)

Cabell, James Branch (10)

Claesson, Stig (10)

Dagerman, Stig (10)

de Camp, L. Sprague (10)

Donaldson, Stephen (10)

Faulkner, William (10)

Greene, Graham (10)

McDonald, Ian (10)

Silverberg, Robert (10)

Not so very interesting to anyone else, perhaps; yet there are a couple of things that occur to my naked eye as I look at the list. While many of the names belong to authors we buy everything by, some of them — Christie, Jordan, de Camp — are writers neither of us like at all. I had a Christie period in my teens, and still read the occasional one, but when I do I usually find myself wondering why I do. Robert Jordan. . . well, he wouldn’t be on the list if Johan hadn’t been collecting everything Conan, years ago — and the same goes for de Camp. Moorcock was one of the authors Johan used to edit the Swedish translations of (hence getting free copies), but he is also a “buy everything” author, like Pratchett, Jones, Alving and Jansson. We’re trying to get a complete Shakespeare collection (apart from the three one-volume Complete Works we own — those are not annotated) but it’s a matter of finding them in good editions. The situation with Vance is more complicated — he is certainly an author I’ve been buying everything I could find by, but we also have two copies of some titles now that batch 1 of the VIE has arrived. Not that we are getting rid of the old copies — the VIE is a brand new edition, after all; the texts are not the same — but neither do I buy the ones we don’t yet have, since we are going to get them soon enough anyway.

Anyway. Books make me happy. I like to be surrounded by books. I really like the list above, it makes me feel rich, even though I know it’s nothing compared to what a lot of people have. But that doesn’t matter. It’s not a competition, I think.

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