Ever since this post of Amanda’s, in which she mentions that some book bloggers and starting “projects to read the works of a single literary giant,” I’ve been coveting a literary giant of my very own (she chose Trollope, by the way). I’ve been mulling it over my head, weighing the advantages of choosing an older, native-English author who would thus be entirely in public domain and nook-ready without any translation concerns versus my own interest in more diverse, international, and obscure authors. Maybe I should choose two, I pondered, thus having the best of both worlds.
And then I realised, I’ve already adopted authors. Isn’t that what having favourite authors is all about? I’m working my way through their back lists and canons, getting to know them better, and rejoicing when the contemporary ones release a new book (and 2013 is a marvelous year for that).
I don’t want in any way to belittle those who undertaking formal projects to read all of an author. It’s a marvelous aim, and I imagine one that’s rewarding on multiple levels. But as for me, I think I’ll stick with my informal approach. Over the past few years, I’ve been shifting my focus more and more from trying out new authors to reading more of authors I already know. And 2013 has really seen the culmination of that: so far, of the eight fiction books I’ve read, they’ve all been by authors I’ve read and loved in the past (I’m almost done with The Mysteries of Udolpho, though, so Ann Radcliffe will be my first new author of the year). I used to love reading broadly, trying to read as many different author nationalities as I could, dipping into every genre and style, enjoying the whole smorgasbord of literature. Now I get to reap the benefits of that experience by narrowing in on authors I love who still represent a wide variety of time periods, ethnic groups, nationalities, and genres. And as much I’ve tried over the past week, I can’t choose between them. I want to read the complete works of all of them.
I feel fortunate indeed that I’ve adopted so many authors that to name them all would result in a list that would have your eyes glazing over. I’ve also adopted regions, historical eras, literary styles, nonfiction topics and even some publishers/imprints. That’s what my Assembling My Atheneum series profiles, and I find myself suddenly wanting to make it a fortnightly feature instead of a monthly one.
And who knows? Perhaps in a few months, I’ll decide on one (or two) authors who I’d like to focus on even more intently for a while. But for now, I shall be like the old woman in the shoe, with so many favourites I don’t know what to do. Except to keep reading, of course. ;)