Could you narrow down your reading to a favorite genre and author? Why, or why not?
I can from a historical perspective that may not fully reflect my current reading habits. At some point in 1975, I started keeping a handwritten reading log. With the computer age, the log was transferred into a computer program which not only keeps track of that information and the year, but the categories I created.
One downfall is that I break fiction into fewer categories: general fiction, alternate history, classics, foreign literature and science fiction, In contrast, I have a lot of non-fiction categories, going so far as to break “history” into 11 categories. I’ve combined the non-fiction subcategories in this list, though.
So from 1975 to present, there are 1,613 books on the list of which 583 were works of fiction and the remaining 1,030 non-fiction. Here’s how they break down in numerical order by category, using only those categories that hit double figures:
Science Fiction 307 (reflecting those years when my reading time was devoted almost exclusively to escapism)
Foreign Literature 55 (well more than half in 2007 and 2008)
Current Affairs 54
The Unusual 30
Popular Culture 25
Personal Finance 22
Political Science 20
Alternate History 19
Foreign Countries 13
Media and Journalism 13
Compiling this made me realize I probably need to get new book tracking software because mine doesn’t have the ability to easily produce information breaking down the categories by year. I think that might provide interesting perspective of how tastes change with age.
Given the significant amount of SF I’ve read over the years, the list of the most read authors isn’t surprising. Here are the only ones to reach double figures:
Philip K. Dick 28
Kurt Vonnegut 26
Arthur C. Clarke 25
Isaac Asimov 16 (not counting those in which he was the editor)
Stephen King 11
I am somewhat surprised Dick came up on top, although I went on a real Philip K. Dick bender 2001-2002. I would have predicted Vonnegut. And while my four favorite authors are all dead, I predict it would take a long time for anyone to catch them on my list.
Sometimes the appropriate response to reality is to go insane.
Philip K. Dick, Valis