Tuesday, February 24, 2009
As I was putting my latest Richard B Wright acquisition on the pile beside the bed, it occurred to me that I like to read my way through a favorite author's total output. Maybe not all at one go, that would be too much. Too rich a diet these days.
When I was a kid, I was enchanted by the Bobbsey twins and I know that I read every book that came my way. Since libraries weren't as easy to access as they are now for kids, I pretty much depended on receiving a new book as a gift. But I had an aunt in the US who sent book gifts now and then and I was able to satisfy my need. As teenagers, my friend Gloria and I had a 'pash' for Rosamond du Jardin books. The poor woman just couldn't write them fast enough for us. We haunted our local library for news that she had produced another and immediately ordered it. I have no idea if we were her only local readers. And we certainly didn't want to be distracted by other authors. We did read many different books but we were always sort of holding back our enthusiasm.
When I was older, I remember reading many books but I don't actually think there were authors that compelled me to read every one of their books. Perhaps I was too busy reading for school. Of course, there are many other things to do when one is a young adult so reading, while always important, wasn't as all-consuming. I do know that I got hooked on reading short story magazines that could probably be called pulp fiction. I devoured Fantasy & Science Fiction, Analog, and Galaxy SF. Many excellent authors wrote for all these magazines in those days - and probably still do.
Later, I read every Michener I could get my hands on. I read every Clavell and every Catherine Cookson. By now, my delight in characters above all else is becoming clear. I couldn't get enough of books with continuing, interesting characters. Of course, this was the beginning of my love for mysteries where there are often unique, if not eccentric, fictional people. I would start with an author who created a particular world and motor through everything I could find; reading the newest books as they came out. The way that I acquire books now dictates that I can't just make a complete meal of one writer. I can read other books in between those I want to read serially and I enjoy them all. But I'm always on the look out for those writers I've come to appreciate. Mr. Wright is one of them.
Maybe it's like discovering people that you like to be with. You just want to find out more and more and having them go away is very sad. My mother used to tell me that books were my friends. I'm sure she'd like to know how right she really was.