One of the way authors improve their craft is by reading—a lot. It helps that most authors are first and foremost avid readers! A couple of fans of the “Ask an Author” feature were both hoping for new titles to add to their own “to be read” list as well as insight into the authors they are getting to know through this feature when they send in this question: how big is your personal book collection, and which one(s) is/are the most read tome(s)? I myself have a pretty large book collection of both hard and soft copies of books, thanks in part to a local second-hand bookstore (else I’d be pretty broke), my friends taking the easy way out and buy me collective bookstore gift cards for two consecutive birthdays a few years ago, and the perks of being a book reviewer. I have quite a few tomes that I reread; the last two years, Bahá’u’lláh’s The Kitáb-i-Íqán wins!
How many books? How many books? I have so many print books, we’ve had to rent a storage unit to store them, which is a bit silly because while they’re boxed up in cartons, no one is reading them. The space problem has become so dire that I have now made it a policy only to keep print books which have been signed by the author—a necessary decision, if there is to be any room left in the house for us. As far as the book I have read the most, I’d like to cite a literary classic like To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee or Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie, but the reality is children’s titles like Rosemary Wells’ Max and the Chocolate Chicken, Grandpa’s Slippers by Joy Watson and Tales of Amanda Pig by Jean van Leeuwen are the most read and dearly loved tomes of all time in the Murray household.
Wow. I honestly have no idea anymore. I have enough that it mirrors the one I saw when I was a child in single digits visiting the home of an archaeologist or paleontologist. He had a vast library with various trinkets from his travels sitting in front of the books at intervals. I feel I have that now. My most user worn ones are probably Bardic Voices Book 1: The Lark and the Wren by Mercedes Lackey and Mad Ship by Robin Hobb.
In my early days as a parent, I had to box up my collection of books to prevent a destructive toddler from getting into them. It’s only recently that the remainder have come out of hiding and found their way back onto a book shelf. I love being able to look through them whenever I want. However, my digital collection is MUCH larger than my print collection and contains many more unread than read books. Typically, I’m not one to read a book several times, but one which I have is The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater, which is one of my all-time favourite books ever.
My personal book collection for hard copy books is two shelves. It used to be more but I lost some. For ebooks, I have over 300 copies in my ebook folder. Among my books, my most read tome is my Oxford Dictionary! As a writer I am mostly glued to my dictionary. My second most read tome is Passion and Proud Hearts by Lydia Lancaster.
My personal book collection is – huge. It used to be bigger, but with a couple of house moves, it decreased, but slowly building again. I have a collection of books beside my bed along with a large built in bookcase full of books in the lounge. My Kindle is also full of books, so I will never run out of reading material. My most favourite book, the one I’ve read the most, would have to be Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen.
My partner and I share hundreds of books, many of which would entail a custody battle should we ever divorce. Because I have children, the tome I’ve read most often is The Hobbit. But the novel that’s been read the most is actually Grunts! by Mary Gentle: An over the top, deliberately tasteless, fantasy spoof following a group of orcs that find American military gear, and begin thinking like Marines. It’s so popular it’s been MIA (missing in action) twice, and we no longer let it out.
I move too often to count. So having the luxury of a library is about non-existent. I have about two book shelves worth of my most precious novels, mostly Anne McCaffrey, Tolkien, and Joan D. Vinge. The book I have read the most happens to be none of those, even though the Snow Queen and the Dragon’s of Pern series come in close behind. My all-time favorite book is Phantom by Susan Kay, because I have been in love with the sad story behind The Phantom of the Opera for a long time. This book tears at my heart.
It’s been years since I counted my books. Now, including e-books, there are more than two per day (730) and probably closer to a thousand. At least ten have been read more than once, but none as many times as When All The World Was Young. Hard bound or paper back are preferred and it is commonplace for me to have at least three books in progress simultaneously.
I have a library of hundreds of books, just hundreds. We have been winnowing them down lately because we are moving by the end of the year, and we can’t take all those heavy books with us. As for most read tome: I hardly ever read a book twice. I can only say that I re-read The Lord of the Rings trilogy and it’s a go-to book for trivia questions.
Image courtesy of Chad Mauger.