Friday, May 03, 2013

The Favorite Author Dilemma

A good friend of mine an author-binger. He'd find a new favorite, then read everything by the author*.  Once he'd made his way through the complete works, he'd move on.  So "favorite author" was a constantly changing title.  For me, it was Tolkien from middle school to college, though Clancy, Asimov, and Herbert.  But then I read

and the title belt switched hands. It was just one book, but an internaional-only sequel added to the appeal of a smart kid growing up surrounded by racist morons. Courtenay wore the belt for a few years, threatened by Douglas Hofstadter's "Gödel, Escher, Bach", and then I found Jared Diamond

Sadly (for Jared), I almost immediately read...

Holy crap -- intelligent, multiple voices**, and a shady part of history -- what could be better? But, then I read did a bit of binge-ing myself -- I went through "Pigs in Heaven", "The Bean Trees", and "Animal Dreams". They were good, but none had the magic of Poisonwood.  However, Neal Stephenson had an entirely different kind of magic.
Before the Matrix, his big idea-filled mix of near-future sci-fi, political/consumer commentary, sword fighting and Babylonian mythology distracted me from the Wheel of Time.  "Cryptonomicon" and "The Diamond Age" kept the title in Neal's hands, despite the magnificence of "Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ's Childhood Pal", various work by Alan Moore , Grant Morrison, and Brian Michael Bendis tempted, but with "Stiff ", Mary Roach announced her contention. However, after that, an unprecedented flurry of activity came -- 3 books, 3 changes in the title:
Unfortunately, these authors only write books once per, respectively, 18 months, 3 years and too damn long.  So the title tends to change often.  Why do I bring this up?  Because I just downloaded the latest from Mary Roach: 

Will she take the title back from George Martin? I'm hoping yes, because I don't want to wait years for another book from my favorite author.  And, in case you're wondering, Jasper Fforde, JK Rowling, and Robert Jordan were short-changed because this is already far too long
* Easier with some more than others, clearly 
** Like in my head!