top 5 tuesday: My Most-Read Authors

Top 5 Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by the fantastic Bionic Bookworm.  This week’s topic:

OCTOBER 3 – Top 5 most read authors

5. George R. R. Martin (5)

I love this series and can’t wait for The Winds of Winter.  I enjoyed all of these with the exception of ADWD which really dragged for me.  Anyway… highly recommended!  You don’t need to be a big fantasy fan to enjoy these.  I’m certainly not.

Favorite to least favorite: A Storm of Swords, A Feast for Crows, A Game of Thrones, A Clash of Kings, A Dance With Dragons.

4. Lisa See (6)

Lisa See is one of my favorite historical fiction writers.  Each of her novels is set in a different period and location in Chinese history, and they’re all thoroughly researched and richly detailed, so I’ve learned a ton from reading her.  And they’re also entertaining as hell.  The one exception was China Dolls, which was a major flop – otherwise, I’d highly recommend checking out any of her novels if you aren’t already familiar with her.

Favorite to least favorite: Snow Flower and the Secret Fan, Shanghai Girls, Dreams of Joy, The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane, Peony in Love, China Dolls.

3. Kazuo Ishiguro (7)

I was OBSESSED with Ishiguro when I was a teen… he was probably one of the first adult fiction writers that I discovered outside of school, and I flew through all of his novels.  The Buried Giant was a major letdown when it was published a few years ago – I’m hoping he goes in a different direction with the next novel he writes.  Anyway.  Never Let Me Go is one of my favorite novels of all time and I can’t recommend it highly enough.  Though any of these are worth checking out – except, The Unconsoled would not be a good place to start with him.

Favorite to least favorite: Never Let Me Go, The Remains of the Day, A Pale View of Hills, When We Were Orphans, The Unconsoled, An Artist of the Floating World, The Buried Giant.

2. J.K. Rowling (13)

Obviously.

Favorite to least favorite: Harry Potter*, The Cuckoo’s Calling, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, The Silkworm, The Casual Vacancy, Quidditch Through the Ages, The Tales of Beedle the Bard.

* Order of the Phoenix, Goblet of Fire, Deathly Hallows, Chamber of Secrets, Prisoner of Azkaban, Sorcerer’s Stone, Half-Blood Prince.

1. Jodi Picoult (13)

DON’T LAUGH AT ME I went through a major Jodi Picoult phase when I was like 15.  Anyway.  I’m giving her the #1 spot over JKR even though they’re technically tied because all of these are actual novels.

Favorite to least favorite (take this with a pretty massive grain of salt after the first couple, because it’s been a decade since I read most of these and they all kind of blur together): The Pact, Second Glance, Salem Falls, My Sister’s Keeper, Nineteen Minutes, Handle with Care, House Rules, The Tenth Circle, Keeping Faith, Change of Heart, Plain Truth, Picture Perfect, Harvesting the Heart.

Darn, if only I had read Career of Evil before posting this J.K. Rowling could have won… oh well.  I will be working diligently to dethrone Jodi Picoult in upcoming months.  I have a feeling that Agatha Christie is eventually going to be the winner, but as of now I’ve only read four of her novels.

Who’s your most read author?  Comment and let me know!

book review: The Silkworm by Robert Galbraith

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THE SILKWORM by Robert Galbraith (J.K. Rowling)
★★★☆☆
Mulholland Books, 2014

I read The Cuckoo’s Calling earlier this year (not sure what took me so long) and loved it, but I was even more excited to start The Silkworm. I loved the idea of a murder mystery set in the publishing world, as this is much more my area than the foreign and glamorous entertainment industry, the setting for the previous Cormoran Strike novel. So it is with much sadness that I have to admit I found The Silkworm to be kind of a letdown.

This book was a hundred pages longer than it needed to be, and I have a simple suggestion for paring down that page count: remove every instance of Strike complaining about his knee hurting, Robin fighting with her fiancé, Strike resolving to use fewer taxis in the future, Strike pining after his horrible ex, and Robin and Strike going out to lunch. All of that comprises a pretty solid bulk of this novel, which passes the point of character-driven into the area of complete tedium. Rowling needed an editor with a firmer hand.

The plot itself was punishingly convoluted. Not only are there a lot of characters, there’s also a story within a story which contains thinly veiled references to ‘real’ people – it’s just a lot to keep track of. The pace languishes – there just weren’t enough clues dropped throughout to keep me fully invested. I won’t say anything specific about the ending – just that I didn’t experience the shock and awe that The Cuckoo’s Calling‘s resolution had elicited from me.

I know I’m probably giving off the impression that it was a chore to read this book, but it wasn’t. I love JK Rowling’s prose, I love her characters, mainly the quick-witted and kindhearted Robin and the abrasive but efficient Strike, and I’m looking forward to continuing this series. I’m only hoping Career of Evil wows me a bit more than The Silkworm did.