Behold My (Puny) Bookish Collections!

Hello there, and good morning! Once again, I’m linking up over at The Broke and the Bookish as part of their weekly Top Ten Tuesday feature. This time, the prompt is: “What ten authors do you have the most books from?”

This was a really interesting prompt, people! To complete it, I had to take inventory of my bookshelves, and in doing so I learned some interesting things about my book-collecting habits. And before I move on to the prompt proper, I’d like to discuss what those things are.

Thing #1: I don’t buy very many books. Ninety percent of what I read comes from the library. As I said in an earlier post, I rarely buy books (for a variety of reasons). For example, I LOVE George R.R. Martin’s and E. Lockhart’s works – and have read many of them – but I don’t own ANY of them!

Thing #2: I don’t buy books that I haven’t read. Why would I? If I end up not liking the book, then I just wasted my money. I do own some books that I haven’t read yet, but they were either given as gifts or otherwise acquired for free. (Sometimes the library gives away beat-up books free of charge.)

Thing #3: I don’t buy books that I don’t like. Even if they’re part of a series and I’ve read all its books. Because of this, I have quite a few incomplete series: Harry Potter. Percy Jackson. Maximum Ride.

And now for the rest of the prompt. Here are my biggest bookish collections!

1. Joy Hakim (ELEVEN)

  • The First Americans
  • Making Thirteen Colonies
  • From Colonies to Country
  • The New Nation
  • Liberty For All?
  • War, Terrible War
  • Reconstructing America
  • An Age of Extremes
  • War, Peace, and All That Jazz
  • All the People
  • Sourcebook and Index

These are the books that my brother and I read for American history in middle school. My mom wanted to sell them after we’d finished the series, but I love those books too much to part with them. So now they reside in my room, taking up at least half a shelf because there’s so many of them. I even kept the last one, which is literally just a collection of famous speeches from the USA’s history.

2. Laura Ingalls Wilder (NINE)

  • Little House in the Big Woods
  • Little House on the Prairie
  • Farmer Boy
  • On the Banks of Plum Creek
  • By the Shores of Silver Lake
  • The Long Winter
  • Little Town on the Prairie
  • These Happy Golden Years
  • The First Four Years

I still remember buying the Little House boxed set from a second-hand bookstore when I was about seven. We probably have at least fifteen such books somewhere around the house, considering that I’d already begun collecting the series when I bought the full set.

3. Carolyn Keene (EIGHT)

  • The Secret of the Old Clock
  • The Hidden Staircase
  • The Bungalow Mystery
  • The Mystery at Lilac Inn
  • The Secret of Shadow Ranch
  • The Secret of Red Gate Farm
  • The Clue in the Diary
  • Nancy’s Mysterious Letter

Hmm. I’m trying to figure out how to talk about how I acquired these books without sounding whiny and ungrateful. Let’s just say that one of my relatives thought I liked the Nancy Drew stories, so they gave me the first eight books. And I, um, don’t really care for the series. So half of those books have never even been touched. Which is rare for me, but Nancy is so. Freaking. Dull.

P.S. I did learn an interesting fact about the series today, though! It turns out that ‘Carolyn Keene’ isn’t the author’s real name after all. Instead, it’s a collective pseudonym, which means that multiple people write under one made-up name. I knew the more recent Nancy Drew books were ghostwritten, but I didn’t know that the series had had more than one author since its very beginning.

4. Roald Dahl (SEVEN)

  • Matilda
  • The BFG
  • Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
  • Boy: Tales of Childhood
  • The Magic Finger
  • James and the Giant Peach
  • The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar and Six More

This is my favorite collection listed here! Firstly, because I love Dahl’s books and have ever since I was a wee Engie. Secondly, because it’s taken me years to amass even this relatively small collection. I acquired most of the Little House series all in one day, but these books have taken time to find. Most were acquired second-hand.

5. Suzanne Collins (SIX)

  • Gregor the Overlander
  • Gregor and the Curse of the Warmbloods
  • Gregor and the Marks of Secret
  • The Hunger Games
  • Catching Fire
  • Mockingjay

I own the Hunger Games boxed set, plus the first, third, and fourth books of Collins’ earlier Underland Chronicles! I’m kind of a proud nerd about the fact I was collecting her books before The Hunger Games was even a blip on the horizon.

6. J.R.R. Tolkien (FOUR)

  • The Hobbit
  • The Fellowship of the Ring
  • The Two Towers
  • The Return of the King

These are part of a boxed set. Between my mother, my brother, and myself, we own three copies of each part of the Lord of the Rings trilogy, plus two copies of The Hobbit. This is somewhat odd considering that I’m the only one in this family who has ever finished these books.

7. J.K. Rowling (FOUR)

  • Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
  • Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
  • Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
  • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

I was given the third and fifth books as birthday presents when I was nine or ten, and bought the final two with my own money some years later. We actually have the full set, but my mom owns the other three books.

…and when you add up all my related-to-Harry-Potter books, the list grows even further. I own The Unofficial Harry Potter Cookbook, Harry Potter: Page to Screen, TWO different editions of Harry Potter and Philosophy, multiple books of sheet music from the movies, a coloring books, and several books filled with mini posters.

But none of those were written by J.K. Rowling, so they don’t count.

8. Jack Prelutsky (FOUR)

  • Something Big Has Been Here
  • The New Kid on the Block
  • It’s Raining Pigs and Noodles
  • A Pizza the Size of the Sun

I still have an entire shelf devoted to favorite picture books / children’s books, and Prelutsky’s works of poetry can be found there. I haven’t read these in forever, though. I need to.

9. H.G. Wells (THREE)

  • The War of the Worlds
  • In the Days of the Comet
  • The Island of Doctor Moreau

I’ve actually never read these. I’ve seen the movie adaptation of the first one, never touched the middle one, and had to read the last one for an online summer English class a few years ago… but never finished it. I did try, though! And I did read all the other books I was assigned, but I just couldn’t get into the story. I read about three-quarters of the book and called it quits.

And wouldn’t you know, I got an A on my essay for it. I read just enough to know what I was talking about.

10. Ridley Pearson (THREE)

  • Disney After Dark
  • Disney At Dawn
  • Power Play

Again, how do I talk about these books without sounding like a brat? Someone gave me some of the Kingdom Keepers books for a recent birthday and I would’ve loved them… a few years ago.

Like, I still read middle-grade fiction occasionally, but now that I’m in my late teens I honestly expect more from this genre. I like my middle-grade fiction to be a bit deeper than, “Wow, some kids go to Disneyland and have fun!” I read about half of book one and nearly fell asleep from boredom, so I put it aside.

-~-

So as you can see, I don’t have very many bookish collections. I have probably close to three hundred books, but most of those are standalone novels or the first books in a series. (And they’re probably sad because they miss their sequel friends.) My family does own a lot of books by the same authors – Bill Bryson, C.S. Lewis, and Tom Clancy all come to mind – but I don’t. Not really.

But I’m OK with that.

What do you think of my haphazard bookish collections? What authors are particularly well-represented on your bookshelves?

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About nevillegirl

Elizabeth. University of Iowa class of 2019. Triple majoring in English & Creative Writing, Journalism, and Gender, Women's, & Sexuality Studies. Twenty-one-year-old daydreamer, introvert, voracious reader, aspiring writer, and lesbian. Passionate about feminism, mental health, comic books, and cats.
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22 Responses to Behold My (Puny) Bookish Collections!

  1. Cori says:

    Ooohh, sounds like you own a lot of good books. *nods* I have a bag upstairs filled with my books (I don’t have a bookshelf yet), but it’s quite a small collection, since I’ve only started buying my favorite books in the last year. Although I haven’t really bought them, I ask for like a million for my birthday and my mom will buy me half for my birthday and half for Christmas. Most of it is made up of the Fairyland books, but Cathrynne M. Valente, of which I have all three who are signed and personalized by the author and all the Percy Jackson books, which are a nice box set kept in a cardboard treasure box (it came in it). And then there’s a bunch of scattered books from different series, mostly second or third or fourth books in a series that the library didn’t have.
    My family used to have a huge library of classics and YA books alike in the basement, but that got trashed by the Hurricanes and all our beautiful books ruined. Still, my siblings have their private collections from which I frequently borrow.

    • nevillegirl says:

      I have, like… eleven shelves’ worth? O_o I have a ton of books. I already know I’m going to miss them in college (because there’s no way they’ll fit into my dorm room, plus transporting them – from home to dorm room to a different dorm room the following year – would be too difficult.)

      Ooh, nice. I have a few signed books but they’re not my favorite books/authors. xD

      Aw, that sucks. 😦 *offers hugs because losing books is terrible*

  2. Miriam Joy says:

    I own a lot of Eoin Colfer. There are eight Artemis Fowl books, plus I have “The Artemis Fowl Files”, plus “The Supernaturalist” (an unrelated book of his). I have seven books by Philip Reeve (nine if you count the fact I have two copies of two of them), seven by Kate Thompson, six by Holly Black, eight by Terry Pratchett, seven by JK Rowling, five by Maggie Stiefvater, five by William Nicholson, eight by Tolkien, a lot by Anthony Horowitz although I inherited them from my brother, mostly…. I’m definitely a “loyal” reader, that is to say, I’ll buy books by authors I love on the strength of their previous works, and I try to collect entire series. Also I just generally have a lot of books.

    There are very few authors that are only represented by one book on my shelves, unless they’re non-fiction. There are some, but they’re few and far between. It makes reorganising my (alphabetisised, height-limited) shelves a bit of a nightmare because if I move one book I have to move all of the others connected to it.

    • nevillegirl says:

      I wish I owned the Artemis Fowl series… instead I don’t own /any/ of Colfer’s books. Oh, well. xD

      Those are some impressive bookish collections!
      (Also, have you read “Russian Roulette” by Anthony Horowitz? I just got it from the library and I’m really looking forward to it because it’s all about one of my favorite characters from the series who has never had his own story so far.)

      If I bought more books, I’d probably have many more complete series… as it is, I have only the first book of like ten or fifteen. Ooops.

      • Miriam Joy says:

        I have not. I stopped reading Horowitz a while back – never finished the Power Of Five series, never finished the Alex Rider series either, though it was a big part of my reading life growing up. I think I only missed the last one but it might have been the last two; I’m not sure how many there were.

    • nevillegirl says:

      I tried to start the Power of Five series and couldn’t get into it. I know it’s silly to think this way, but I think I was thrown off by how different they were from Alex Rider. Not that different is bad, but when I started with his other series and adored it, it was just difficult to get into something so different.
      But I’m rambling now. So.

      I think there are ten?? My favorite ended up being the ninth, so I’m glad I stuck with it for that long.

      • Miriam Joy says:

        I drifted away from them because I felt they became less and less plausible as stories and also his ridiculously short sentences annoyed me. I’m more tolerant now and might like them if I went back to them to finish the series, but I just never got around to it.

    • nevillegirl says:

      True. Point Blanc, the second book, was just… what even.

      • Miriam Joy says:

        I just checked my shelf — I have (and therefore have read) eight of them. I have a weird urge to track down the last two at a library now. Just for the sake of it.

  3. Mo says:

    The only books I’ve ever bought unread were two EDAs and The Letter Q, but I was fairly sure I was going to like them all.

    I basically have just one full bookcase of books–but most of my books are in boxes at the moment, so I can’t check what my actual booky statistics are, but I know that Tamora Pierce is at the top of the list–I own all of her ~30 books. (I started my collection when I was about 10 and a librarian was like, “hey come with me behind the counter I know you like Tamora Pierce” and she gave me sixteen of them. And I’ve been collecting ever since.)
    I have eight of J.K. Rowling’s–the full Harry Potter set plus The Tales of Beedle the Bard. I think I only have eight of the Little House books–I had all nine of my mom’s and then they disintegrated, and in finding new copies in the right edition has taken a while. Then I have five by Susan Cooper, four by J.R.R. Tolkien, four by Gail Carson Levine, three by Ursula K. LeGuin… honestly, I’d have to check because I can’t remember anymore off the top of my head.

    • nevillegirl says:

      Which EDAs? *is thinking about reading some of them*

      Oh, wow, that’s a pretty big collection for just one author! O_o

      I’d love to get a copy of Beedle the Bard… maybe I should get a copy the next time I’m at a bookstore. I hope it doesn’t cost as much as the HP books proper because it’s not as long…

      I keep meaning to read Susan Cooper’s books. The Dark is Rising series and all that
      Which Levine books do you own? I have Ella Enchanted and The Two Princesses of Bamarre. (And blah, I don’t like the cover of the first one. It’s this one:

      not this one that I prefer

      The first one just doesn’t look like I think Ella should…

      • Mo says:

        I have Earthworld and The Bodysnatchers. I think I like The Bodysnatchers a bit more, but it’s also probably harder to find–it cost $25 at Powell’s bookstore, but Earthworld was about $11 at Barnes & Noble.

        Well, she’s been writing since the eighties, like Terry Pratchett. And no, I don’t like every single one of her books, but I love others and I like having complete series–for example, now I don’t think that the Alanna books are fantastically written, but they were the first ones I read and so they’re nostalgic for me.

        I got my copy of Beedle through the library-castoff method. I’m not sure how much it costs new, though, but it’s probably less than the others.

        I have Ella Enchanted, Fairest, and…um… Ever, I think it’s called? And a book on writing that’s somewhat juvenile. I have the first version of the cover and similar covers for the others–I agree with you that the second one looks more like Ella should, but the books were gifts.

    • nevillegirl says:

      I love getting library-castoffs. 🙂
      I’ve never read Fairest and Ever. Should I?
      Oh yeah, I’ve read her writing book. It was OK. But I probably wouldn’t read it again.

      • Mo says:

        I don’t like library-castoffs as much because they have all the library stickers on them. D:
        Fairest I would recommend (also get the audiobook if you can–pretty singing!), Ever was just eh.
        I picked it up free and haven’t gotten rid of it.

  4. matttblack42 says:

    I still have a crazy amount of Hardy Boys books, which seem to be the boys version of Nancy Drew. It’s also written by multiple people under a collective pseudonym and the two main characters are the most boring characters I’ve ever read.

    I have a lot Stephen King books I bought back in eighth grade, back when my school library didn’t have anything by him. Also, if you count the books on my kindle,I have the entire ASoIaF series, though aCoK is the only one I have in physical form (which may be why I have a soft spot for it; I loved the feel of the book).

    • matttblack42 says:

      Also, I do purchase books I haven’t already read yet, but that’s only if I’m absolutely sure I’m going to enjoy it.

    • nevillegirl says:

      I think I’ve only ever read one Hardy Boys book because they’re so boring. xD

      My mom has a TON of Stephen King books. Especially his earlier stories.

      (And that would be the only exception to not buying books that I haven’t read yet – but even then, I can only think I’ve one book I’ve bought that way.)

  5. Nice collection! That’s not puny at all. But my collection is truly puny. I’ve got about eleven Shakespeare plays. The rest of my books are all by different authors, except for two by C. S. Lewis.

    Also, Things 2 and 3 are very wise.

  6. Cait says:

    Yaaay you have so many Suzanne Collins books!! I feel like a horrible fan because I love The Hunger Games so so so much, buuuut…I haven’t a) read Gregor and b) I only own THG and not the 2nd two and yes. Fail. My mum owns the full Laura Wilder collection, plus all her ancestor books too. There are like so many series off that one. o.O I, unfortunately, am not into them at all. Pioneers? I’d rather have Narnia when I was little.
    I don’t own many books either. Besides my Lemony Snicket collection of 13 books, most of my collections or 2 or 3 big. But I have an awesome library, so that’s okay.

  7. Pingback: Top Ten Authors I’ve Read The Most Books From | Musings From Neville's Navel

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