Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Favorite Authors

Since one of the ways to win the contest running over on NON is to enter a comment letting me know who your current favorite author is, I've been seeing a lot of new authors and a lot of best-sellers coming up in the lists.

I'm not surprised at all to find that a lot of people's favorite author happens to be the one they're currently reading. When I'm immersed an a particular author's world, it's sometimes difficult for me to picture the writing of another author—their tone, their pacing. I imagine it's much like trying to recall one song while listening to another. And if the book I'm reading is good, it is, at least for that moment in time, my favorite. (If it's not good, that's another matter.)

However, this response from the people who've left comments the NON blog brought to mind another question: is a person's favorite author the one they're currently reading because they're more likely to be reading their favorite author at any given time?

To put it another way, many of my favorite authors are prolific, and I'm bound to read one, if not two of their novels in a year. If I've just discovered them and they've been writing for a while, I'll usually devour anything they've written that I can get my hands on. This greatly increases the odds that a person will be reading their favorite author rather than one of the newer authors they may have picked up during their last book run. And considering that the average person probably read 25 books a year (I really hope that's a conservative number!), if two or more of those are by your favorite author, that really bumps the odds in favor of my argument.

It's a question to be explored in another giveaway, though I don't know how accurate people's answers are going to be. We'll see.


Shaida said...

Sadly, I think your 25 estimate is way too high. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/08/21/AR2007082101045.html
Apparently, 7 is closer to the mark. I remember from working at the library that most booksellers consider you a heavy book buyer if you purchase 10 or more books a year. Given that I can't usually walk out of a bookstore with less than 2, this seems nuts to me...but apparently we are well above the median in this particular habit!

Rebecca Chastain said...

Thanks for the statistics! You've inspired another post.