There are always authors that I mean to read but haven’t gotten around to yet, only sometimes I get around to reading them and realize I already have. Usually this happens when I finally get into the respective author and check out their short stories. I end up realizing “Oh, they wrote that one?”
For example. Philip Roth. Now, at this point I have read every book he’s ever written with the exception of a couple of his nonfiction. However, for years I had not but I kept seeing his books in the bookstore or hearing his name and kept telling myself “I should really check Roth out.” Only, when I finally get intoRothI found myself realizing “Oh, he wrote ‘Defender of the Faith?’ I know that one.”
The same thing happened to me with Bernard Malamud. I’d intended to readMalamudfor years. Kept seeing his books in the store, but hadn’t picked one up. Then I start getting into him and read his collection of short stories. Of course, I note to myself “He wrote ‘Angel Levine?’ I love that story!”
I think this sort of thing comes from the fact that I don’t form quite as solid a mental hold on an author when I just see one of their short stories by itself. If I don’t find out more than just that one story, intermixed in a collection or some such place with other stories by other authors, I may not mentally associate an author with the story. Consequently, I can remember the story in detail but may not remember that author, thus forgetting that I like that author’s writing.
Of course, this happens less now that I talk more with other writers and readers. I end up hearing them talk about the author more often when referencing these notable sorts of stories and it is a lot easier not to forget who the author was. Kind of gets drummed into you.
Still, there are a hell of a lot of dynamite stories out there and a hell of a lot of wonderful writers. It seems impossible to know them all and/or pay attention to all the ones that one should. I guess that sooner or later I will have another one of these “aha!” moments. And, again I will feel like a jackass.