I know it’s only been three days since my last post, but I had some time off yesterday, and I realized a thing. I’ve read 68 books this year. 68! That’s crazy. Just bonkers. It took me years to work up to reading 50 books a year. It always seemed so impossible, like–how the hell does someone even read 50 books in one year? And then, last year, I did it. A few over 50, actually. I was so proud of myself that I decided to up the count to 75 this year. I thought, ha, that’s unlikely. I’m going to come in at 60 or something. No way will I actually make it to 75.
But. But! I’m at 68, and it’s only October. Not only that, but I’ve already read 6 books this month. My average has been about 6 books per month this year, and I’ve already reached that only halfway through the month. What.
Okay, I know this doesn’t seem all that cool, and maybe it isn’t, but I’m really impressed with myself. Reading has always been a great love of mine, but also not something I avidly did. Which always annoyed me, and which I always wanted to improve upon. Also, come on, when was the last time you read 68 books in one year? I’m happy about this.
In light of this achievement, I thought it might be fun to look at my auto-buy authors. Now, I’ve talked about this a few times, but for those of you who are new to this term, I just heard it recently on the web. (I’m rolling my eyes, too, it’s okay.) I was watching jessethereader, my absolute favorite booktuber, when he just dropped the term, casual as you like, and it occurred to me that, well, I have a lot of those.
What is an auto-buy author? It’s someone who you buy their books no matter what they’re about, sometimes without even knowing what they’re about, simply because said author wrote them.
So, without further ado, here are my top seven auto-buy authors. This will be broken down by who, how many books I own and have read, why they’re an auto-buy, how I got into them, and what you should read first if you’re interested in diving in.
Who: Maggie Stiefvater
How Many Books–Read/Own: 17/17
Why/How: Literally no one is surprised that Maggie is at the top of my list. I first discovered Maggie’s writing in high school. It was 2009, my junior year, and I was in Barnes & Noble. Confession: I really hadn’t read a lot of YA up to that point, and still wouldn’t read a lot until about a year ago. However, I was browsing around and stumbled across this book with this beautiful cover. It was all blue, tree branches circling around the word Shiver with a little red dot hovering over the i and a wolf in the corner. I’m a sucker for pretty covers, so I picked it up, found out there were werewolves in it, and immediately bought it. The rest, as they say, is ancient history. I was hooked. Like, I’m taking I gave it to every single friend within reach. I was adamant that people needed to read this woman’s writing because she was going to take over the world. I wasn’t wrong. A year later, she published Linger, the sequel, and I went to her signing in Natick. I was starstruck. All I managed to do was stare at her, mouth agape, just stunned by the fact that Maggie Stiefvater (pronounced Steve-otter) was sitting in front of me.
Life went on. Forever came out, I wept at the end of a truly wonderful series, and eagerly awaited her next novel. The Scorpio Races came out in 2011, I gobbled that up, and then it was a waiting game. Not that long, really, but I was in college when the first Raven Cycle novel came out, so it felt like a lifetime in between The Scorpio Races and The Raven Boys. Up to that point, I hadn’t yet read the Books of Faerie because I thought faeries were dumb. I’m still mad at myself for that. Faeries are terrifying, first of all, and often homicidal, second of all. Lament and Ballad were a welcome relief during the year before The Raven Boys. And then–well, magic. The Raven Cycle is perhaps some of my favorite writing from any author in the world. Shiver still remains my favorite novel by Maggie, and I honestly do reread it every winter, but TRC is just–there aren’t even really words for what it is. A gateway, for me, and a brand new look into the world. TRC is the reason I finally put down Ronan and started writing YA. It is also the reason I finally started reading YA again.
So yes, I have read every single thing Maggie has ever published, and I’m not even ashamed. She’s an amazing writer. Her command of language is masterful. Her story-telling is out of this world. Her characters will stay with me forever. Not only do I own more books of hers than I do anything else on my shelf, but she is also my favorite author. If you think I’m lying, here is me pouring out my soul, not once, not twice, but three times, about how much I love her words.
What to Read First: The Scorpio Races. It’s a standalone, and it really showcases the beauty of Maggie’s language. It’s about horses that are born of the water, which makes them incredibly difficult to tame and prone to violence. There’s a race every year on the beach with these horses. This is the story of one horse, and the two people who loved him. I reread it every November.
Who: Margaret Weis & Tracy Hickman
How Many Books–Read/Own: 10/17
Why/How: These books. These books, guys. Okay, so what I own is all DragonLance. Have they written anything else? I read Lord of the Rings before DragonLance, but DL is what got me into fantasy and reading. Yes, Harry Potter was a huge part of my life, and is definitely the reason I’m a writer and reader today, but DL was the start of it all. I read LOTR when I was too young the first time, and didn’t really absorb anything, but DragonLance–oh man. These books. These goddamn books.
Okay, so DL is the worst of the worst guilty pleasure fantasy. You know how sometimes people go, ugh, trashy romance paperbacks. Well, hi. This is trashy fantasy paperbacks, and I freaking love it. Not only did I want to be Raistlin Majere when I was younger, I wanted to be with him. He was my first real fictional crush. I was so in love with him, it wasn’t even funny. I used to spend all my time on DragonLance forums, reread the first three books numerous times, and just generally made my dad roll his eyes constantly over my babbling about them.
What is DragonLance? It is, get this, a story inspired by a game of D&D. I’m not even lying to you. There’s elves, halflings, kender, dwarves, mages, dragons, and a million other things. There’s so much. Noble knights, fainting ladies, evil half-sisters, different robe colors for different mage levels, a legendary lance–my goodness, these books.
What to Read First: Honestly, maybe don’t? These books are really awesome, but like–also not. They’re good, they really are, but you have to go into them knowing what they are. If you do want to read them, I’d suggest starting at the beginning. Dragons of Autumn Twilight. I can’t recommend much past that trilogy and the Legends trilogy, though.
Who: Lemony Snicket
How Many Books–Read/Own: 9/13
Why/How: Alright, the only reason Snicket is in here is because I bought all of A Series of Unfortunate Events, and I really don’t have any other authors that have written that many books. However, he’s probably not even in my top 50 favorite authors, and it’s taking me this long to get through the series because good grief, it’s obnoxious. Now, don’t get me wrong, I do really enjoy ASOUE, but I definitely would have enjoyed it more as a child. The repetitive plot has gotten to the point where it’s often difficult to read a book in less than a week because I just want to be doing literally anything else than watching predictable Count Olaf scheme something predictable and predictably get caught by the Baudelaire’s while everyone predictably doesn’t believe them. Yawn. They’re good, just better when you’re not 25. Someday, I’ll finish reading these.
What to Read First: The Bad Beginning. Ha, that’s because it’s the first one.
Who: JK Rowling
How Many Books–Read/Own: 11/12
Why/How: Oh, Harry. I actually have a picture for this one:
I’ve been waiting for the right time to share this picture. It’s from 1999, which means, as pictured, only the first three had been published. This is Christmas, and that’s little ole me running over to my dad, who’s holding the beginning of my reader/writer life. Wow. While Maggie is my favorite author, these are my favorite books. There’s really no way for me to put into words how I feel about them. It’s this all-encompassing warmth that makes literally everything else fall away. It doesn’t matter how many times I’ve read them. Every time I start again, it feels like coming home. There is nothing in the world as great as Harry.
So, at age 7, I was first introduced to Rowling via Harry Potter. My dad, over the next few years, read the first three to me. By the time I got to the fourth grade, I read the fourth one on my own, and then it was just a few short months before Order of the Phoenix came out. I currently have four HP tattoos–the Marauders pawprints (also my first), Sirius’s signature from his letters and his Azkaban numbers, the three stars at the top of the pages, and Harry’s glasses with the lightning bolt. If that doesn’t tell you just how much these words mean to me, I don’t know what will.
Admittedly, I have not read anything else by Rowling. Outside of Harry, I mean. I have read the Fantastic Beasts screenplay and, ugh, Cursed Child (I know she didn’t write it, but still), and what have you, but I haven’t read anything by Robert Galbraith, or her adult novel. This is purely because I can’t separate her from Harry, and that’s my own fault. Hopefully, someday.
What to Read First: Duh, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.
Who: Ellen Hopkins
How Many Books–Read/Own: 10/12
Why/How: I first started reading these books in high school, as I’m sure most people my age did, but I continued reading them long after. There are two (maybe three, whoops) of the ones I own that I haven’t read, but that’s just because I started to forget which stories were which, and which ones I’d read. Now that they’re all out, I’d like to someday go back and read them again, but we’ll see if that ever happens.
These are great books for when you’re in high school. It’s the perfect kind of angst, and it’s everything you need at that time. They’re all, with the exception of Collateral and Triangles, written as poetry, and it’s both a really interesting format and a really fitting one. While I was creating this list, there was some authors I didn’t want to put on here (hence why it’s seven instead of ten) because I just don’t read them anymore or consider them someone I would auto-buy, but I auto-bought Hopkins for a long time, and still really enjoy the stories she told.
What to Read First: Crank. Not even because it’s the first, but because it’s the best.
Who: David Mitchell
How Many Books–Read/Own: 7/7
Why/How: College, sophomore year, 2012. I was in screenwriting class, and my professor showed us the trailer for an upcoming film, Cloud Atlas. He said it was going to blow our minds. Spoiler: it did. The trailer is just wild. I’ve linked it here so you can experience what I did. Watch the whole thing. I mean it.
So, we watch this totally bizarre trailer, and fangirl me sees that it has Ben Whishaw in it (The Hour & Q from the James Bond films, though the reason I first fell in love with him was when he played Keats in Bright Star). This is how I watch movies and TV shows. I find an actor/actress I like, and I watch everything they’ve ever been in. Or, at least, I try to. The only one that’s successfully happened with is Chris Evans. However, I like to read books before I watch their film adaptations, so I bought Cloud Atlas, forgot about it, the movie came out, and time went out. Probably half a year later, I decided it was high time I watched this movie, so I dug up the book, and dug in.
The first time you ever read this novel, I hope you do the same thing I did. I got to the end of the first chapter, yelled something probably profane, and immediately flipped to the end of the book. That never happens, but it certainly did this time. Why? Because chapter one ends in the middle of a sentence. A riveting sentence, too. In the middle of a story. Every chapter, the same thing happens, though in different ways.
And that was that. I read Cloud Atlas, mostly enjoyed it (that sixth life is a tough one to get through), and didn’t think twice about it. Two years later, in 2014, I finally purchased Black Swan Green, and spent months reading it. I just found my old review of it, which reads, “The thing that continues to amaze me is that almost nothing happens in this novel, and yet, it is incredibly written, and the story it tells is beautiful.” At that point, I knew I wanted to read more, so two years later, in 2016, I purchased The Bone Clocks, thought I was going to be reading another nothing happens for most of the book, got to about page 60, and went, “Wait, what just happened? Did someone just steal someone’s soul? Wait, what.” Probably another 100 pages, and I stumbled across the name Hugo Lamb, and–wait. Hugo Lamb was in BSG. What is going on here? You would think I would just Google it, but nah. That’s not fun. So, I read the whole thing, it’s my favorite book out of all of his, I decided I should definitely give A Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet a read, and is that Marinus from Bone Clocks? David Mitchell, you scoundrel, what in the world are you up to? I’m also linking a review of Mitchell that finally explained what was going on. No, his books are not in a series, but yes, they are connected.
Holy hell on high water, this is exhausting. All of this is dandy, but the question remains, are the words good? Hell yes. They’re some of the best words I’ve ever read in the adult fiction world, and I cannot wait for his next one.
What to Read First: This is a tough one. Probably Cloud Atlas. That way, you’re in the world without actually diving into the craziness of it. Cloud Atlas follows the same soul through six different lifetimes, and talks about how those different lifetimes are actually connected.
Who: Cassandra Clare
How Many Books–Read/Own: 6/8
Why/How: Here is a story about a reader who judged a book by its cover. In high school, I’m not sure what year, my current critique partner, Patrick, and then good friend, gave me this book. City of Bones. It had a half-naked man on the cover. I put it on my shelf, and promptly forgot about it. No thanks. I am a classy reader. I don’t read books with half-naked men on the covers. Who do you think I am, someone who reads trashy paperwork romances? Oh god, I hate myself, it’s okay if you do, too. But that was seriously my thought process back then. EVEN WHILE READING TWILIGHT. I have no words. I’m sorry.
Fast forward to 2012, and Jamie Campbell Bower is starring in a new film, City of Bones. Let’s remember that I follow actors/actresses into everything they do. I love Jamie in his role as King Arthur, so I researched what this City of Bones nonsense was, realized it was the book Patrick gave me and I then threw to the wolves, cringed a bit, and started reading. Started, in about December of 2012, and was done with City of Lost Souls by the end of January 2013. That’s the fifth book in the series. And let me tell you, these things are not small. That’s 788k words in a month and a half. I’m sorry, what? Yeah, so, I had a new favorite series, apparently. In the end, the movie was not that great, but the Freeform TV show, Shadowhunters, is amazing, so definitely go check that out if you’re a fan of the books.
Now, I only own TMI and two books of the Infernal Devices trilogy, and that is an actual tragedy. I desperately want to own and read The Dark Artifices trilogy and the other companion books, I just haven’t gotten around to it. Someday, I swear. I also desperately want to reread all of TMI, and just immerse myself in the world forever. It’s so complex, and so fun. It’s got werewolves, vampires, faeries, demons, angels, demon hunters, and the best romance in the world.
What to Read First: City of Bones. Not only because it’s the first, but because I think it’s a really good jumping point for the Shadowhunter world. Truthfully, I’ve only read a bit of Clockwork Angel and nothing else, but I put that down because it was quite dry, so COB feels like a good place to start.
Extras! So, this was originally going to be my top ten auto-buy authors, but the last three authors in this list were not authors that I read anymore, and not ones that still stand out in my current reading life, or even the past decade. Thus, I’ve decided to add three authors to this list that will be auto-buy authors. For one of them, she just doesn’t have enough books to make this list, but I will definitely continue to purchase everything she writes. For the other two, I don’t have the means to buy all their books, but I’m working on it.
Who: Victoria/VE Schwab
How Many Books–Read/Own: 3/4
Why/How: I first bought A Darker Shade of Magic and This Savage Song on a book haul this year in February. I try not to buy more than one book by an author at the same time if I haven’t read them before, but I ended up with both of these purely by accident. They both sounded so good, and I just ended up buying them both that day. It took me a long ass time to finally read ADSOM. Really, it wasn’t until I got in touch with Patrick again that I read it. He raved about it, and he’d already led me down one rabbit hole with TMI, so I put my trust in him and started reading. Maybe two weeks later, I was done reading the series? Heck yeah.
Kell Maresh for life.
Seriously, I love the Shades of Magic trilogy so much, and I can’t wait for the new series to come out in that same universe. I can’t wait for all of her things. I just started reading This Savage Song, and it’s freaking amazing. I put Vicious on my Christmas list, and I just want to read everything by her. Someday, when I have enough money, I’ll just do an entirely Schwab book haul, and it will be glorious.
SOM is about four Londons in four different universes, and how magic affects each one. It’s absolutely beautiful, and the angst–oh, the angst. If there’s one thing Schwab is good at it, it’s the darkness inside. She will ruin you, and you’ll thank her for it.
What to Read First: I’ve only read SOM so far, so I’m a bad judge of character, but I think A Darker Shade of Magic is a great way to begin.
Who: Leigh Bardugo
How Many Books–Read/Own: 1/2
Why/How: Okay, let’s just think about this for a minute. I’ve read one (ONE) book by this author, and she’s already on my auto-buy list. I put the entire Grisha trilogy and Language of Thorns on my Christmas list because wow. WOW. I absolutely devoured Six of Crows, and I want so much more of all of it. Bardugo’s characters, her incredible and well-developed plot, her intense language, all of it. I want more. So much more. I want to read all the things, all the times. I was sick this week, and, honest to goodness, I didn’t read Crooked Kingdom because I wanted to be at full capacity when I finally dug back into that universe. Yeah. It’s that good.
What to Read First: I’ve literally only read Six of Crows, so that’s all I can recommend as a starting point.
Who: Alwyn Hamilton
How Many Books–Read/Own: 2/2
Why/How: if Alwyn had more books published, I would already own and have read them. So far, she’s only written and published Rebel of the Sands and its sequel, Traitor to the Throne. Hero at the Fall, the final book in the trilogy, is due out March 2018, and I might already have it preordered, whoops. Jen has also told me that she wants to buy it when it comes out because she can’t bear the idea of waiting until I’m done reading so she can read.
Alwyn writes about magic and fierce women, and is a lot of both of those things herself.
What to Read First: Rebel of the Sands, obviously.
And that’s that. I hope you enjoyed, and for more book fun, follow me on Goodreads!