C’mon Guys, Fess Up

Inspired by Sarah, I was looking through my library on Library Thing today to see how many books I share with other folks. The winner? The Catcher in the Rye, which as of today 4,441 members shared. (According to today’s stats, Library Thing has 88,185 members who have catalogued 1,258,309 unique works.) Obviously, lots of people on Library Thing, like Holden Caulfield, don’t care for phonies; this is number 10 on Library Thing’s top 25 books.

Taking a more scientic tack, I looked at the list of shared books on Library Thing’s Historical Fiction group, which has 243 members. Today’s results for “Most commonly shared books (weighted)”:

Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell by Susanna Clarke (80), Harry Potter and the sorcerer’s stone by J.K. Rowling (95), Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J.K. Rowling (90), Harry Potter and the goblet of fire by J.K. Rowling (86), Harry Potter and the prisoner of Azkaban by J.K. Rowling (85), Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J.K. Rowling (86), The hobbit, or, There and back again by J.R.R. Tolkien (76), Girl with a pearl earring by Tracy Chevalier (50), Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by J.K. Rowling (84), The Silmarillion by J.R.R. Tolkien (60)

When I looked for historical fiction on my own shelf that I share with other users, the top novel was Gone With the Wind, shared by 1,081 members. After that, the next shared book in my library was The Crimson Petal and the White, shared by 563 members.

It seems that I have some seriously obscure tastes, for I’m the only person who lists Prophecy for a Queen by Dilys Gater. Also owned only by yours truly are certain novels by Juliet Dymoke, Maureen Peters, Margaret Campbell Barnes, and Brenda Honeyman.

Three very intelligent, discerning people on Library Thing (plus me, of course) have a copy of my own novel. You rock, guys!

Bernard Cornwell’s The Winter King is shared by 175 people; only six claim his Crackdown. I expected more people to own Sharon Penman’s books: 168 listed Here Be Dragons, while only 39 had Prince of Darkness. She did better than the wildly prolific Jean Plaidy, though: only 52 listed The Lady in the Tower, the top Plaidy book on Library Thing. Of course, some of Plaidy’s books appear under different titles, but I was still surprised to see how many of her books were owned by fewer than ten people.

What does all of this prove? (1) it’s Sunday and I have some free time on my hands and (2) more readers of historical fiction need to get to Library Thing and get their libraries listed. I bet your shelves are just bulging with Penmans, Plaidys, and even Peters. It’s time to come clean about it.

6 thoughts on “C’mon Guys, Fess Up”

  1. I confess, my Readerware shows I own 50 novels by Peters (excluding pseudonyms), 87 by Plaidy, 9 by Penman. Two by Gater but not Prophecy for a Queen. Too bad it’s so hard to list books without ISBNs – a lot of my Peters fit that category, and I don’t have the time for that.

    I don’t own Gone with the Wind or anything by Rowling, though. But I am surprised – over 25% of my collection is unique to me, and a lot of these titles are not really rare. More historical fiction readers do need to get listed!

  2. I’d own more historical fiction novels if it was the only genre I really read, but since I read lots of stuff, I can’t own everything!

    I have lots of books that other people don’t own. Lots of time it is out-of-print fantasy novels.

  3. Since I read a lot of Arthurian books, I note that the same few names crop up reading books on that subject. I have a few unique ones on the Library thing, possibly because they’re British editions. But I don’t own a book by Plaidy, Penman or Peters (sorry) although I have read a few of theirs. Their subject matter means they are unlikely to be ‘keepers’

  4. If I could list all the Plaidys and Penmans I’ve read, that would be a different story. As it is, the NY Public Library had so many of them in stock there was no need to buy them all.

  5. I have my own archive of my books, and I’m not going to spend any extra time starting and updating another one. 🙂

    For the record: no Harry Potter but plenty of Penman, McCullough, Gablé and Dunnett, Cornwell, Scarrow, Sir Walter Scott and others. The complete Cadfael mysteries. *grin* And a nice Fantasy collection: Tolkien, GRR Martin, Tad Williams, Sara Douglass, Guy Gavriel Kay, Jacqueline Carey, Tamara Siler Jones, etc. Some SciFi, like SL Viehl, Wen Spencer and Lois McMaster Bujold, some Heinlein and Asimov.

    And tons of 19th/early 20th century novels. Complete Austen, Eliot, Henry James, Dostoyevsky, Balzac, Lagerlöf, Thoman Mann, Fontane, Laxness and a number others I have almost complete collection of. Plus Icelandic sagas and French epics. Beowulf, Song of the Niblungs, Saxo Grammaticus, Albertus Magnus … you name it.

    And don’t even get me started on the non fiction books. *grin*

  6. Susan Higginbotham

    Thanks, folks! It’s fun to hear what people have in their libraries. I tend to buy most of my historical fiction rather than get it from the library, because my tastes lean toward the obscure and the county library system here is ruthless about culling books that don’t circulate heavily.

Comments are closed.

Scroll to Top
Scroll to Top