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Ten Authors whose Works I Want to Complete Before I Die

27th August, 2016

A nightmare that haunts every bookworm is not being able to read all the good books in the world in a normal human’s lifespan. One cannot read every good book published. But perhaps read all the works of a selected few? Here is a list of authors whose complete works are on my TBR.

All the book covers are linked to their Good Reads pages, in case you want to add any to your shelves.

Authors whose complete works I want to read before I die

1. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Author picture: Chimamanda Ngozie Adichie

Chimamanda is a writer who took me by storm. I started with The Purple Hibiscus, her debut novel which assured me that with a debut like that, all the works that follow would be mind blowing. My next was Americanah, (read review), which was brilliant as well. I love the honesty and unapologetic sharpness of her words. I have read all her published works, save one book. I earnestly hope she will write many more.

Next on TBR : Half of a Yellow Sun

NOTE : To celebrate Chimamanda’s birthday I will be holding a read-along of her books in September on Instagram. You can read any book of hers and join the discussions at the end of September. The discussions will be on my Instagram page and a formal announcement will be made in September. You can tune into updates on my Instagram and Twitter.

Purple Hibiscus by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
We Should All be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
The thing around your neck by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

2. Gabriel Garcia Marquez

Author photo : gabriel garcia marquez

My first book by Marquez was Love in the Time of Cholera. I fell in love with his writing after a few pages and instantly knew he would turn out to be a favourite. I enjoy the writing in his books more than the plot of the whole novel. He has a mysterious capability of transporting you into unknown lands and leaving you in a trance throughout the novel.  I enjoy both his realistic stories and the ones with magical realism and among the books I have read, I have loved ALL of them

Even though One Hundred years of Solitude is his most acclaimed work, my personal favourite is Of Love and Other Demons. I recently read in an interview transcript that The Autumn of the Patriarch was a personal favourite of his. I need to read it soon.

Next on TBR : The Story of a Ship Wrecked Sailor

love in the time of cholera
Of love and other demons
The Autumn of the Patriarch by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
Memories of my Melancholy Whores by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
Strange Pilgrims by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
Chronicle of a Death Foretold by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

3. Jane Austen

Jane Austen

Austen? Did I write that right? Shocking, isn’t it? Though I have read all her novels, I have not read the shorter fiction, Lady Susan. I prescribe an Austen novel for any kind of day when you are feeling down because as often quoted, “My characters shall have, after a little trouble, all that they desire,” Austen stories have delightfully  happy endings.

My favourite novels by Austen are Pride and Prejudice and Persuasion. I have lost count of the number of times I have watched the BBC adaptation of Pride and Prejudice.

Next on TBR : Lady Susan

Pride and Prejudice
sense and sensibility
Persuasion
Northanger Abbey
Mansfield Park
Love Friendship and other Youthful Writings

4. Elif Shafak

Elif Shafak

My first book by Shafak was The Bastard of Istanbul which kept me captivated from the first page to the last. My next one The Gaze turned out to be a favourite as well. I love the way she mixes up mystic elements in her stories. And I love how well knotted her plots always are. I didn’t quite enjoy Forty Rules of Love and The Architect’s Apprentice. But I am positive I will love her other works.

Next on TBR : The Flea Palace

The Bastard of Istanbul by Elif Shafak
honour by Elif Shafak
The Flea Palace
Forty rules of love
the gaze by elif shafak
black milk by elif shafak

5. Haruki Murakami

haruki murakami

I am not Murakami’s biggest fan, but there is something in him that draws me to him. My first Murakami was the acclaimed Norwegian Wood. This isn’t a favourite of mine and I was disappointed that I wasn’t hit with the ‘Murakami effect’. Well, my second book was The Wind Up Bird Chronicle (read review) and I fell right into the groove. It blew me away. I guess Murakami’s surrealism appeals more to me than his realism. SO I am still doubtful if I would read his realistic works.

Next on TBR : Kafka on the Shore; Currently Reading : 1Q84

The Wind up Bird Chronicle
Hear the Wind Sing by Haruki Murakami
The Elephant Vanishes
Sputnik Sweetheart by Haruki Murakami
A Wild Sheep chase
Dance dance dance

6. Patrick Ness

Patrick Ness 1

I have read only one book by Ness and that was enough to convince me that he is an amazing writer. A Monster Calls (read review)truly sucked me in and I had tears in my eyes when I finished reading it. Ness has written many books, so it might take me a while to complete all his works.

Next on TBR : The Walking Chaos Trilogy

The Knife of never letting go by Patrick Ness
Ask and Answer by patrick Ness
Monsters of Men by patrick Ness
The Rest of us just Live here by Patrick Ness
The Crane Wife by Patrick Ness
More than This by Patrick Ness

7. Orhan Pamuk

PAMUK ORHAN

Pamuk is another Turkish writer whose books I have really enjoyed. I never read a Pamuk novel at one go. I believe he is a writer whose books should be sipped on over a long period. Pamuk has a calm and soothing voice and his books always makes me feel at peace.

My first novel by him was The Museum of Innocence which captures the emotion of love and its anguish beautifully. My Name is Red is my least favourite, but I would still rate it high for the writing style. I would take me a while to finish off all of Pamuk’s works, both fiction and non-fiction.

Next on TBR : A Strangeness in my Mind

The Museum of Innocence
Snow by Pamuk
istanbul memories and the city
My name is Red by Orhan Pamuk
A strangeness in my mind by Pamuk
The Black Book

8. Marjane Satrapi

Marjane Satrapi

Marjane Satrapi is a writer whom I discovered only last year. With the mere use of black and white in her illustrations, she effectively commands emotions at a supreme level. My first book was Persepolis which is the story of Iranian revolution. Satrapi points out the hypocrisy and horrors of our society with her sparse illustrations. Embroideries was a light and funny read which I have read several times and laughed out loud every single time.

Next on TBR : Chicken with Plums (I have read an e-version. But I feel that doesn’t count. She needs to be read in print)

Chicken with Plums by Marjane Satrapi
Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi
Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi
The Sigh by Marjane Satrapi
Embroideries by Marjane Satrapi

9. Manu Joseph

manu joseph

I have already read both the books, Serious Men and The Illicit Happiness of Other People written by Manu Joseph. I am a fan of his writing and he is clearly an under rated Indian writer. His books are wicked, lively and has sarcasm at its best. If he writes another book, hell yeah! I am buying it. I can’t even pick my favourite among the two because they both are brilliant in different ways.

(*please write another novel*)

Serious men by Manu Joseph
the illicit happiness of other people by manu joseph

10. Arundhathi Roy

Arundhati Roy

If I could have a wish to meet one, just one author, it would be Arundhathi Roy. She is my favourite author inspite of the fact that I read her first and only novel, The God of Small Things for the first time last year. I have followed her on news, read her articles and essays but did not pick up her book (for nearly eighteen years after its publication) because I was scared if I wouldn’t enjoy it. I did. It was an amazing read.

The reason I have intentionally put Roy in the tenth place is because I am doubtful if I would read all her works since she has written mostly non-fiction and I rarely read nonfiction. I should make an exception in her case.

The God of small things by Arundhati Roy
An ordinary person’s guide to an empire
Broken republic
Listening to Grasshoppers
Capitalism a Ghost story
The Algebra of Infinite justice

Let's discuss

Have you read the works of any of these authors? Who all would be in your list of authors whose complete works you want to read?

PS : Roald Dahl is another author for me. It was too late to edit and include him. But yes! He is on the list too. 🙂

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This Post Has 64 Comments
  1. What a great post! Austen wrote the best books. I’ve read all of them several times. I don’t think I will ever grow tired of her. Which of the mentioned authors would you most like to read of them all?

  2. Oh dear, this post should come with a ‘Danger to TBRs’ warning! The only one I’ve read a lot of is Jane Austen, though like you I haven’t read Lady Susan and must rectify that. I think my pick of the ones I haven’t tried would be Elif Shafak – I may have to make room for one of her books on my list…

  3. What a wonderful list of authors. I know I’d definitely love to make sure I read all of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s books. I really loved Americanah but didn’t even realize she had written so many other titles. Great post!

  4. What an amazing list. Overlap a lot… murakami and jane austen are a pass. Orwell and Dostvsky maybe…. manu joseph is good?

    1. I haven’t read Doestoesky. I left the book half read. Sigh. I should get to it. I have really enjoyed Manu Joseph’s works. Serious Men is a humorous take on how the Indian society functions, the caste divide in scientific institutions and how we try to get things done by hook and crook. The Illicit happiness is set in a malayalee household where the son commits suicide and the father tries to uncover the reason. It has some philosophical passages. Both are different. I wont say the writing is the best I have come across. But it is certainly good and has subtle humour. Sarcasm, pick Serious Men. Philosophy pick Illicit.

      I really think he is an underrated writer. So if you read him let me know what you think.

    2. Also his stories are refreshingly middle class. Not the usual writerly gimmicks of portraying everything wrong with the country and evoking sympathy in the minds of readers from other countries. That is another reason I liked reading him.

      1. He’s the one you have added to my TBR too. Your comment above cinched the deal for me!

        I have a list like this, which I call my MustReadEverything authors, but mostly I do a great job of planning and then I just get side-tracked, because there are so many good books!

        There isn’t any overlap in our lists (yet, anyway) but I can relate to most of your comments here, because quite often I’ve only read one (say, with Elif Shafak or Patrick Ness or Marquez) and been very impressed but I haven’t read anything else, so I’m waiting to see if they’ll become irresistible for me too.

        I haven’t yet read Adichie’s story collection or her Feminists volume: I’ll keep your event in mind for sure!

  5. I have about 3 of Austen’s books left, so I should be able to complete her works eventually.
    Anyone who has Gabriel Garcia Marquez on such a list is a very serious reader, especially since you love his writing more than his plots.
    A gorgeous and ambitious list, Resh. I hope you get to read them all one day!

  6. I had no clue that Satrapi had written more than two books! Wow. This a lovely list, definitely some of my most favourite authors. On a different note, do you like the new murakami covers?

    1. Oh yes, I love the new Murakami covers. But I don’t own any. I wouldn’t be buying all of them for sure. I am less of a book collector. But I really want to own The Wind up Bird Chronicle. Satrapi’s Embroideries and Chicken wih Plums, both are good.

  7. All I can say is… So much YES!! Many of these authors would make a top10 (or 20) must read authors before I die list for me! I like how you started the post, because I literally think about that every day!! Thank you for sharing, a fantastic list!

  8. Great list and a good reminder that there are some great authors I still need to pick up a FIRST book by, never mind read all of them! That said, I absolutely need to read all of John Irving’s books before I die but I’m woefully behind.

    1. True, it is so sad we canot finish all the good books in the world. I am curious about John Irving. I havent read any by him. But I had a few people commenting on my Instagram about Irving being one writer they want to read all the works of. I have to check him out

  9. Lady Susan is a fun book and very different from the usual Austen. You”ll either love it or hate it. I haven’t read anything by Adichie, maybe I”ll join in the readalong in September if I can.

  10. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and Gabriel Garcia Marquez are two authors I’ve never had the pleasure of reading but who’s books have been sitting on my shelf for a ridiculously long time. I definitely need to give them them a read soon! I think the authors I’d like to read the complete works of would have to be Haruki Murakami and Cormac McCarthy. They have vastly different styles but a similar way of captivating me. 🙂

    1. Glad you have Murakami on the list as well. I hope you will pick up Adichie and Marquez soon. I really enjoyed Americanah by Adichie. I havent yet read Cormac Mc Carthy. I should add him to my TBR

  11. I would encourage everyone to drop what they are reading and read Half of a Yellow Sun. Except for people who are reading Jane Austen.

    I think Half of a Yellow Sun is fantastic. One of the best books this century. I liked Americanah but was not as impressed and I’m not a fan of her short stories so far. But Yellow Sun is amazing.

    That’s the problem with reading everything an author has written, though I admire and encourage that goal. Even people like Murakami, whom I love, have some work that is not so great. But it interesting to read their work.

  12. Love this list! It’s so true, there are so many books to get to, how will we ever be able to accomplish it? I love Jane Austen and still need to read Emma by her. I also want to read some Gabriel Garcia Marquez. Hope you get to all of these authors!

  13. Great post!

    I read Purple HIbiscus when it first came out and soon after listened to Chimamanda speak at a literary festival in NZ, and it was listening to her speak that made me a fan of her work for life, she is an amazing all-round woman, not just a great storyteller. I’ve read all her novels and have still to read her short stories and will read everything she writes for sure!

    I also am a big fan of Eowyn Ivey, in a similar way – her debut novel The Snow Child was outstanding and her second novel The Bright Edge of the World is also fabulous, I’ll read everything else she writes, but for now it is just those two novels.

    Also a big fan of Barbara Kingsolver, loved Prodigal Summer, The Lacuna, The Posionwood Bible, Flight Behavious and I still have some of her essays on the shelf to read.

    I’ve been slowly working my way through the books of Maryse Condé, a Guadeloupean author who I discovered 2 years ago and have since read Tales from the Heart, Stories From My Childhood, Victoire:My Mother’s Mother, Segu, A Season in Rihata and I have on the TBR the book she mentioned is her own personal favourite The Story of the Cannibal Woman.

    Edwidge Danticat, the Haitian author, I’ve read her excellent novel Breathe, Eyes, Memory and the memoir Brother, I’m Dying and I want to read everything else she’s written, she’s like Chimamanda only I’ve not yet had the good fortune to listen to her live.

    They are indeed special those authors who succeed to charm us time after time, I can think of other favourites, but who lack consistency and I’ve stopped reading or have more of a ‘wait and see’ approach with.

    1. Thank you so much for the insghtful comment. I have Snow Child and Poison wood Bible on my shelves. SO maybe I should try them out. And thanks for mentioning the other authors that you love. They are new to me. And since you have written which are your best loved works I think I can easily pick up their books. Copyng everything into my notebook that I keep for writers on radar

  14. One day we will meet in Bombay, Mumbai, or whatever you call it now, or wherever you are. And we will talk books. 🙂
    Of the authors you mention, I share García Marquez. Read most of his books. Love him. If only you could read him in Spanish. He has the flavour of Colombia in his writing. Murakami? I am not a great fan. I prefer older Japanese authors. Murakami seems to me as if he misses opportunities. He has a great story and lets it drop away. Arundhati Roy, of course is marvelous.
    Seven more authors to discover. You are merciless. 😉

    1. Thank you. I have enjoyed reading Japanese literature. Bt they are mostly the new authors. I should look for the old ones. DO you have any favourites. Garcia is a favourite of mine. And yes, too bad I can’t read it in Spanish. 🙂 Hope you enjoy the works of the other authors if you pick them up

  15. This is a wonderful post! I haven’t read Lady Susan or the other shorter works of Austen, but they are on my list!

    I’d not heard of Elif Shafak but I’m going to add one to my TBR and give her a try.

    If I had to pick one author to read their entire catalog it would be Toni Morrison. But I also intend to read all of Adichie as well!

  16. Absolutely brilliant post Resh, I’m a massive fan of the classics and Austen as well. I still think Pride and Prejudice is my favourite of her works, only second to Bronte’s Jane Eyre. Patrick Ness is one of those authors where I absolutely adore his books, but each time I go book shopping, forget to pick up his Chaos Walking series. I think I need to start taking book lists with me. Wonderful post Resh, and going to check a few of these authors out that are unknown to me. Thanks so much for sharing <3

    1. Thnk you. Glad we have favourites in Austen and Ness. And you are not alone in the Ness dilemma. Whenever I have cash to spare and I open the online platforms, I FORGETabout Ness. And buy some other books. And Ness gets postponed forever.

  17. Fantastic list, Resh! There’s quite a few writers who’s backlist I want to make it through, I’m trying to collect their works for my personal library. I definitely second Adichie, still have to read her newer works. And it sounds like I need to read Elif Shafak and love Roy’s works. I do love non-fiction and have her Capitalism on my shelf, read some of it, great work. Satrapi! Love all her works, but I didn’t know about Sigh!! I have to look for a copy 🙂

    1. Finally there is a list where we have common favourites! 🙂 I have bought two of Roy’s essays. But didnt read any. I want to read them before the year end. I didnt know about Sigh either until I found it in a bookstore. It is a children’s book.

  18. Great list! Loved seeing several authors on here whose work I am not familiar with. Now I will have more books to add to my TBR. 🙂 I would love to read the entire work of Charles Dickens and William Shakespeare.

  19. Interesting list, including some people I have not come across. I love and have read most of Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s work. I’m afraid I’m one of those people who really don’t get Austen. I read Emma recently after my mum sent me a Guardian article analysing why it was a brilliant novel, and though it helped me to appreciate what she was doing it didn’t make me want to read the rest of her books.
    In case anyone is interested : https://www.theguardian.com/books/2015/dec/05/jane-austen-emma-changed-face-fiction

    1. I can’t wait to read all of Garcia’s work. I understand about Austen. I know many people who dont like Austen. Thank you for the article. I will check it out. Emma defining a time in history definitely sounds interesting.

  20. I’m soooo terrified of this too! Like my TBR is ginormous and just grows by a dozen books every day basically HOW AM I GOING TO READ THEM ALL GAH. *flaps about trying to read everything* I really love Patrick Ness tho and I totally agree about his magnificent works! I’ve read them all except for The Chaos Walking series. Well, the last too. I read the first one but I MUST CONTINUE!! (I’m like a chronic series procrastinator for no good reason at all.) I also love those Haruki Murakami covers and I keep getting told to read one of his books someday! I will have to get to that too!

    1. TRUE. One can never read all the good authors in the world. I hope you will read Chaos soon. I heard so many good things about it that it is on my immediate TBR.

      I love those covers too. Murakami is slow-living kinda reads. Listen to a book and see if you would like them. So no need to waste money buying if you won’t (*my genius idea*) . There are free audios on Youtube.

  21. I am so glad I read your post (link from Twitter led me here). It is so simple, but yet it got me to thinking not only that I still haven’t read all of published work from my favorite authors, but also how there’s so many authors I want to read through my life but still haven’t read any of their work yet.
    Many of those on your list are ones included. I haven’t read any of those on your list. That’s kind of sad tbh. :/

    1. True. That is such a sad thought for every bookworm. We will never finish all the good books in the world. Sigh. I hope you will pick a few of the ones you reaaly want to read and read a few of their books.

      Thank you so much for dropping by. 🙂

  22. What a fabulous list. Patrick Ness has been sitting on my ‘I really must read these guys’ pile for AGES. I’m aiming to read him over the Christmas break. 🙂

  23. I’m still keeping my fingers crossed that Roy will release a new fiction book and surprise us all. 🙂

    I’ve never heard of Shafak before but am so intrigued based on your descriptions as well as those book covers! I will definitely be adding these to my TBR list. Thank you for pointing me towards a new author!

    Marquez and Murakami are also on my list of authors whose complete works I’d like to read, but I will also feel so sad when I read my last Marquez book. Do you think you’ll also feel sad?

    1. I think I will feel sad when I read the last Marquez as well. Which is why I am not hurrying up to finish his books. I heard an indication that Arundhathi Roy is working on another novel in an interview by Elle. It is her latest interview this year. You might want to check it out. She said if there would be another novel the readers should expect “nothing like God of small things”. I definitely am curious.

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