Many authors annoy the heck out of me, not so much because of the quality of their work but because of the quantity – I just don’t see how it’s possible for them to crank out books once or twice a year. Can’t they back off a little and let some new authors have a crack at literary fame and fortune? Take a little vacation time, maybe? Learn a new language or pick up some other hobby?
I’ll admit that part of my frustration stems from the fact that this building is a historic landmark. Sometimes it’s very cool to work in a historic landmark (and sometimes it’s very cold to work in a historic landmark, when the windows get stuck). Problem is, there are limits to how much you can cram into a building like this – that’s why our book on CD shelves are always so full. There’s never enough room for everything I’d like to offer! So when I find certain authors taking up shelves and shelves and SHELVES, I get a little grumpy. And then I start ranting.
- Haven’t you made enough money already, James Patterson?
- How many books about submarines does anyone really need, Clive Cussler?
- Why do you keep writing as J.D. Robb when we all know it’s you, Nora Roberts?
- What are you gonna do when you hit the end of the alphabet, Sue Grafton? (And are you jealous of Janet Evanovich’s clever numbering scheme?)
- What else is there is to say about wealthy women and their troubled families, Danielle Steel?
- And wait a minute – aren’t you dead, Robert Ludlum? (Yes. Yes, you are.)
I was about to add Alexander McCall Smith to my list of annoyingly prolific authors when I spotted his name on this unlikely looking title: Creating Humans: Ethical Questions Where Reproduction and Science Collide. It’s not a book; it’s a seven CD lecture series on medical ethics. How curious - could this be the work of the same man who produced such adorable-sounding titles as The Finer Points of Sausage Dogs and The Limpopo Academy of Private Detection? Turns out that yes, it is. Here’s a little something that I found in one of our databases, Contemporary Authors Online.
The diverse accomplishments of Alexander McCall Smith include a distinguished career as a legal scholar and more recent fame as a best-selling novelist. A professor of medical law at Edinburgh University, Smith has published many works on medical ethics and criminal law. For example, he has written about the duty to rescue and the impact of medical advances on parental rights. Smith also had numerous books of fiction for young children and short-story collections in print before he published a series of detective stories set in Botswana.
Contemporary Authors Online, Gale, 2009.
Wow. So he has a real job. And he does more than churn out cozy mysteries that crowd my shelves. That’s pretty cool. Alexander McCall Smith, I apologize for my near-scorn! I’ll clear out a few of these old James Pattersons to make a little more room for you.