Dead (And Not So Dead) White Guys


That title*.

Meant with a hint of sarcasm.

And yet not, because apparently I do read a lot of books by white men. I’ve made an effort to diversify my reading (with varying levels of success), but clearly there is room for improvement. This week’s top ten list is authors I have read the most of, which makes my recent efforts to expand my reading horizons seemingly all for naught. History doesn’t lie**!

10. Thomas Hardy. Because Return of the Natives made me think classics were okay. And I’d totally name a brood of children Jude, Tess, Thomasin, and Gabriel. The whole post is worth it just to share the picture (I found it here), because I imagine Hardy as the world’s most dour cyclist.

Also, bleakness is my weakness.

09. Joe R. Lansdale. Champion mojo storyteller.

08. Richard Russo. I may have talked about Empire Falls a time or twelve.

07. John Sandford. How can I not love Lucas? And with over 20 novels in the series, I’ve read a lot of books by the author.

06. Joe Hill. So much to love – comics, novels, and short stories.

05. John Irving. A Prayer for Owen Meany. Enough Said.

04. Dan Simmons. With books like The Terror and Summer of Night, this local author is hard to resist.

03. Daniel Woodrell. Sometimes a movie starts it all. After enjoying Winter’s Bone, I discovered the book (which was better, naturally), and the rest is reading history.

02. Cormac McCarthy. Drawing a blank here, because I can’t really describe why you should read Child of God, but you should. If you do, I’m sorry.

01. Stephen King. Obviously.

*Where do you fall on the spectrum of dead to not dead? Clearly there are degrees. My sense of humor could use a little help these days.
**Kidding! History is a pathological liar.

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  • Cathy746books

    A few of these would be on my list too I have to say! I have Empire Falls, I assume it’s good? 😉

    • Rory O’Connor

      It’s one of my favorites of all time!

  • Susan W

    Not too totally pile on your need to diversify but, your list has no
    females on it! That being said, I think we all need to diversify more. The white male trap, dead or alive, is an easy one to fall into.

    Great list though, McCarthy and King are so on my list also.

    • Rory O’Connor

      If the list was over the past few years, it would be different, but unfortunately it’s over 20 years of reading history. Blogging has helped a lot in finding diverse books I enjoy.

  • Shannon @ River City Reading

    Ha, Rory! I don’t think I ever realized you were so deeply on side dude – but it is a good list to have 😉

    • Rory O’Connor

      I don’t think I realized it either! The past 3 or so years have been a lot better, but my 20 years of reading history is just plain sad (in regards to diversity!). I probably could have squeezed Louise Erdrich and Judy Blume on.

  • Sarah (Sarah’s Book Shelves)

    Haha – I didn’t do this week’s Top 10, but on a recent favorite authors list I realized I was fairly heavily weighted toward white guys as well! I had a few women and 1 african american male, but definitely more than 50% white guys….and Irving was one of them 🙂

    • Rory O’Connor

      I don’t even know if I would consider these my favorite authors (a few of them, definitely – Irving, King, and Russo for sure), but they are certainly ones I’ve read the most books by over the last 20 years. Some of my favorite authors just haven’t published enough yet (or died young)! To be fair, it’s hard to compete with the publishing schedule of Stephen King.

  • Laura Frey

    How often does TTT repeat? I think this was the topic last time I did one. It was pretty dudely as well. If you did this for the past 5 years it would probably be different.

    • Rory O’Connor

      It would be very different, I think. I’ve given more consideration to what I’m reading other than “ooh, another King!”

  • Malcolm Avenue Review

    This is such a fun topic. I just read one that was all women authors and yours is the exact opposite. Yours more closely resembles what mine would be. I’m not sure any of my white dudes are dead, but I’m sure my list would be comprised of them 100%. I’ve read all of Woodrell, he’s been in my top three authors for over twenty years, but I’m not sure he’s written enough to make my top 10; same with Lansdale, who I adore. Sandford for sure, since I’ve read all of his work and he’s written so damn many. I think my list would be greatly influenced by the long-standing series I read, all of which are written by men. You’ve certainly got more variety than I do, though I’ve been doing better about that recently.
    Thanks for sharing your list, I feel at home in it. 🙂

    • Rory O’Connor

      That’s what I ran into while writing this, so many of the people on here are authors I started reading quite young (King and Sandford specifically). How can any new authors compete with that? In a top ten list, they can’t.

      And I’ve been working to increase the breadth and depth of my reading recently as well. It’s been lovely, but sometimes it makes reading not feel as effortless as I like. This backfires a little, because I feel like I’m back in school and just want to say “well you can’t make me”.

      • Malcolm Avenue Review

        1,000 times this. It’s what I like to read, it’s what I relate to (for whatever reason), it’s what eases my mind (again, for whatever reason). I have also been doing better at diversifying, but I also get my contrarian back up a little bit. There are plenty of ways to be an engaged citizen, pleasure reading does not have to be about social obligation. I have read some great things, and enjoy the diversification I have, but it’s never going to overtake 30+ (or more) years of series reading. And I really don’t want it to, for the reasons you stated above. The more we diversify, the more this list stays the same.

  • Christina Torretta

    I have only read one John Irving. A book I got from the library because it looked great having no idea how much I was going to fall in love. I’ve been way too busy to pick him up again but I shall soon!

    I love your Stephen King comment. It is obvious!

    MY TTT

    • Rory O’Connor

      You absolutely should. Most of his books are amazing.

  • Lindsay @ Lindsay’s Library

    Haha, love the picture. I just watched “Far From the Madding Crowd” the other day and thought it was pretty good. I need to read more Joe Hill! I read and liked “Horns” but I hear “NOS4A2” is his best.

    • Rory O’Connor

      The new one? I loved that movie! I think NOS4A2 is his best, followed closely by Heart-Shaped Box.

  • mariahelena

    My list is almost exclusively white women (and very skewed by the very productive authors I read as a kid/teenager).

    • Rory O’Connor

      Right? Reading history comes more into play than anything else I think (as well as the prolific nature of some authors). I can’t help that King has written over 50 books more than I can help that Jane Austen wrote less than 10.

  • MeezCarrie

    Hilarious title!

    My TTT

    • Rory O’Connor

      Thanks! 🙂

  • The Book Wheel

    I still haven’t read Empire Falls but I need to and yes, yes to naming your kid Tess. It’s one of my favorites!

    • Rory O’Connor

      Empire Falls is a must, Allison. An absolute can’t miss it must.

  • April @ The Steadfast Reader

    <3 Hill and King. Obviously.

    • Rory O’Connor

      King forever.

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