The Five Book Club

15 May 2024

I happened upon the #10Authors5BooksEach hashtag on social media. Post a list of ten authors where you’ve read five of their books.

I’ve been keeping records of everything I’ve read since 1999 so I know who my most read authors are and that I’ve read at least five books by plenty of them1. But that list becomes less interesting over such a long time as it’s full of authors I wouldn’t necessarily read now. Some I’ve stopped reading because I’ve read almost everything by them, there are a few I deliberately gave up reading for different reasons, some I just got bored by after a while or they started writing stuff I didn’t enjoy as much. And that’s all besides the obvious fact that over almost quarter of a century a fair few of my favourite authors have diid and stopped publishing new books2.

As such I thought a more interesting list to share would be the list of authors who I had most recently read the fifth book by. I had a quick look through my records and came up with this list of authors to share:

  • Jane Harper (I was surprised I had to go back over six months to find an author I’d most recently read the fifth book by.)
  • Becky Chambers
  • Phillipa Ashley (this was a bit of a shock, I was reading her books as light stress relief and hadn’t realised I’d read that many)
  • Abir Mukherjee
  • Tessa Hadley
  • Louise Candlish (I’d actually forgotten this author’s name though I had read five books between 2018 and 2022)
  • Veronica Stallwood (An author I read more of in the 1990s, I picked up a random copy in a charity shop and read it taking me to five in my record keeping era many years later.)
  • Jon McGregor
  • Anthony Powell (I started on the Dance to the Music of time series at the beginning of 2020 and finished all twelve books about three years later.)
  • Ali Smith (though I’ve now read seven of her books I was also surprised I had to go back three and a half years to get my tenth author on this list.)

That list I posted originally had a couple of errors: Kate Rhodes and Philip Gwynne Jones should have appeared knocking out the last two entries. I’d missed them because they’d both made it up to seven books read.

The list gets a little awkward the further back in time you look as there are many authors I’d read books by before I began keeping these records. I’d read my fifth book by many of these authors long before the dates listed here; and of course there will be many missing authors whose books I read (or read more of) in the twentieth century. But there’s no easy way around that as it’s still awkward today. My records say that I just read my fifth Jane Smiley book, but I’m missing the likes of A Thousand Acres that I read in the 1990s.

All the same, I think the whole list is an interesting viewpoint on my reading habits and I’m going to keep it around, and updated, on my website: The Five Book Club


  1. I haven’t got the most read author list on my site, there’s a list on my stats page at Storygraph, which might not stay up to date over time.

  2. Whilst a last posthumous book is always a lovely thing, I’m not a big fan of the concept of turning an author into a franchise and publishing new books in their style. There’s enough new authors out there to discover!