I have always loved books. There was a time, say from grade nine through to my second year of university, where I had other things on my mind and did not read very often (either for school or relaxation). Then, in about 1991, surrounded by interesting (and sometimes educated) friends, I began reading again. I have never stopped.
I read a wide range of books. However, perhaps because I am required to read a lot for work, I primarily read to relax and I have found that the best thing for this is fiction. More specifically, the best thing for this is what I might call "light" (or "pulp") fiction. I still read some popular philosophy or political works and I get my news from the newspaper and a few news magazines. I also read a half-dozen or so "literary" novels a year but, for the most part, what I read is just for fun and relaxation. I read a lot.
One problem with reading a lot of light fiction is that, while much of it is immensely enjoyable (or at the very least allows me to "escape" from the real world), much of it is also quite easily forgotten. This is especially true with a number of Authors who write many books about the adventures of one protagonist. Take John Sandford, for example. I truly enjoy his "Prey" novels. The reason to use him as an example is not because his books are not enjoyable or because they are too light. The reason to use him as an example is that, confronted with twenty different titles all containing the word "Prey", I can stand at the book store for a VERY long time without being able to recall which books in the series I have already read. The same is true for Jeffery Deaver, P.D. James, Dean Koontz and many other authors. Steven King and Isaac Asimov are about the only authors for which I do not have this memory problem. This is not because their books are so much more memorable than those of other authors (although I do feel that these writers are two of the best modern storytellers ever) but because I have read just about every book they have written. The few I have not read (including a couple that are not available by King and much of Asimov's non-fiction) are fairly easy to remember.
One might suspect that the back covers containing the tiny synopsis (synopsi?) would help me remember the plots of previously read novels but, for the most part, they do not. After all, many of the books I read are quite similar in plot. Perhaps I am just not paying enough attention to what I read. Or maybe this is a sign that I should read books that are a bit more "challenging" (for want of a less insulting word). It could even be that my brain just is not very good at details (okay, there is not much "maybe" in that). The bottom line is that I need something to remind me about all but the most memorable books I have read (e.g. 1984, Crime and Punishment, The Lord of The Rings, The Chrysalids, Asimov's Robot series, Salem's Lot, etc., etc. etc.).
In July of 2003 I started keeping a list of books I had read and started to post that list on my website. In part this was to assist my memory and in part it was to (hopefully) assist others in choosing what to read. Mostly it was due to the fact that a web site, however small, requires content and I wanted to learn how to build a website. As I liked to write short reviews and as I read at least a novel a week, it seemed like a good thing to start. One has to start somewhere after all and, all modesty aside, I dream about the day, fifteen or twenty years hence, when this list contains thousands (instead of hundreds of books).
By the next year it had become obvious that a straight-forward list was not going to work. The fifty or sixty books I had read and listed since the year before were arranged in the order I had read them and the list was becoming cumbersome. For this reason I split the authors alphabetically into 5 groups (U through Z was short) and started lists grouped by author. Now, in December of 2005, with the "Books by Author" page becoming cumbersome, I am finally getting around to learning how to use "frames" to list Authors so that the books can be accessed more easily.
This web page is the result of that learning.
Between June of 2003 and the date of writing this sentence (29 months), I have read and listed books by 109 separate authors. In that same time period I have read and written something about 152 novels by these authors (about 5.25 books per month). There is a small pile of books from December 2005 yet to add and there were, of course, books that were missed (though not very many). I do this mostly for my enjoyment, and to learn (very slowly) how to make web-pages, I hope that others get some use or enjoyment from my pages (particularly the longer reviews) and I look forward to ten years from now when, provided I keep reading, there will be short reviews for some 628 novels on these pages.