Glens Falls (NY) Online Book Discussion Group discussion

ABOUT BOOKS AND READING > List of best-selling fiction authors (at Wiki)

Comments Showing 1-27 of 27 (27 new)    post a comment »
dateDown arrow    newest »

message 1: by Joy H., Group Founder (last edited Apr 24, 2015 03:32PM) (new)

Joy H. (joyofglensfalls) | 16697 comments Wiki has a page with a "List of best-selling fiction authors". The link is:

It says: "This page provides a list of best-selling fiction authors to date and in any language."

They qualify the list with the following statement (among others):
"To keep the length of the list manageable, only authors with estimated sales of at least 100 million books are included. Authors of comic books are not included. For a few authors, including Miguel de Cervantes, Alexandre Dumas, père, Charles Dickens (whose A Tale of Two Cities alone has sold over 200 million copies), Jane Austen, Jack Higgins, Victor Hugo, Jules Verne and Leon Uris, no exact figure could be found, although there are indications that they too have more than 100 million copies of their work in print. They have not been included in the table."

message 2: by Joy H., Group Founder (new)

Joy H. (joyofglensfalls) | 16697 comments William Shakespeare tops the list!

message 3: by Jim (new)

Jim (jimmaclachlan) | 6319 comments Interesting list. Obviously not a reflection of quality, though.

message 4: by Nina (last edited Apr 24, 2015 04:42PM) (new)

Nina | 6067 comments I am stil astounded at the so numerous mentions of Jane Austin two hundred years after her death. Even in the trilogy I was just complaining about there she was on one of the pages. Also, I did mention that she used very little description in her stories compared to the ones now and recently I read that in the book, "The Wizard of Oz" there was hardly any descripton of Dorothy except for her name and that she had a joyable personality and wore silver(not red) slippers. And Toto too they said was barely described. Yet, they endured for me even before the movie.

message 5: by Joy H., Group Founder (last edited Apr 24, 2015 06:44PM) (new)

Joy H. (joyofglensfalls) | 16697 comments Jim wrote: "Interesting list. Obviously not a reflection of quality, though.

Jim, I thought the same thing!

message 6: by Joy H., Group Founder (new)

Joy H. (joyofglensfalls) | 16697 comments Nina, those stories you mentioned must have resonated with you. Of course, the word "resonate" means "to affect or appeal to someone in a personal or emotional way." When something affects us emotionally we're apt to remember it and when it appeals to us we enjoy the memory. It's as simple as that. I suppose that's why I remember the book _Vanity Fair_ after all these years since my youth. It concerned unrequited love and most of us have faced that at one time or another.

message 7: by Joy H., Group Founder (new)

Joy H. (joyofglensfalls) | 16697 comments What I don't understand is: Who buys Shakespeare! I could never enjoy it.

message 8: by Jim (new)

Jim (jimmaclachlan) | 6319 comments Joy H. wrote: "What I don't understand is: Who buys Shakespeare! I could never enjoy it."

Over the course of my life, I've bought half a dozen of his plays. The language was the biggest hindrance to my enjoyment. While a lot of his invented words have become common language, much of the common language of the time is incomprehensible now. That's why the Folger Shakespeare Library editions are a must if you ever try to read him. They have a page of his play on the right with explanations on the left page. After reading a play or two, the language makes sense, although they really don't resonate unless they're read aloud (at least in your head) to catch the rhythm. I've never cared much for poetry, but old Will wrote for the common man & put a lot of puns, jokes, & plain fun into his words, not to mention coming up with some of the best plots.

I took a course on Shakespeare in high school & continued to read his works for a decade. At one time I had one volume with all his plays in it, but it was stolen. When I lost it, I quit reading him & my understanding of his language dribbled away. I now have a multi-volume set of his complete works from my grandfather. It is boxed up & I just keep a few of his plays in the Folger editions out on the shelves for reference.

There are a lot of different modern English translations of his works. Some are pretty good. Great stories & characters, too. My drunken, Irish English teacher did a fabulous reading of Mercutio's Queen Mab speech early on in the course. I think that's what grabbed & kept my attention, although his rendition of parts of MacBeth & Henry IV were great, too. He was why Falstaff & Prince Hal were 2 of my favorites.

Anyway, his works are seriously good if you can ever spare the time to get into the language. I've been thinking I should read a play or two & then get them in audio book format from the library. I listened to Shakespeare's Greatest Hits not long ago & gave it 4 stars.

message 9: by Jim (new)

Jim (jimmaclachlan) | 6319 comments I'm not a fan of a lot of description, either. I have a good imagination & a few words from the author is all I need, especially for mundane things. That's why I quit reading Stephen King. Now he goes on for pages. Yuck. My favorite author, Roger Zelazny, said that he tried to limit description to a few words & then provide context or action. Later he might fill in more as needed. That really works for me.

message 10: by Joy H., Group Founder (last edited Apr 25, 2015 06:44AM) (new)

Joy H. (joyofglensfalls) | 16697 comments Roger Zelazny makes too many obscure references for the average reader to understand. He truly is a writer for the more sophisticated reader of his genre.

I suppose that applies to Shakespeare in a way. I mean that his writing seems obscure to the untrained reader. I really tried to understand Shakespeare, going so far as to buy a children's version of the plays. However, I found that I lost interest in the plots and after a while my curiosity about them wained. I'll leave "Shakespeare" to those who can handle it. As for the beauty of his language, I suppose that can't be disputed but it takes effort to apply oneself to understanding it. As Jim said above: "much of the common language of the time is incomprehensible now."

message 11: by Jim (new)

Jim (jimmaclachlan) | 6319 comments Some of Zelazny's references can be obscure, but most just require a classical education. I had one, although I didn't appreciate it at the time.

message 12: by Nina (last edited Apr 25, 2015 02:26PM) (new)

Nina | 6067 comments I, too, had to read some Shakespeare in college and didn't really appreciate it. However, we once lived just across the park where they put on one of his plays/a different one each year/Shakespeare in the park whetted my appetite for his works but I really didn't go back to reading him but so enjoyed the plays. I think it is different to hear his words out loud. Or am I just lazy..too lazy to read him. Once I was so impressed that my husband read "The Illiad and Homer," in Greek when he was in school. Like you Jim he had a classical education.

message 13: by Nina (new)

Nina | 6067 comments I have to say the list was interesting. And I am not surprised that Dr. Seus was on the list. I am certain we had every one of his books. Also, my writing critique teacher said "Peter Rabbit," was the original picture book.

message 14: by Nina (new)

Nina | 6067 comments I seem to remember a movie, "Vanity Fair," and am I right?

message 15: by Joy H., Group Founder (last edited Apr 25, 2015 03:11PM) (new)

Joy H. (joyofglensfalls) | 16697 comments The only show I have ever seen in an outdoor park was the opera "Carmen" (during the 1950's). It was at the Cincinnati Zoo Opera at the time. I remember hearing the lions roaring during the opera. I found the following online about the Zoo Opera:
"For one night this summer [2014], Cincinnati Opera returns to its first home, the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden, where performances were held from 1920 through 1971."

message 16: by Nina (new)

Nina | 6067 comments Oh Joy, what an interesting funny experience to hear Carmen to the tune of a lion's roar.

message 17: by Joy H., Group Founder (new)

Joy H. (joyofglensfalls) | 16697 comments Nina wrote: "I seem to remember a movie, "Vanity Fair," and am I right?"

Nina, at IMDb, I found 3 movie versions of "Vanity Fair":
1935: ---> (entitled "Becky Sharp")

message 18: by Jim (new)

Jim (jimmaclachlan) | 6319 comments My education wasn't that classical, Nina. They never offered Latin in any of my schools which was something I wanted to learn. Even though it is dead, it would be most useful, if only to figure out how to pronounce botanical names.

Yes, Shakespeare is best seen performed. Mel Gibson's performance in Hamlet was wonderful. Even my kids who were around 10 to mid teens liked it. I think they might have updated some of the language a bit, but don't recall. I do know we were all were glued to it.

message 19: by Joy H., Group Founder (new)

Joy H. (joyofglensfalls) | 16697 comments I studied 3 years of Latin in high school. Latin helps one to understand the detailed workings of grammar. Also, in Latin, the verbs usually came at the end of the sentence. So you had to think carefully to understand it. Studying Latin trains the mind to think.

message 20: by Joy H., Group Founder (new)

Joy H. (joyofglensfalls) | 16697 comments PS-Nina, IMDb also shows several versions of "Vanity Fair" that were TV series.

message 21: by Joy H., Group Founder (last edited Apr 25, 2015 03:43PM) (new)

Joy H. (joyofglensfalls) | 16697 comments PPS-Here's a YouTube link to the 1935 version of "Vanity Fair" starring Myrna Loy:

message 22: by Joy H., Group Founder (new)

Joy H. (joyofglensfalls) | 16697 comments PPS-There seems to be some static on the sound track at YouTube.

message 23: by Nina (new)

Nina | 6067 comments I took a year of Latin in high school and had a great teacher who had contests by having us find the words in the Sunday paper with Latin derivities and the one who found the most(we brought our list on Monday)won a prize. She even had a "Latin" party by trying to emulate the food they would have had and we all had to wear sheets and wrap them like they were togas. Lot of fun for a dead language party.

message 24: by Nina (new)

Nina | 6067 comments I agree with Joy. Latin does train your mind to think and that is probably the most important thing that comes out of taking it. But, do you think it is ever taught any more any where. I think the same could be said for studying Greek as there are so many words, like Latin, that have a Greek base. My husband had to read Homer and The Illiad in Greek.

message 25: by Joy H., Group Founder (new)

Joy H. (joyofglensfalls) | 16697 comments Nina, speaking of the contests your Latin teacher gave, our son's 6th grade teacher had a great idea to motivate the students. He gave out imaginary "Teacher-Dollars" as prizes for various tasks or behavior and kept track of them. The group with the most "Teacher-Dollars" got to have a pizza party once a month. (Instead of the word "teacher" he used his own name which I won't post here.) I've never forgotten how well that system worked in motivating the kids.

message 26: by Nina (new)

Nina | 6067 comments Joy, we do seem to remember those good teachers as well as what they taught us. We are grateful they graced our lives. I think I would have loved doing that in sixth grade. By the way, in Kansas City at that time we only went to grade school through seventh grade. I used to wonder why other kids had to go to school an extra year..

message 27: by Joy H., Group Founder (new)

Joy H. (joyofglensfalls) | 16697 comments Funny how kids think! LOL

back to top


Glens Falls (NY) Online Book Discussion Group

unread topics | mark unread

Books mentioned in this topic

Hamlet (other topics)
Shakespeare's Greatest Hits (other topics)

Authors mentioned in this topic

Stephen King (other topics)
Roger Zelazny (other topics)