Becoming an O’Farrell Completist.

I love all the different ways that we can be Readers (and Knitters) and the comments on my last post about Reading Projects really made me smile. A few of y’all are firmly in the No Way camp, a couple have committed to a project or two, and a couple are questioning. This post is mostly for those of you in those last two categories, and ME!

First, what is a Project? Anne Bogel says something along the lines of “a specific and finite plan in your reading life … to bring joy, knowledge, or satisfaction.” The key points are clear scope, specific timeframe, and a benefit to your reading life.

Projects differ from Intentions mostly in those first two points. Last year, I had only Intentions. I wanted to read for Delight, Connection, Growth, and Diversity. That was it; there was no scope and no endpoint. Along the way I committed to reading a few short lists before the prize announcements – and those became projects, but I didn’t really think of them as such (probably because I didn’t have this vocabulary). I also participate in multiple bookclubs and I intend to read the selections and participate in the discussions, but those aren’t projects either. I say all this not to debate the definition – or the merit – of a project, but to help clarify.

When I say I’m embarking on a Reading Project to become a Maggie O’Farrell completist, you now know that means I’m going to read all of her books. and when I say I learned yesterday that she has a new book coming out September 1 (!!!!) and I want to read the backlist before that date, you know I have specific timeframe. and I’m assuming you already know the why – I read three of her books last year and loved every one of them. I want to explore more!

Maggie O’Farrell has published nine books – I’ve actually read four, but one was 13 years ago and I don’t remember much. So this project is reading six books. and it works perfectly to read one per month from March through August to be ready for her new one in September. I shopped used books online last week and found great copies of five. I especially love these two hardcovers I picked up for about $5 each

I didn’t find a copy of I Am, I Am, I Am … I’ll keep looking. and since I’ve decided to read from earliest to most recent, I have until August.

I created a shelf on Goodreads (here) just so I could get all the covers in one place.

It’s a fun visual!

That shelf of books I included at the top of this post is actually three projects – O’Farrell on the left, Erdrich in the middle (not technically a project because I haven’t set an end date … it won’t be this year), and Birthday Bibliobrunch on the right.

I read through Claire Fuller last year and should finish Sarah Winman this year, too (it’s just two books – and I’ve already started one … it hardly feels like a Project 😉 ) I know Sarah’s also planning to become an O’Farrell completist this year … what authors are you completists about? and would you want to try others?

14 thoughts on “Becoming an O’Farrell Completist.

  1. I love that plan and I am, I am, I am is one of my favorite O’Farrell book. I am definitely in the curious camp. Thanks for the inspiration

  2. I’m happy to be along for the ride with you — and since you shared on IG that she has the new one coming out, it’s nice to have a deadline now!

    Being a Louise Erdrich completist is also a goal of mine, but she’s so prolific that I’ve accepted that it’s going to take me a while to get through all of her books.

  3. Def a completist for Alexander McCall Smith’s Berty and Isabel Dalhousie series. Never got into the #1 Ladies Detective Series. Elizabeth George and Jacqueline Winspear for sure and I’m on the final Diane Gabaldon. Didn’t really care for her other books. I’ve also been real disappointed with Mary Kay Andrews most recent books as well. I used to always look forward to the next adventure with her.
    Lately I’m relying on what’s available at the library either book-book or e-book as my TBR. Lots of books on reserve by new to me authors so who knows where it’ll go from there.

  4. I am . . . an “accidental completist” at best! 🙂 There are a few authors that I really love reading, and I tend to read whatever they write, so I am an occasional “completist,” but not really by design. (Elizabeth Strout, Ann Patchett, and Ruth Ozeki fall into that category for me; maybe others.) Enjoy your Maggie O’Farrell reads! I’ve read several of hers . . . but nothing compared to Hamnet for me. I’ll be eager to hear what you think. (And I have no doubt that you’ll be able to complete your project by the deadline!) XO

  5. The term “completest” has never entered my vocabulary until recently even though I’ve read all publications by several authors. This year I will likely finish all of Sarah Winman’s books because that will be easy (2 to go). I have several commitments for reading that keep me from purposely adding another “project” and I feel there will be more opportunities to join others throughout the year. I have no FOMO! LOL

  6. I’ve only recently heard the term “completest” and I think the first author I was a completest of was Iris Murdoch. I read one of her books in high school and loved her writing so much that I read everything she wrote over several years.
    I have been working my way through Maggie O’Farrell’s books and have read all but three on her backlist. I plan on reading those three books, but don’t have a set time to finish them. I am also working my way through Louise Erdrich’s books through the group read along!

  7. If I love an author I will tend to read all of their books but I don’t consider myself a completist as I won’t read a book that doesn’t appeal to me – even if it’s written by an author I love.

  8. I’ve tried to think of an author that I can say I’m a completist, and the closest I can come is maybe Elizabeth Strout. I’ve loved some of her recent books, but I couldn’t get more than 50 pages into Abide With Me or Amy and Isabelle. I hope that someday you might share what motivates you to make reading plans and become a completist for several authors. It’s so different from the way I read that I’m truly curious! (And like you said, there are many different ways we can be readers!)

  9. Can I just say that I love you? This is such a fun and lovely post. Your picture up top is gorgeous.

    I am also a Claire Fuller completist, but I’m not sure how many other authors I’ve completely read. I know there are several! I’d like to tackle Ruth Ozeki this year, which isn’t a tall mountain to climb. But I must find my reading legs first. I’ve lost them lately but know they’re around here somewhere!! 😉

    1. Claire Fuller was the first author I “completed” and the experience was so rewarding. I love looking for the common threads of style and subject, and seeing how both progress as the author matures. and reading through the author in a relatively short period “fixes” me as a reader. I have other “favorite authors”, but I’ve read their books over years, and the me that first read them is for sure NOT the me that reads them now! (and of course your legs are there … you’ll find them when they’re ready to be found!)

  10. I’ve not heard of Maggie O’Farrell but good for you in reading all her books. For me if I like an author I tend to read all their books. I was that way with Kate Morton, Rosamunde Pilcher and now with Allison Weir. I’m not one for making plans for what I read, I simply choose a book to read by the mood I’m in. I find it fascinating that so many of you put so much into reading and make so many lists or plans. Interesting.

  11. I think I was a completest in my youth 🙂 Sydney Sheldon, Judith Krantz – such delightful reading for a 16-22 year old! I’m happy to have changed my game up a bit!

  12. I enjoy reading about your reading! I have probably read most of Willa Cather although not her early magazine articles or newspaper columns. I have read all of Terry Tempest Williams’ nonfiction although not her two or three words of fantasy fiction. They were not for me.

Comments are closed.