Anne Tyler has written eighteen novels to this point and her nineteenth, The Beginner's Goodbye, is scheduled for April 2012 (it's on my ARC wish list, dear Publisher). A quick look at my bookshelves turned up hardcover editions of fourteen of the novels, in addition to two or three duplicates in different editions. For multiple reasons, even though I've read all eighteen titles, I don't have personal copies of: The Amateur Marriage, A Patchwork Planet, Digging to America, or Noah's Compass.
For those not familiar with Tyler's work, I suggest starting off with Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant from 1982, That is still one of my favorites.
Pat Conroy has only published ten books during his forty-year career, sometimes going six or seven years between books and driving his fans to the point of nerd-hysteria when a new title is finally announced. There was even a fourteen-year stretch between his last two novels, Beach Music and South of Broad. Five of the ten books are novels (unless The Boo is counted as a novel and, frankly, I'm still not entirely certain how to classify that one), one is a memoir of his college basketball days, one is a cookbook, one a memoir about his early days as a schoolteacher, and the other is a book about his own favorite books and how he became a reader and a writer.
Another check of my bookshelves reveals hardcover versions of three of the novels, the basketball book, the book on his reading life, and an ARC of his last novel, South of Broad. I have, however, read all of Conroy's books and I'm looking forward to the new memoir about his current relationship with his father and how they reconciled their differences.
Anyone unfamiliar with Conroy's work, but curious, should start with Prince of Tides, still my favorite of his novels, or maybe with his love letter to books, My Reading Life.
Anne Tyler and Pat Conroy are two of the authors I most admire because I know I can always depend on them to move me as well as entertain me. They are very special writers and I wish them many more productive birthdays to come.