Friday, November 14, 2014

Joyce Carol Oates: 141 Books and Counting

I "discovered" Joyce Carol Oates and her writing in the 1980s and now, some thirty years later, I am as fascinated by what she does as ever.  This woman, to put it mildly, is a book writing machine who has experimented with just about every form of writing there is: novels, short stories, plays, essays, poetry, sports writing, young adult fiction, children's books, book reviews, memoirs, etc. (and I'm probably leaving something out).  Name it, and she's probably done it.

Yesterday I added a JCO bibliography link, one that will require me to pay close attention to it if I am going to keep the bibliography current - and I counted 141 books to her credit.  Think about that for a moment: 141 books from 1963 through 2014.  There may be other authors of her stature who have matched the pace of almost three books per year for fifty years, but I don't recall one (if you do, please let me know).

In the process of looking for a video to attach to the Oates bibliography (as I've done with each bibliography linked at the top of the homepage), I found the one embedded here.  It so perfectly captures the woman, her personality, her environment, and her writing philosophy, that I want to share it in a separate post.

I have had the pleasure of two brief encounters with Ms. Oates over the years, once in the eighties at Rice University in Houston and then last month in Austin during the 2014 Texas Book Festival.  She is exactly the woman you see in this short video: soft spoken, polite, interested in questions no matter how silly they might seem to her, modest, and tiny.  Ms. Oates is 78 years old now - that should give her enough time for another 30 or 40 books.  I can't wait.


  1. Wow! I know she is prolific but I never realized she'd written that many books! And it isn't like she write trash either. Pretty amazing.

  2. Stefanie, I did some editing to the page this morning (mainly, I wanted to add links to about 15 reviews of her books I've done on Book Chase) and I discovered another book I'd left now, my count is 141 books. I thought I had a good collection and now I see that I only have about 90 of the titles, although 8 of them are signed and dedicated to me. I also have multiple versions of some of the books (ARCs and Hardcovers both, for example), so the number of books of hers on my shelves is well over 100 in total.