My highest rated authors

Since I’m talking about books so much this morning, I figured I post something I’ve been meaning to look at for some time now: my highest rated authors. The data comes from my reading lists, which I have kept since January 1, 1996. In order to generate the following data, I filtered it for fiction only, and only those authors for which I had read, and rated 5 or more books.

For fellow database nerds, my exact SQL query was:

SELECT Author1, COUNT(Rating), AVG(Rating)
FROM ReadingList
WHERE Fiction = ‘y’
GROUP BY Author1
HAVING COUNT(Rating) >= 5

I rate the books I read on a scale of 1-5 stars.

Here are the (relatively unsurprising) results for fiction authors:

Author Books Read Avg Rating
Asimov, Isaac 43 3.7907
Sawyer, Robert J. 7 3.7143
Haldeman, Joe 10 3.5000
Bear, Greg 5 3.4000
Bradbury, Ray 9 3.3333
Anthony, Piers 10 3.3000
Malzberg, Barry N. 23 3.2609
Clarke, Arthur C. 7 3.1429
Clancy, Tom. 7 3.1429
Heinlein, Robert A. 8 3.0000

It’s a little embarrassing to find Clarke and Clancy tied for 8th place. I feel like I enjoy Clarke’s stuff more than Clancy. I read Clancy’s "Jack Ryan" novels in a whirlwind vacation week in the summer of 2000 and haven’t returned to them since. I keep reading Clarke, but at least one of his books, The Fountains of Paradise, underwhelmed me. As for Piers Anthony: I read a lot of PA growing up, before I ever kept my lists. At one point, I went back and reread the first 10 books of the Xanth series. I think this was late 1999. That’s why he shows up on the list. His score might have been higher if I included stuff from before the list like Macroscope or Tarot.

It would seem that I can’t produce a list of highest rated fiction authors without showing the list of highest-rated non-fiction authors. If we go based on the same criteria, the list looks like this:

Author Books Read Avg Rating
Asimov, Isaac 71 3.8028
Sagan, Carl 6 3.6667
Rooney, Andy 5 3.6000
Ambrose, Stephen E. 6 3.3333

So there you have it.  Isaac Asimov takes top position for both categories.  In the fiction category, most of my favorite authors make the list.  A few are missing, probably because I’ve read less than 5 books each (Bester and Kornbluth, for instance.)

Anyone else have similar data?

About Jamie Todd Rubin

Jamie Todd Rubin writes fiction and nonfiction for a variety of publications including Analog, Clarkesworld, The Daily Beast, 99U, Daily Science Fiction, Lightspeed, InterGalactic Medicine Show, and several anthologies. He was featured in Lifehacker’s How I Work series. He has been blogging since 2005. By day, he manages software projects and occasionally writes code. He lives in Arlington, Virginia with his wife and three children. Find him on Twitter at @jamietr.