Sunday Salon: Completing the Alphabet

The Sunday

Today’s Sunday Salon post will be short and sweet. Its topic is something that’s been bothering me just a little bit each time I update my Books page. Here’s the problem.

A B C D E F G H _ J K L M N O P _ R S T _ _ W _ _ Z

That’s what my Books page looks like. Nowhere on Erin Reads are there reviews of books whose authors’ last names start with I, Q, U, V, X, or Y! Perhaps it’s shallow of me to care, but I do. Somehow, gaps in the alphabet suggest gaps in my reading, illogical as that may be.

It’s not a top priority for me to fill in those gaps. I don’t plan to drop everything and read books over the next month that will cover those missing letters. But I would, eventually, like to remedy the situation.

For I, I already have Kazuo Ishiguro on my list. In fact, I have three titles of his on my shelf: The Remains of the Day, The Unconsoled, and, most recently, Never Let Me Go. (With which should I start?) The Space Between Us by Thrity Umrigar will cover U; I have Cutting For Stone by Abraham Verghese, which takes care of V.

As for Q, X, and Y, I don’t seem to have anything on my TBR list that fits. My question for you: what books have you really enjoyed that you’d recommend to fill in these holes? Do you have additional recommendations for I, U, or V? And does having gaps like these bother you, or do you not even notice?

Have a wonderful Sunday, everyone!

Join the Conversation


  1. my review catalog is still a work in progress but random gaps like that would totally bother me and I can definitely understand where you are coming from! now i need to finish updating it so I can see what letters are missing for me!

    1. I’m glad it’s not just me! Let me know if you need recommendations for filling in your gaps, when you find them πŸ™‚

    1. Sometimes I wish I were like that, but I’m definitely not! It would indeed be convenient, though.

  2. For Y, you have Richard Yates – Revolutionary Road, (which I liked very much) and The Easter Parade (not read yet).
    For Q (or X), you have Qiu Xialong (I think Qiu is his last name), a chinese born author now living in St Louis. He writes mystery novels set in contemporary China. His recurrent character is a police officer who loves poetry. Not bad !
    For I, you have Yasushi Inoue, a japanese author I appreciate very much.
    For U, you have John Updike or Brady Udall
    For V, you have David Vann – Legend of a suicide, he has been awarded the 2010 Prix Medicis here in France where his book is a great success. I actually loved the book, an astonishing yet disturbing novel !
    That’s all that came to my mind ! Maybe it will give you ideas to fill the holes !
    Have a great Sunday !

    1. Great recommendations, virginie, thank you! I do need to read Yates and Updike, I’ve considered Udall, and I’ve not heard of the others but will add them to my list!

  3. I really enjoyed The Space Between Us. And, I second the nomination for Revolutionary Road. It’s one of the best books I’ve read about a real relationship, a real marriage. I am sometimes bothered by knowing that I have not read enough books to fill the alphabet, but I sleep comfortably knowing that I will continue to read and fill up those slots! Good luck.

    1. I’m glad to hear it! I hope I’ll like it better than Umrigar’s other novels. Sounds like I need to find a copy of Revolutionary Road!

      The gap thing doesn’t bug me all the time…mostly just when I’m updating the Books page. Every time I add a book it seems to be an S or a T or something else of which I already have plenty!

  4. You also have Ibsen on your list for an I author! πŸ™‚

    Let’s see. The only Q author I’ve read is Beneath My Mother’s Feet by Amjed Qamar. It was a great YA novel about a girl growing up in Pakistan. For U I’ve only read a children’s book called A Crooked Kind of Perfect by Linda Urban which was okay but not great. For V, I recommend Jules Verne or Voltaire or Kurt Vonnegut! For X, I’ve only read Sky Burial by Xinran which is a semi-fictional novel about Tibet. And Y, none of the three authors I’ve read have appealed to me at all, so I can’t really recommend them.

    My gap is in the titles section. The year I did the A-Z Challenge (both with authors and titles), the person running it allowed me to use an X anywhere in the title, so I have no X title. Drives me nuts!! πŸ˜€

    1. Ibsen! Yes! Duh! Ha, I didn’t even check my classics list. It’s separate from my other TBR lists. Good call πŸ™‚ As a matter of fact, Verne and Vonnegut are on there as well, and Voltaire probably should be! Thanks for the Xinran reminder as well — I’ve heard of Sky Burial but haven’t thought of it in a long time.

      For some reason the titles don’t bug me, probably because I don’t organize that way. For me, it’s either by date I read it or author’s last name. Thank goodness…if I did titles too I’m sure I’d have gaps galore! The X thing would drive me crazy. Maybe you could write a book that starts with X, thus ending the problems of people trying to complete the alphabet? They’d all read your book πŸ™‚

    1. I didn’t realize it was an official challenge! Cool! I kept thinking I needed a Z author, then realized a book I talked about early on already had that letter covered. Thank goodness!

    1. My husband loves Tintin! I’m glad you’re back in reading mode. It’s tough to be out of it and tough to get back in…but the hard part is over!

    1. Excellent! It’s going on my list. I’ve only ever heard of Sky Burial. Glad to know that multiple works by Xinran are good.

  5. I totally understand caring about this. I alphabetize my DVD collection and it drives me crazy that I haven’t got anything that starts with Q. If only someone would make a truly brilliant Q movie.

    I have no exciting and original suggestions, but I do second the Richard Yates recommendation. Revolutionary Road surprised me by being awesome.

    1. I’m glad you understand! Happily for me, I only worry about it with books, and then only books listed on my review page. I don’t really collect anything else that can be alphabetized! I’m definitely adding Revolutionary Road to my list — so many positive recommendations and no negative votes!

  6. Here is from a quick perusal of my goodreads shelves (minus the ones you already mentioned planning to read):

    I: John Irving, Amy Ignatow (The Popularity Papers is super cute)

    Q: Matthew Quick

    U: John Updike

    V: Kurt Vonnegut (love Cat’s Cradle!), Ned Vizzini, Brian K. Vaughan (Y: The Last Man series is great, so is the Runaways series), Sara Varon (Robot Dreams is adorable and a quick read)

    X: You got me here. I can’t think of a single one.

    Y: Jane Yolen, Laurence Yep, Gene Luen Yang

    1. What great suggestions! How could I have forgotten John Irving?? I’ve not heard of some of the authors you mentioned, so I’ll have to look them up. Thanks, Em!

  7. I totally get being bugged by this. I am only missing Q and X, but I’m not sure what I will come up with for that.

    For I, Iyengar, Sheena: The Art of Choosing – this is nonfiction about choice that I enjoyed.

    For V, try Sarah Vowell. I think she’s hilarious.

    1. I need to read more nonfiction, so maybe I’ll give The Art of Choosing a try! And I think I actually have one of Vowell’s on my shelf…from before I redid my TBR list, so she’s not on there. Thanks for the reminder!

      If I run into anything good for Q or X, I’ll let you know πŸ™‚

  8. I did the A to Z challenge for two years, and in the first year I was left with almost the exact same letters. I read Kazuo Ishiguro’s Never Let Me Go to finish off I, but it just did not work for me. Since you have ideas for I, U, and V, here are just a few suggestions to help you out with the other letters:

    Q: Everything I’ve read for ‘Q’ hasn’t worked out for me…

    X: Xinran (Sky Burial or China Witness are both good)

    Y: Richard Yates or Sara Young (My Enemy’s Cradle)

    1. I keep hearing mixed things about Ishiguro…I guess I’ll just have to give him a shot and see what happens! I’m definitely adding Xinran and Yates to the list. Everyone seems to be in agreement about that, which is awesome! I’ve heard of My Enemy’s Cradle, I’ll have to look into it. Thanks for your help!

  9. Thanks for stopping by! Yeah the two “challenges” I actually joined both haven’t been updated in at least several months, so I’m pretty sure they aren’t actually running, it’s more like making a conscious effort to read more Jewish lit and Short Stories considering I already own so many! I found I didn’t stick to challenges very well and I don’t really like the idea of having to make sooo many posts but read-a-longs do seem like a good alternative to that and I have two blogs I love that are hosting them so I will definitely be participating in at least a few πŸ™‚ Subscribing to your blog now by the way, it’s lovely.

    1. I love how many readalongs are out there! Challenges are such a big commitment…they certainly do require a lot of posts (and planning!). I love the idea of them, though. I love the thought of everyone reading the same books/themes.

    1. I’m glad you felt like you wanted to subscribe twice πŸ™‚ I’ve got you in my Google Reader now. Always glad to add another good book blog!

    1. I really should read something by Yolen! Alphabetical is the easiest way for me to keep track of reviews. It appeases the bookseller habits I picked up in my previous job πŸ™‚

  10. It helps to have done the alphabet challenge … though I stopped short of reading “The Autobiography of Malcolm X” … I just couldn’t muster up the energy. As for Q, Anna Quindlen is a good choice with lots of books to choose from. As for Y, I did Michele Young-Stone’s “Handbook for Lightning Strike Survivors.” Hope this helps .. I see you got lots of suggestions.

    1. Oh, yes, Anna Quindlen! I’ve never read anything by her and probably should. Handbook for Lightning Strike Survivors is an interesting title…I’m intrigued! I think I’d like doing the A to Z challenge with authors, but the titles don’t matter so much to me. Probably just because I don’t track books that way…yet!

  11. Start with Never Let Me Go! πŸ™‚ The Space Between Us is also very good.

    Some ideas:
    Q – Anna Quindlen (One True Thing, but it’s really sad!) or The Ivy Chronicles by Karen Quinn (fun chicklit)
    V – Kurt Vonnegut
    X – definitely Xinran’s Good Women of China, it’s wonderful
    Y – Banana Yoshimoto (Kitchen) or Jane Yolen (Briar Rose)or American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang

    1. I’m so excited about Never Let Me Go! I do think I’ll start there πŸ™‚ Thanks for your other suggestions! Xinran, I think, has been recommended enough to become a priority, plus it would be cool to have X filled in!

  12. I alphabetize by title so I don’t notice the authors as much. I am more obsessed with making sure I have a book from each decade (1700s is hard) and each 100s century of the Dewey decimal system for nonfiction…I’m weird like that.

    I don’t have any of the letters you need on my bookshelves, sorry I’m not help there!

    1. I’m going to have to read a lot more classics before I can even try to look at which decades I’m missing! What a cool way to organize books, though…I’ve never even considered that!

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