It's an 800-page collection of 294 short biographies, 2 and 3 pages each on average, of as eclectic a bunch of authors as you'll ever encounter, many of whom I'm sure modern readers have never even
heard of or know little or nothing about, such as Aphra Benn, Olaudah Equiano, James Hogg, Harrison Ainsworth, Sylvanus Cobb Jr., Richard Aldington,to name a handful.
Along with those, you'll also find a host of people you have heard of, both those considered highly literary, like J. D. Salinger and D. H. Lawrence and John Steinbeck and Evelyn Waugh, and those considered to be beneath serious critical notice, such as Zane Grey and Edgar Rice Burroughs and Sax Rohmer and Robert Jordan and
Stephen King and Jacqueline Susann, from whose entry one learns the reason for her most famous title and where the actual Valley was --- and it's not in California, folks.
The book is full of jewels of information: Isaac Asimov died of AIDS, which was only admitted 10 years after his death; Richard Pryor, the comedian, acknowledged Mark Twain as his inspiration, a connection I'd never have made; Dennis Wheatley referred to his diary as his `fornicator's game book'; Patricia Cornwell's Kay Scarpetta was originally a male named Joe Constable --- I could go on and on: the book is endlessly fascinating.
That one man could have this much knowledge about so many so varied writers is mind-boggling!
There is one error I've noticed: contrary to the opening sentence in his entry, Robert E. Howard DID write a novel.