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Sunday, 15 May 2016

The 1st book you read by an author

I've just come across a blog post suggesting that readers intimidated by "long, challenging, and/or depressing classic novels" should read those writers' shorter/ easier works. 
I won't discuss that point. But here's a record of my first dates with several authors: 
William Shakespeare: Hamlet
Jane Austen: Emma
Charles Dickens: Oliver Twist 
Charlotte Bronte: Jane Eyre 
Anne Bronte: Agnes Grey 
George Eliot: Adam Bede
Lev Tolstoy: Anna Karenina 
Fyodor Dostoyevsky: Crime and Punishment 
Nikolai Gogol: Dead Souls 
Ivan Turgenev: Fathers and Sons 
Gustave Flaubert: Madame Bovary
Henry James: "Daisy Miller" and some other short stories 
Herman Melville: Moby Dick 
Mark Twain: The Prince and the Pauper
Virginia Woolf: Mrs Dalloway 
George Orwell: 1984
Franz Kafka: short and ultra-short stories 
Vladimir Nabokov: lecture on "The Metamorphosis"; if fiction only, Lolita 
J. D. Salinger: The Catcher in the Rye
F. Scott Fitzgerald: The Great Gatsby 
William Faulkner: "A Rose for Emily" 
Gabriel Garcia Marquez: short stories 
Isabel Allende: The House of the Spirits 
Milan Kundera: The Art of the Novel; if fiction only, The Unbearable Lightness of Being 
Elfriede Jelinek: The Piano Teacher
Toni Morrison: Beloved
Paulo Coelho: The Devil and Miss Prym 
Haruki Murakami: South of the Border, West of the Sun
Patrick Suskind: Perfume: The Story of a Murderer

What does it show? 
1/ I don't mind long novels. But you know that. 
2/ I have a different approach: often go straight to the most famous/ acclaimed work or 1 of them. If I'm impressed, most of the time it leads me to the author's other works; if I don't particularly like it, but feel intrigued, and question my own response, I might try again by reading another book by the same writer. If I hate it or am simply indifferent, at least I've read an important work often included among the greatest books we should read before we die, and know what it's like. 

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Now, same writers but a different list- the book that made me fall in love with the author: 
William Shakespeare: Julius Caesar 
Jane Austen: Mansfield Park 
Charles Dickens: "A Christmas Carol" 
Charlotte Bronte: Jane Eyre, now we're just friends 
Anne Bronte: The Tenant of Wildfell Hall, but I just like her 
George Eliot: I don't think I'm quite in love with her yet; no chemistry 
Lev Tolstoy: Anna Karenina 
Fyodor Dostoyevsky: Notes from Underground 
Nikolai Gogol: Dead Souls 
Ivan Turgenev: Fathers and Sons 
Gustave Flaubert: Madame Bovary
Henry James: "Daisy Miller" 
Herman Melville: Moby Dick 
Mark Twain: not there yet, but I'll come back to him some day
Virginia Woolf: A Common Reader or A Room of One's Own 
George Orwell: 1984
Franz Kafka: "The Metamorphosis" 
Vladimir Nabokov: Lolita 
J. D. Salinger: 9 Stories 
F. Scott Fitzgerald: The Great Gatsby 
William Faulkner: As I Lay Dying 
Gabriel Garcia Marquez: Chronicle of a Death Foretold 
Isabel Allende: The House of the Spirits, but when was the last time I went out with Isabel? Portrait in Sepia? Or Ines of My Soul
Milan Kundera: The Unbearable Lightness of Being 
Elfriede Jelinek: my feeling about Jelinek is complicated 
Toni Morrison: Beloved
Paulo Coelho: I fell in love (sort of), and fell out of love
Haruki Murakami: now enemies, I don't want to talk about it 
Patrick Suskind: Perfume: The Story of a Murderer

8 comments:

  1. interesting way to keep track; i write down titles, but they're not organized so i have to skip back through fifty pages to see if i remember reading something. i've thought about setting up some kind of computer thingy, but it seems so intimidating that i'll most likely never do it...

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    Replies
    1. I don't even know if you have a blog or not. Do you?

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    2. no. i've given it some thought, but not being terribly computer literate makes me hesitant. besides, i don't think i'm really that knowledgeable; i'm better at just commenting, however aggravating it may seem to posters...

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    3. If I worried about being knowledgeable, I would never have started blogging. Hahaha.
      But then on this blog as well as on previous blogs, I've written lots of nonsense.

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  2. Di,

    First books read by favorite authors?

    Dostoyevsky: Crime and Punishment
    Thomas Mann: The Magic Mountain
    Kim Stanley Robinson: The Memory of Whiteness
    Walter van Tilburg Clark: The Ox-Bow Incident
    Charles Dickens: A Christmas Carol
    Balzac: Pere Goriot
    Thomas Hardy: Jude the Obscure
    Joseph Conrad: can't remember
    George Eliot: can't remember
    Nathaniel Hawhorne: A Scarlet Letter
    Herman Melville: Moby Dick
    Henry James: can't remember
    Ray Bradbury: a short story.
    Gene Wolfe: The Shadow of the Torturer

    There are others whose names, no doubt, will arise shortly after I send this message.

    Non-fiction

    Loren Eiseley: The Immense Journey
    Joseph Wood Krutch: King Solomon's Ring

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. What about Jane Austen?

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    2. Di,

      Good grief! How could I have forgotten her. I thought I had put her on the list.

      Jane Austen: Sense and Sensibility (After trying and failing to read Pride and Prejudice)

      Lawrence Durrell: Justine

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    3. Hahahaha.
      That was my 2nd Austen.

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