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. 


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


  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...

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

    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...

    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.

  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.


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

    1. What about Jane Austen?

    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

    3. Hahahaha.
      That was my 2nd Austen.