Looking back at my childhood shelves I notice that I’ve always been really into “collecting” the work of certain authors – and I’m sure we all have favourites on our shelves at home that we could read again and again. In the interests of literary introspection, I began to list these favourite authors and thought – lucky you! – that I’d share them.
I somehow discovered Paul Magrs via the young adult novel Strange Boy and it totally blew me away. I could read this book every month and not get bored of it.
The Handmaid’s Tale, Oryx and Crake, The Penelopiad: there is no author I can think of who has such a way of reimagining the ordinary, and making me consider everything from my writing style, to my plots to my place in society. I can’t recommend her enough, and I would and will hope to read anything and everything she has written.
Perhaps controversially, I prefer the Dirk Gently series to Hitchhiker’s Guide. I feel I can say that having read all of these series, including the unfinished The Salmon of Doubt, but seriously, I could wax lyrical for some time about how great Dirk Gently is and why you ought to give it a go.
My English Literature teacher at Secondary school recommended Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit and she was right. Since then I’ve read a number of her books, and I really can’t get over her use of language and imagery. I’m sure I could learn a lot from her – so I need to keep reading!
Here’s another topic best saving for a full blog post. For my dissertation I read a lot of sermons as well as a lot of poetry – and if I still love him then there must be something there. I know a number of his poems by heart (mostly the rude ones such as Elegie XIX but also nicer ones such as The Good-Morrow). As a tip for Christmasses, etc, I’m collecting collections of his poetry. So, you know, just an idea.
I say this, but hasn’t everyone? In fact, I didn’t read the spin off books, but I have read the Harry Potter series at least twice.
I always stated I hated Jane Austen until I read Northanger Abbey and then I went back to read Pride and Prejudice and Sense and Sensibility and realised how funny her work was. Not just a description of lovelorn ladies in big dresses!
J. R. R. Tolkien
After re-discovering The Lord of the Rings at school, I suddenly became obsessed with all things Tolkien. Including Leaf by Niggle. Having said this, I own The Silmarillion, but still can’t finish it. But ask me about the Sindarin noun-verb diclensions, or the Hobbits after the Ring and I may know a little something! Oh, and if you can’t find any Donne for Christmas, Tolkien editions are also accepted.
Wilde is another author I’m glad to have discovered at school, and whose works I will happily collect in any edition. I’ve pored over the plays and consider The Picture of Dorian Gray to be among the most haunting stories I’ve ever read.
This one was rather a surprise when I looked back at my bookshelves. But I have the majority of his books. A wonderfully clever philosopher and storyteller, Gaarder’s novels are thought-provoking and vivid and very, very imaginative. Read Sophie’s World and consider how words are written on the inside of a banana skin…
So, who are your favourite authors? Who will you always return to for good writing – and why?
A new year has shown up just how bad I am at blogging regularly – let’s hope that this doesn’t set the trend for the whole of 2012!
What’s new with you? Tell me things!
What’s new with me, you ask? Well… I thought it would only be fair to explain what has been keeping me busy for the whole of January.
All of these things have, I have to admit, been a pleasant distraction from Having An Opinion, but I hope to return to form sooner or later. Sooner, I hope.
Stumbling upon some really great blogs
So, you know, because my life’s been nice but I’ve been quiet: What’s new with you? How’s 2012 going so far?
This time last year I made some New Year’s Resolutions and swore to keep to them. Another year has come around again so I guess it’s time to see how I did! And what might be in store this year.
Last Year’s Resolutions:
1.Apply for (and get accepted onto!) King’s College London Literature and Medicine MA
Well, weirdly: success. I applied, I was accepted, then I panicked and deferred entry. Everything all came at the same time, just as I was planning to take the Library Science MSc, and so the current status of this resolution is that I did what I set out to do, but have yet to actually attend the course. I have hold of it, though, for safekeeping.
2.Complete OU Genetics course by the January deadline!
Done. And I passed with some sort of merit – so the OU think I’m intelligent even if no-one else does.
It wasn’t a bad course of study, to be honest, although I did know a lot of it from my A Level studies. I was thinking of studying for a degree with the OU, but I really found the distance element rather too distant to be of any use.
3.Visit home at least once a month.
Success! I think… I’ve visited home, or my parents have visited me once a month at least – so they still know what I’m up to! It’s always nice to go home, although I do love my independence.
4.Find archives work experience, work out whether or not to apply for Kew Gardens Trainee Archivist post.
Well, no. Unless you count ‘work out whether to apply’ as solved by deciding on a Library Science degree… I’m still wistful about archives, and hoping I’ll get to work out whether it’s my thing or not at
5.Do some sort of exercise! Find motivation to drive to a swimming pool/take up ice skating.
Unexpectedly, done. I swam (for a bit), didn’t take up ice skating (woe), but have weirdly been persuaded to join a gym. This is real shock to me, as I’d never set foot in a gym until about a month ago. In fact, it felt like giving in. But to my extreme surprise and mild annoyance, (I don’t actually hate it.) Shh, don’t tell anyone.
6.A new one! As of 07.01.11 I will be taking part in the PostAWeek wordpress challenge for 2011. Will attempt to post at least once a week from now on. Poetry, thoughts, essays, whatever.
Not as successful as the others, as I know I haven’t posted EVERY week. But overall, I kind of have. Must try harder with this one.
As for this year... keep up the good work? No, really, I’ve no idea. Try more recipes, perhaps? But otherwise, complete Year 1 of library school, continue to gym/swim/something, have a social life (!) and don’t get sacked.
Your go. Any new resolutions for 2012?
I’ve given up with WordPress formatting, so here’s a screenshot of how this one should look.
Curling and unfurling
On alternate weekends.
Cutting my own hair, and
Holding my tongue, tight.
Exchanging our affections,
Amongst endless racing.
Signing in, and signing you out.
We collected apples, and I
Remembered not to count.
I want a month of fire.
Take me here,
I’ll make myself heard.
My lyrical voice abrupt
with logical defeat.
“It’ll end in tears,” we joke.
Gah, formatting. This is much prettier on the page that I have
Why You Don’t Love Me
Sudden dizziness caused by the quiet revelation
Makes me queasy,
and I feign sleep to hide my face.
The questioning glance draws it out of me
And it’s admitted to the air
As we stare not at each other,
But our reflections
In the window.
A poem I remember writing at university. And one which always needs the claification:
…And why that’s a good thing.