What Is It About That Author?

07Mar10

This week’s Weekly Geeks asks:

  • Tell your readers what is it about “an” author that you are most passionate about, that have you coming back for more from them, following their every blog post – literally blackmailing people to read their books?
  • Who are some of your all time favourite authors?
  • And what is it about them that makes you keep going back for more?

My absolute favourite author is Enid Blyton. I attribute my love for reading to her. Most of my childhood reading was Blyton, and on a bad/rainy day, I still yearn to curl up with one of her books. I strongly believe that children should read her books, and while lately, there’s been a lot of criticism about her racist and sexist, I personally think it’s the politically-correct police working overtime – much like the whole “Baa Baa Black Sheep” being racist, and changing it to “Baa Baa Rainbow Sheep,” which incidentally has homosexual connotations…

I digress.

Moving on to authors of adult books…

There are a number of authors I’ve enjoyed reading since my mid-teens, including Gabriel Garcia Marquez and Milan Kundera. I’m slowly working my way through all their books, and am enjoying taking my time.

A couple of years ago, I discovered J.M. Coetzee. While I love the three works by him which I have read, and think he’s immensely talented, I’d still be reluctant to call him an all-time favourite.

Just last year, I discovered Angela Carter, an author I’ve enjoyed acquainting myself with. Not only are her works surreal, brilliant and original (well, I’ve never read anything like her books), but her book covers are so incredibly striking, that you just want them sitting on your shelf, to look pretty!

So, what keeps me going back for more? Well, it’s different things about different authors, and in some instances, it’s hard to nail down. I haven’t listed Sarah Waters as a favourite, yet, I want to read all her books to see if any of them compare to Fingersmith.

With Marquez and Kundera, it’s kind of hard to pinpoint what I love. I’ve almost taken it for granted that if I pick up one of their books, I’m bound to love it. The language is beautiful, the story thought-provoking, and I genuinely feel as though I’m gained something after reading their works. On the other hand, reading Carter is a hell of an experience. I’m sorry, but there’s no other way (that I can think of) to describe it.

How about you? Do you have any authors that you’re just drawn to, more than others? What keeps you going back for more of their works?

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34 Responses to “What Is It About That Author?”

  1. Garcia Marquez and Kundera are both authors that I keep going back to as well. Can’t say what exactly but that I just really, really enjoy reading them. Also Eco, Calvino, Saramago, Morrison, Oe, Mishima, Ishiguro, Rushdie. I’ll be reading my first Angela Carter for Claire’s Angela Carter month. :D I still remember your Magic Toyshop review.

    • Know what you mean about Marquez and Kundera. I haven’t read any Eco, although been meaning to read Foucault’s Pendulum for a while now. My first experience with Morrison wasn’t the best, although the second was much better, so I must try reading more of her works. Just read the one Rushdie, and did enjoy it, but am half-scared to tackle another one.

      Hope you enjoy your first Carter. Which one are you contemplating starting with?

  2. Reading Angela Carter is indeed one hell of an experience.

    Did you know that all of the book covers above (which are a mixture of UK and US editions) are all produced by the same publisher, Roxanna Bikadoroff?

    http://roxannamundi.ca/books/index.htm

    It will come as no surprise to you that Angela Carter is somebody that I always go back to and will continue to do so; like you Gabriel Garcia Marquez is another and, like Claire, Toni Morrison. It is a combination of magic, captivation, intelligence, craft, beautiful awe-inspiring language and amazing reading experiences. I love to be surprised and they are all wondrous. Despite only having read Midnight’s Children (albeit twice), I consider Rushdie to be of the same calibre and Sarah Waters has the potential, despite a couple of disappointments.

    • Yep, I noticed that, and I love her website (been following her on facebook for some time). There are also a couple of other books on her website which I want to read, only for the cover.

      Like you, I’ve only read Midnight’s Children by Rushdie, and should change that soon. You’ve summed it up perfectly with the “a combination of magic, captivation, intelligence, craft, beautiful awe-inspiring language and amazing reading experiences” bit.

      I’m still not convinced about Sarah Waters. Maybe I need to read Tipping The Velvet and Affinity before I make up my mind.

      • I meant illustrator although you got my point! I’ve just started to follow her on facebook, I think after this post. I feel the same about some of the books that she has designed covers for; I requested one from the library but it turned up with a really icky cover, which put me off!

        Try Tipping the Velvet and Affinity; I much prefer her Victorian-based fiction and loved those two.

  3. 6 farmlanebooks

    It is hard to know who your favourite author is when you haven’t read all of their books. I really want to read all of Sarah Water’s books and will be reading my first Angela Carter next month too. I haven’t read any Marquez or Kundera yet so they could easily become favourites too. So many books to read, yet so little time!

    • Know what you mean!! Hope you enjoy your first Carter – will be looking forward to your thoughts on it.

      I’ve read three of her five, and will hopefully read all five before the year is out.

  4. Angela Carter is one of my most favorite authors; The Magic Toyshop is my favorite book by Carter.

  5. 10 mee

    Gosh those covers are truly striking! I’ve been meaning to read Kundera, but have not. I’m hoping to join in Angela Carter’s month this April, so who knows, I might find a new favorite author.

  6. I think we established in one of your previous posts that you and I both are ardent Enid Blyton fans.

    It’s funny that I’ve got Sarah Waters and Haruki Murakami listed in my head as favourite authors, when I haven’t read half of what they’ve written. (And in Sarah Waters’s case, I’ve only read one book so far!) I’m also expecting good things from Salman Rushdie and Angela Carter.

    • Haha yeah, Enid Blyton is amazing.

      I was thinking of Murakami, but have only read three books by him, of which one was a semi memoir (What I Talk About When I Talk About Running), and I didn’t really enjoy one that much. Must read more of his books.

      Must read two more books by Waters to make up my mind. Let’s see…

  7. 14 heidivargas

    I love those covers! I’m going to have to pick up one and have a read…Have a great week!

  8. 16 Mae

    100% agree with Enid Blyton. Along with Roald Dahl, nothing gives me more pleasure than to curl up with one of their books. It’s pure escapist and they’re just so whimsical and quaint which is seen as a bad thing today. Who can resist hot cocoa and treacle pudding? I was so excited to find my old copy of The Magic Faraway Tree series because it was the older version. They’ve changed a lot of things in the new editions. It won’t be the same if I had to read about Frannie, Beth, Richard and Joe instead of Fanny, Bess, Dick and Jo!

    I’ve read one Kundera and absolutely loved it. It’s my favourite sort of book – philosophy and a good tale.

    • Love them both – Dahl and Blyton. I miss not having all their books at hand, as I do love the whimsical!

      I absolutely hate the new editions of the books. I had lent the Naughtiest Girl series to someone, and never got it back. Bought it again, and everything had been changed to “modern-day”. Was well disappointed by that. I still have the older versions of Faraway Tree, St. Clares, Malory Towers etc., and wouldn’t trade them in for the world.

      • 18 Mae

        Er, you didn’t happen to lend the Naughtiest Girl to me did you? Somebody loaned me the first book when I was a kid and I still have it sitting in my garage…hardback and pink…

  9. Nobody’s mentioned Cormac McCarthy! And I have only read one Angela Carter, but I absolutely buy into the hell of an experience thing. The beautiful covers certainly don’t hurt.

    I am so envious of Mae with her old style Enid Blyton. I had to buy the updated version of the Faraway Tree series for my kids. I have read it aloud twice so far; and the editorial choices are still ghastly.

    • Ugh! Wouldn’t it be easier to go and get the originals from a second hand store or something? Couldn’t believe some of the editorial choices made in the “new” Naughtiest Girl series, and I ended up keeping them aside – felt wrong to be reading those.

      Unfortunately, I haven’t read enough McCarthy to claim him as a favourite yet. All in good time.. all in….

  10. 21 KT

    Beautiful covers! Now I want to go check out Angela Carter :)

    As for Sarah Waters, I loved Tipping the Velvet, but Affinity was a bit of a disappointment. Fingersmith is far and away the best of her Victorian-era novels!

    • You should – she rocks :)

      I loved Fingersmith. Haven’t read the other two you’ve mentioned, but found both, Little Stranger and Night Watch disappointing. I’ve got Affinity coming up next, so… let’s see.

  11. 23 kay

    I have never read Angela Carter, but I love the covers you posted. They certainly make me curious about her books.

  12. I love Kazuo Ishiguro’s books. He has such an elegant style of writing that I just adore. I still have a couple of his to read, but I don’t think I’ll be disappointed. When I was a kid, it was definitely Enid Blyton for me too!

    • I’ve just read the two Ishiguros (When We Were Orphans and Never Let Me Go). Have been meaning to read Remains Of The Day for absolutely ages. Thanks for the nudge – I’ll try reading it soon!!

      Glad to meet a fellow Blyton lover.

  13. 27 Pam

    The only Authors who have ever consistently kept me coming back for more are Roald Dahl (both as a small Pam and as a big Pam) and Haruki Murakami (for the sometimes tragic, sometimes magical-ness of it all)

    • I love Roald Dahl – started with Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, and it was an amazing experience. The other day, someone at work made a reference to Augustus Gloop. Happy times :)

      I’ve not read enough Murakami yet (yes, I know, bad cookie!), so can’t really say Murakami!!

      If you haven’t, you should read The Faraway Tree.

  14. I have not read any of the authors mentioned except Marquez and I’m sorry to say I didn’t like whichever of his I read .. Cholera, maybe? So many people love Solitude that I think I must give it a try. I’m not a big fan of magical realism, I guess is the problem. I’m too much of a pragmatist. I did however love Song of Solomon and really liked Middlesex – quite a first time perspective. As for me, I’m a fan of the contemporaries: Shreve, Kingsolver, Sue Miller, Erica Jong, Carrie Fisher and the classics: Austen, Wharton, Henry James, Hardy.

    • I’m sorry you didn’t like Cholera (Love In The Time Of Cholera). Solitude is amazing, but, it’s a difficult read… I guess with Marquez, magical realism is a given. I recently read Song of Solomon and did love it. In the middle of Middlesex and enjoying it as well.

      I’ve not read any Shreve, Kingsolver etc, and only read my first Austen last month, so, have miles to go….

  15. I have read Angela Carter in college and I liked her writing style. Nice blog, btw. I will come again and I’ll add you to my blog roll.

  16. Isn’t it funny how the authors we met in childhood stay with us forever? That was the case with me and Madeleine L’Engle, and certainly for my son with J. K. Rowling (who personally, has done nothing for me. But, I’ll be forever grateful to her for causing my son to love to read). I hadn’t heard of Enid Blyton until another blogger introduced me to her in 2006…I don’t think she’s so well known in America, which is too bad. The kids in my class have loved the books I’ve read aloud to them.

    My favorite author has to be Haruki Murakami. I hold him in such high esteem, I always garner something new from his books, he always leaves me something to think about for weeks even unto months.

    I enjoyed reading about yours, so many I’ve not yet read.

  17. I have many many authors that I am drawn to.

    Every second Tuesday I run a meme on my blog called Great Authors, where I highlight one of my favourite authors.

    Here is the link to an index of the posts
    http://pageturnersbooks.blogspot.com/2010/01/features.html

  18. You know, I must be the most disloyal reader in the world, I can’t actually think of an author who fits into this category for me.

    In the past, I’ve read many books by an author, only to find their other works less impressive than the first book of theirs I read. And it’s very disenchanting :( So I have this really bad habit of NOT reading all of an author’s work.

    That being said, I’m onto Proust Vol 3. So I guess that counts

    And W. Somerset Maugham & Beryl Bainbridge are two authors whose work I will/have read more of, it’s just a matter of time. I find there are so many authors out there I haven’t read, that I feel bad reading a whole bunch of books all by the same person…it seems redundant.

    I feel so horrible writing this.


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