Friday, January 19, 2007

These are a Few of My Favorite Things

I'm a little over half way done with Middlemarch (my second classics challenge). I'm really enjoying it, but it's not a super-fast read. Pile on all of my homework, and I haven't read any books since my last post.

But since I want to post, I thought I'd talk about authors. First, there are my fvaorites. The ones that I reach for again and again, the ones that I trust. As a military brat, I grew up boomeranging between Texas and England. This has made me a Texan at heart who sometimes spells like a Brit. As I've gotten older, I've realized that most of my favorite authors are also British....or at least of the Commonwealth.

This would include Jane Austen (I've grown up with her, and every time I reread one of her books, I seem to see it in a different way), Salman Rushdie (it's obscene how amazing an author he is), Ian McEwan (does anyone do drama better?) and A.S. Byatt (my newest British discovery, but I'm rapidly working my way through her works). And, of course, my favorite mystery novelists are all British....a mystery novel set in America just doesn't do it for me. I need tea, Oxford (or Oxbridge, if necessary), social classes.

Back in high school, I really enjoyed David Eddings, with his focus on deities, different cultures, and just the grand scheme of things. I haven't read any of his books in a couple of years now, but I know that I could go back to one of his series and be instantly at home. I used to love that style of fantasy, which seemed mythic in scope. So, that's one American to root for.

Speaking of fantasy, my 'grown-up' fantasy author is Neil Gaiman. I wish that I could marry this man, I love the way that he thinks and writes that much. Talk about mythology in literature! I haven't looked at Sandman, but I've read just about all of his regular books (excluding the newest one). And I own them all. And I often give them as gifts to other people.

Jhumpa Lahiri is somewhat of a mix; born British, raised in Rhode Island. Either way, I've enjoyed both of her books and wish that she would come out with a new one. I really want to go to India one day, and I've read a few different authors, but Lahiri's stories stay with me. Also, I find her style incredibly polished and deliberate.

As far as foreign authors, I tend to be hesitant to read translations, unless I know that they're the best out there. Still, I've managed to develop a few trusted friends. I really enjoy Isabelle Allende and Gabriel Garcia Marquez when I'm looking for a taste of Latin America. Of course, the two have very different styles, so it depends on my mood. Moving to a colder region, I really enjoy Leo Tolstoy and Anton Chekhov (keep in mind, I study Russian in college). Tolstoy just puts you in the world so well; I love really, really long novels, because then I don't have to worry about them ending suddenly. Chekhov's short stories just make me happy; I can read them in Russian as well as English, his prose is so simple, and yet the stories are anything but.

So, that's a whirlwind tour of some of my sagging bookshelves. What are your favorite authors? Especially re: foreign authors, which I'm always on the look out for.

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