If I lost everything in a fire, it is my books I would be most keen to replace. I have made myself a library in which to live, full of reference books, non-fiction, novels, short stories, poems and even some plays. I try not to be attached to material things, but my books are my anchor in this world.
Choosing favourite writers is a bit like choosing my favourite flower. I
definitely prefer some, love some, but the moment I start a list it
just keeps growing.
I love Iris because she was herself, a bit of a mess actually, a philosopher, a bit of an odd duck. Scholars debate whether or not she is a good writer or a bad one, but they can't not pay attention to her one way or the other. She is known for her confidence but private letters reveal that she had great doubts about her abilities and that makes her so relatable. Her books are not easy to read and somehow manage to combine a boring, yet dramatic plot with characters to whom you don't really attach but want to learn their fate.
I love Iris for her exploration of human psychology, of philosophy, ethics, human relationships and the complex not all good, not all bad nature of most people. She might be one of the few writers who gets away with a lot of telling instead of showing. Break those rules, Iris!
Another writer not everyone can embrace, Munro writes short stories which she describes as a slice of life or about the pain of human contact. She focuses on people, relationships and ordinary lives, often small towns, often revisiting the same characters or themes. Sometimes the story, or our view of the people and events, simply ceases to continue rather than any sort of dramatic ending. Just like real life. There is no academic debate as to whether she is any good, but she is not everyone's taste.
I love Alice for her great success with the short story in a culture that prefers novels. I love the glimpses into lives and the very ordinary people coping with what comes their way. Her style is deceptively simple, which I greatly admire and rather hope I also can achieve.
This woman is possibly my idol. A brilliant writer, speaker, feminist, environmentalist, essayist, and poet among other things, I just find myself wanting to either be her or marry her. She makes it all look so easy yet never undermining her obvious intelligence in the process. It must be added that anyone who writes a poem that includes the lines "Cat, enough of your greedy whining and your small pink bumhole. Off my face!" has my attention.
I love Margaret for her intelligence and her talent, her versatility and clever, novel plots and her wit. I love that she wrote a Home Economics Opera while in high school, that she considered being an artist or a scientist instead of a writer, and pretty much everything she says is riveting. I believe her to be one of the few writers I admire as a person just as much as I admire her work.
Just a few of my favourite quotes:
''I feel that the task of criticizing my poetry is best left to others
(i.e. critics) and would much rather have it take place after I am dead.
If at all.''
''Everyone thinks writers must know more about the inside of the human
head, but that is wrong. They know less, that's why they write. Trying
to find out what everyone else takes for granted.''
''If a stranger taps you on the ass and says, "How's the little lady
today!" you will probably cringe. But if he's an American, he's only
Margaret Atwood Poems and quotes
How is it that I relate to the words of an African American woman twice my age? At first I might be tempted to say it is because we are both women but I think more is due to her talent for beautiful, precise language which makes such a clear mental picture for the reader. When you read a poem by Maya Angelou you are her. With clear, simple yet powerful language she makes her point and tells her stories.
I am a reader who reads for the writing style as much as for the content. I look for poetry and philosophy in what I read. A cracking good story can be a pleasure but if I am touched, moved by the writing and the depth of the content the book is a treasure forever. Sometimes cake is nice but I want the nourishment of a good, hearty stew most of the time.