Friday, 16 November 2018

№ 17 reading list: Author loyalty

№ 17 reading list: Author loyalty

In 1971 Joan Didion wrote an essay on Doris Lessing, beginning with the words: 'To read a great deal of Doris Lessing over a short span of time is to feel that the original hound of heaven has commandeered the attic. She holds the mind's other guests in ardent contempt' (The White Album, p. 119). Intriguing. I will keep her words in mind when I read Martha Quest, the first book of five in the Children of Violence series. My new reading list is somewhat based on author loyalty: Lessing's novels The Grass Is Singing and The Golden Notebook were on list № 7 and on my previous one were books by Didion, Johnson and Baldwin.

№ 17 reading list:
· Martha Quest  by Doris Lessing
· Two Lives  by William Trevor
· Housekeeping  by Marilynne Robinson
· Where I Was From  by Joan Didion *
· Play It as It Lays  by Joan Didion
· The Uncommon Reader  by Alan Bennett
· Jesus' Son  by Denis Johnson
· Nobody Knows My Name  by James Baldwin
· Will You Please Be Quiet, Please?  by Raymond Carver **

* From We Tell Ourselves Stories in Order to Live, published by Everyman's Library. ** From Collected Stories, published by The Library of America.

For the first time I'm reading works by William Trevor and Raymond Carver, and Play It as It Lays is my first fiction by Didion. My next reading list will consist of Japanese literature. I promised the second Japanese list a long time ago and intend to keep that promise soon.

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