Author Topic: Your Top 10 Favorite Writers  (Read 1694 times)

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Offline San Antone

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Re: Your Top 10 Favorite Writers
« Reply #20 on: February 12, 2018, 02:56:05 AM »
Boccaccio

Yep - yesterday I brought out my copy of the Decameron (also Moby Dick); some reading for later this year.

Offline Brian

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Re: Your Top 10 Favorite Writers
« Reply #21 on: February 12, 2018, 09:35:14 AM »
I forgot a couple: Mark Twain and Harry Stephen Keeler. Twain needs no explanation, but Keeler needs lots.

Keeler is one of the most flagrantly, grotesquely bad writers in published history, but he has such a sense of fun, such a keen eye for the bizarre and flamboyant, that his badness is deliciously funny. Well, uh, most of the time, anyway. At his worst, he is impenetrable. At his best he reaches a sort of bizarre authorial other dimension where you can't tell what's bad and what's good anymore, where down is up and up is down, where the most ludicrous syntax spirals into stupid transcendent beauty ("He's persiflageous, Sarge!") ("O'Rourke paused belligerently."), where the most appalling plot twists can be more thrilling in their nonsensical glee than anything in Agatha Christie. At times, even his 1930s racism comes close to endearing (he wrote cringe-inducing accented dialogue, but sincerely believed that all races must intermarry to achieve world peace).

Reading the worst/best Keeler novels - notably The Riddle of the Traveling Skull, Finger! Finger!, Behind That Mask, and The Sharkskin Book (which contains arguably the most jaw-dropping twist ending in all of literature) - I feel a sort of glee, a feeling of liberation because every single rule of good writing is being smashed to little bits.

Here is the first chapter to a representative Keeler novel. I doubt more than 1 of you will get through it, but that 1 person may find a new perennial source of amusement. Or may never take a recommendation from me again.


Offline Christo

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Re: Your Top 10 Favorite Writers
« Reply #22 on: February 12, 2018, 12:10:23 PM »
like Mikhail Bulgakov, Flannery O'Connor, Andrei Platonov,
Other faves, but I read too little of each of them to dare to mention them.
… music is not only an `entertainment’, nor a mere luxury, but a necessity of the spiritual if not of the physical life, an opening of those magic casements through which we can catch a glimpse of that country where ultimate reality will be found.    RVW, 1948

Offline Josquin13

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Re: Your Top 10 Favorite Writers
« Reply #23 on: February 12, 2018, 02:12:55 PM »
1. Shakespeare, by any other name.
2. Moliere, whose plays, when expertly done, are wonderful, & darkly humorous--my second favorite playwright after the Bard.
3. Dante
4. Chekhov
5. Austen
6. Dostoyevsky--especially for "The Brothers Karamasov".
7. T.S. Eliot--especially his brilliantly imaginative "Four Quartets", which are the finest poems written in the past 100 years or so, in my estimation (though I like certain poems by Yeats too, such as "Sailing to Byzantium", etc.).
8. Evelyn Waugh--I particularly enjoy Waugh's prose style, and he makes me laugh. "Brideshead Revisited" is a beautiful book.
9. John Kennedy Toole--easily my favorite American novelist.  It's difficult to be a genius in America.  So sad.  I'd say the Cervantes of the 20th century.
10. Alexandre Dumas (or the plays of Calderon de la Barca, who I originally had as my tenth, before I changed to Dumas)

Honorable mentions--Marlowe, Jonson, Michael Drayton (poems), Nashe, Cervantes, Goldsmith, Balzac, Dickens, Gogol, Keats, Forster, Trollope, Tennessee Williams, Hugo, Baudelaire, Shaw, Rilke, & I remember liking Thomas Mann, Lord Tennyson, and Ibsen in college.  Surprisingly, I've never read Proust or Flaubert.

Among non-fiction books, which I see as a separate category, in recent years, I've especially enjoyed scholarly books by Frances Yates, Hilary Gatti, and Charles Nicholl.  I've also liked Robert Alter's translations (& expert commentary) of Old Testament books.

Among contemporary writers, I've most liked playwrights Tom Stoppard, David Edgar (especially his play "Pentecost"), Christopher Hampton, and Brian Friel (especially his play "Translations").  Those four are the finest contemporary writers I've come across.  I've also liked the plays of the late Sam Sheppard, and the comic novels of the late Peter DeVries.  But I don't read enough contemporary fiction.



« Last Edit: February 12, 2018, 02:27:55 PM by Josquin13 »

Offline ritter

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Re: Your Top 10 Favorite Writers
« Reply #24 on: February 13, 2018, 12:33:25 AM »
Let's see:

French novel:
1) Marcel Proust
2) Marguerite Duras
French poetry and/or drama:
3) Paul Verlaine
4) Stéphane Mallarmé
5) Paul Claudel
German novel:
6) Hermann Broch
English poetry:
7) T.S. Eliot
English novel:
8) Lawrence Durrell
Spanish-language poetry and prose:
9) Jorge Luis Borges
10) Jaime Gil de Biedma

And there's a huge list of runner-ups, of course..


Ritter
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”Sólo lo difícil es estimulante; sólo la resistencia que nos reta, es capaz de enarcar, suscitar y mantener nuestra potencia de conocimiento”.

Offline Florestan

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Re: Your Top 10 Favorite Writers
« Reply #25 on: February 13, 2018, 01:26:00 AM »
That's really tough. I'll keep to 2 per country / region and exclude Romanians, whose names wouldn't probably ring many bells to you. In bold the winners, in brackets the runners up.

Russia: Dostoievsky, Solzhenitsyn (Tolstoy, Tchekhov)
France: Hugo, Baudelaire (Balzac, Saint-Exupery)
England: Dickens, Joseph Conrad (Lewis Carroll, David Lodge)
Germany / German-language: Hermann Hesse, Thomas Mann (ETA Hoffmann, Joseph Roth)
Spain: Cervantes, Becquer (Unamuno, Pio Baroja)
USA: Poe, Steinbeck (Hemingway, Fitzgerald)
Latin America: Vargas Llosa, Garcia Marquez (Alejo Carpentier, Borges)

and two honorable mentions: Alessandro Manzoni, Henryk Sienkiewicz.

Sorry, I couldn't trim it to just 10.



"The score is not a bible, and I am never afraid to dare. The music is behind those dots." - Vladimir Horowitz

Offline Josquin13

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Re: Your Top 10 Favorite Writers
« Reply #26 on: February 15, 2018, 07:06:06 PM »
I can't believe that I forgot about Henry James when I made my top 10 list.   He's probably my favorite American novelist these days; though I suppose the Brits could claim him too?, along with T.S. Eliot, since both writers lived in England for many years.

Offline bwv 1080

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Re: Your Top 10 Favorite Writers
« Reply #27 on: February 15, 2018, 09:16:10 PM »
What correlation is there between the musical periods you listen to and the periods of literature you read?

I am probably even more of a literary than musical modernist,  I listen to alot of early 19th century music, but you couldnt pay me to read the stodgy novels from the period. Nobody here listed Jean Paul, ETA Hoffman, Stendhal etc on their top ten, but the composers who were their contempories, and in many cases, inspirations, would be on most of our top ten composer lists
Cogito cogito ergo cogito sum

Offline BasilValentine

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Re: Your Top 10 Favorite Writers
« Reply #28 on: February 15, 2018, 09:38:21 PM »
Rather than favorites I'll list some who, over the years, I've felt compelled to read comprehensively:
William Gaddis
Cormac McCarthy
Mikhail Bulgakov
Dostoyevsky
Tolstoy
Hugo
Conrad
Balzac
Tolkien

Offline vandermolen

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Re: Your Top 10 Favorite Writers
« Reply #29 on: February 15, 2018, 11:35:06 PM »
Dickens
Orwell
Saint-Exupery
Dostoevsky
Tolstoy
Evelyn Waugh
Herman Hesse
Tolkien
A. Anatoli (Kuznetsov)
Somerset Maugham
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

Offline Jo498

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Re: Your Top 10 Favorite Writers
« Reply #30 on: February 16, 2018, 12:35:30 AM »
What correlation is there between the musical periods you listen to and the periods of literature you read?

I am probably even more of a literary than musical modernist,  I listen to alot of early 19th century music, but you couldnt pay me to read the stodgy novels from the period. Nobody here listed Jean Paul, ETA Hoffman, Stendhal etc on their top ten,
Hoffmann is anything but stodgy. Most of his prose are fairly short novellas and they are arch-romantic, psychologically subtle ("The sandman" reads like a Freudian nightmare) sometimes satirical, witty caricatures of contemporary early bourgeois society as well as gothic, sometimes close to "weird tales" even. And there is one of the first and most brilliant crime novellas of history ("Madame de Scudery" or "Cardillac") And his most famous novel is basically postmodern. It is overall a fragment as well as fragmentary in nature, namely a "double biography" of Kapellmeister Kreisler and his preposterous tomcat Murr (the latter being mostly biting satire).
One does not have to like that stuff, of course, but Hoffmann has hardly anything in common with one's "typical" 19th century novel.

But to the point: I don't think there is a strong correlation between music and literature preferences. Music is perceived as more timeless than literature by most people and I think that this is to some extent true.
(I also enjoy far more literature between middlebrow and bordering on the "trashy", e.g. SF/Fantasy, Whodunnits while shunning most comparable music. So for whatever reason I seem to have a more refined taste in music than in literature.)
Struck by the sounds before the sun,
I knew the night had gone.
The morning breeze like a bugle blew
Against the drums of dawn.
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Offline GioCar

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Re: Your Top 10 Favorite Writers
« Reply #31 on: February 16, 2018, 01:52:47 AM »
10 among the dead:
Dante Alighieri
William Shakespeare
Fyodor Dostoyevsky
Mikhail Bulgakov
Franz Kafka
Thomas Mann
Dino Buzzati
Gabriel García Márquez
David Foster Wallace
Marguerite Yourcenar

10 among the living:
Jón Kalman Stefánsson
Muramaki Aruki
Stephen King
Daniel Pennac
Alessandro Baricco
Amos Oz
Éric-Emmanuel Schmitt
Don DeLillo
Jonathan Coe
Jostein Gaarder

I have never read Cervantes  :-[ :-[....






Offline Florestan

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Re: Your Top 10 Favorite Writers
« Reply #32 on: February 16, 2018, 01:53:02 AM »
Nobody here listed Jean Paul, ETA Hoffman, Stendhal etc on their top ten,

Ken B nominated Stendhal, yours truly nominated ETA Hoffmann as a runner up. Both are far from being stodgy.

Hoffmann is anything but stodgy. Most of his prose are fairly short novellas and they are arch-romantic, psychologically subtle ("The sandman" reads like a Freudian nightmare) sometimes satirical, witty caricatures of contemporary early bourgeois society as well as gothic, sometimes close to "weird tales" even. And there is one of the first and most brilliant crime novellas of history ("Madame de Scudery" or "Cardillac") And his most famous novel is basically postmodern. It is overall a fragment as well as fragmentary in nature, namely a "double biography" of Kapellmeister Kreisler and his preposterous tomcat Murr (the latter being mostly biting satire).
One does not have to like that stuff, of course, but Hoffmann has hardly anything in common with one's "typical" 19th century novel.

Amen, brother!

Quote
But to the point: I don't think there is a strong correlation between music and literature preferences. Music is perceived as more timeless than literature by most people and I think that this is to some extent true.
(I also enjoy far more literature between middlebrow and bordering on the "trashy", e.g. SF/Fantasy, Whodunnits while shunning most comparable music. So for whatever reason I seem to have a more refined taste in music than in literature.)

Looks like we're twins separated at birth.  :D

"The score is not a bible, and I am never afraid to dare. The music is behind those dots." - Vladimir Horowitz

Offline Florestan

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Re: Your Top 10 Favorite Writers
« Reply #33 on: February 16, 2018, 01:55:50 AM »
Muramaki Aruki Murakami Haruki

FTFY.

Quote
Alessandro Baricco

Ocean Sea is a masterpiece.
"The score is not a bible, and I am never afraid to dare. The music is behind those dots." - Vladimir Horowitz

Offline Florestan

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Re: Your Top 10 Favorite Writers
« Reply #34 on: February 16, 2018, 01:57:05 AM »
I knew I forgot someone: Umberto Eco.
"The score is not a bible, and I am never afraid to dare. The music is behind those dots." - Vladimir Horowitz

Offline GioCar

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Re: Your Top 10 Favorite Writers
« Reply #35 on: February 16, 2018, 01:58:08 AM »

Offline DaveF

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Re: Your Top 10 Favorite Writers
« Reply #36 on: February 16, 2018, 04:00:49 AM »
William Faulkner
PG Wodehouse

Two wonderfully diverse bedfellows, but agree entirely.  Also about Ishiguro.

Gide, anyone?  Gide is good, as Gordon Gekko said.
"Just because I like something, it doesn't mean it's any good."

Offline Artem

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Re: Your Top 10 Favorite Writers
« Reply #37 on: February 16, 2018, 10:08:12 AM »
Thomas Mann
Franz Kafka
Thomas Bernhard
Julio Cortazar
Roberto Bolano
Robert Walser
Italo Svevo
Marcel Proust
Dezso Kosztolányi
Leonardo Sciascia

Online Alberich

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Re: Your Top 10 Favorite Writers
« Reply #38 on: February 16, 2018, 10:28:43 AM »
Sorry, Sir Arthur, you'll have to go in favor of Mark Twain.
"Javert, though frightful, had nothing ignoble about him. Probity, sincerity, candor, conviction, the sense of duty, are things which may become hideous when wrongly directed; but which, even when hideous, remain grand."

- Victor Hugo

Offline Ken B

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Re: Your Top 10 Favorite Writers
« Reply #39 on: February 16, 2018, 11:29:27 AM »
What correlation is there between the musical periods you listen to and the periods of literature you read?

I am probably even more of a literary than musical modernist,  I listen to alot of early 19th century music, but you couldnt pay me to read the stodgy novels from the period. Nobody here listed Jean Paul, ETA Hoffman, Stendhal etc on their top ten, but the composers who were their contempories, and in many cases, inspirations, would be on most of our top ten composer lists

Maupassant wrote mostly short stories, and they are anything but stodgy!
Give a man a fire and he is warm for a day. Set a man on fire and he is warm for life.