Friday, 10 October 2014

A LIST OF LIVING NOVELISTS WHOSE BOOKS I ALWAYS BUY

Judging from what I have on my bookshelves, these are the living novelists whose books I always buy (if not always read).

Martin Amis
Julian Barnes
William Boyd
Lee Child
Jim Crace
Sebastian Faulks
Robert Harris
Nick Hornby
Howard Jacobson
Milan Kundera
David Lodge
Ian McEwan
James Meek
V.S. Naipaul
Henry Porter
Philip Roth
Tom Wolfe

Not tremendously adventurous, I grant. NO WOMEN. This bothers me somewhat. The botheration is not because I am an ardent feminist - quite obviously I am not.  Rather it is because I have tended to maintain that women make better novelists than men (no-one is as good as Jane Austen, not even the Russians), and yet I don't seem to have any female bankers.  I have read Mantel, like everyone else.  I like Sarah Waters.  J.K. Rowling dominated the years of my early fatherhood. Ann Tyler every now and then. Alison Lurie I like and Francine Prose. But these are not Must Haves. Recommendations would be welcome. (NB Can't stand Atwood.)

4 comments:

  1. Interesting. I definitely go through periods of reading lots of women novelists. Of the ones you mention:
    Austen obvs.
    Alison Lurie I've read most of hers.
    And a couple of Anne Tyler.
    A good test of whether you like someone is 'have you read more than one book by them?'
    So women I've read more than one book of:
    MURIEL SPARK
    ZADIE SMITH
    SUZANNE BERNE
    ROSE TREMAIN
    BERYL BAINBRIDGE
    MOLLY KEANE
    LUCY ELLMAN

    Women I've read on book by but am planning to read more of:
    JENNIFER EGAN
    TALITHA STEVENSON
    CHIMAMANDA ADICHIE

    x

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    Replies
    1. Ah, Sir Adam!
      Well, I made a point of "living". So, I've read almost all of Muriel Spark, a good deal of Mollie Keane, two or three BB, and one Zadie. Missing from your list is the almost perfect Penelope Fitzgerald. Of the living i'll add Monica Ali and Joan Brady. I'm planning on having a go at Marylinne Robinson. Deborah Levy I keep meaning to read. And of course Donna Tartt. I've read the Pat Barker war trilogy. Bumpty bum.
      .

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    2. The above seems to suggest that Zadie Smith is deceased. Which she isn't. She should have gone in with Ali and Brady.

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  2. Rachel Cusk (Outline). Diana Athill (Stet, indeed all of the memoirs). Amanda Craig (A Vicious Circle). Jennifer Egan (A Visit From the Goon Squad). Donna Tartt (The Goldfinch). Siri Hustvedt (What I Loved). My male list is similar to yours, so you will surely like some of these.

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