Sunday, June 7, 2009

TSS - At least I'm thinking about reading

Good morning, readers!  As the school year is winding down, the end-of-the-year activities are in full swing.  This week we've had a concert, awards banquet, and the first graduation parties of the season.  It almost goes without saying, but there hasn't been much  reading going on.  However, I have been thinking about reading.  In particular, I've been thinking about authors I have 'discovered' over the course of the school year.  Here are ten authors whose work I have sampled and want to spend more time with. 

Tobias Wolff
Old School, featuring literature and loss of innocence, is set in a New England prep school in the 1960's.  
Next:  This Boy's Life, a memoir, or a short story collection.  Wolff is probably best known for his stories.

Colm Toibin is my most recent discovery.  I just finished listening to Brooklyn and was totally captivated!  
Next: I've heard good things about The Blackwater Lightship and The Master.  Both are on my tbr list.

W. Somerset Maugham
The Painted Veil was one of my favorite books of 2008.   The character of Kitty Fane is not easily forgotten.
Next:  Of Human Bondage? The Razor's Edge?

Emile Zola
Therese Raquin will surely be on my list of favorites this year. It paints a fascinating psychological portrait of lovers who commit a horrible crime in order to be together.
Next:  ???  I don't know much about Zola's work and welcome any suggestions.

Alan Bennett
Next: The Clothes They Stood Up In - I've decided to try the audio version.

T.C. Boyle
The Tortilla Curtain was another favorite of 2008.  Set in California, this novel put very real faces on both sides of the illegal immigrant question.
Next:   The Road to Wellville, a short story collection, or his new novel The Women

John Cheever
The Wapshot Chronicle, the saga of the Wapshot family of New England, won the National Book Award in 1958. 
Next: The Wapshot Scandal or his collected stories

Alice Walker
I posted about "Everyday Use" a couple of weeks ago for Short Story Monday.
Next:  The Color Purple, of course

Tillie Olsen
I stumbled across Olsen's story  "I Stand Here Ironing"  in the Norton Book of American Short Stories and wrote a Short Story Monday post about it.
Next:  Tell Me A Riddle

Cynthia Ozick
I read her story, "The Shawl", in The Best American Short Stories of the Century.  It was a very short, brutal story set in a Nazi concentration camp.
Next: I brought The Shawl home from the library last  week. It pairs the title story with a novella that picks up the same character living in Florida thirty years later.  Her novel, Heir to the Glimmering World is near the top of my tbr pile.

I'll also mention Sebastian Barry here.  I've recently started The Secret Scripture and, after just 50 pages, I know this an an author I will come back to.

So, there you have it - my new authors of the school year.  Of course, there are countless others 'discovered' earlier that I've yet to get back to.  And the many authors still on my tbr list?  We won't even go there...

What authors have you discovered this year?


  1. I was drawn to your post by the captivating title - I can certainly relate! I LOVED this idea for a post - and have added some new authors to my TBR list as a result.

    Enjoy all the end-of-the-school year festivities.

  2. I am with seems I am thinking more about reading than actually getting as much done as I would like. Like Molly, I love this idea...showing how one book leads to another. This year, thanks to Nan, I read Hazel Holt for the first time which has lead to her biography of Barbara Pym being on my tbr list, as well as more Sheila Mallory mysteries. Alan Bennett's Uncommon Reader also lead me to read The Clothes They Stood Up In (as well as Darlene's mention of it) and now I have his Writing Home on my nightstand. Reading Tortilla Curtain was like being on the emotional roller coaster of a reader's lifetime. That is one book that has stayed with me. It was so frustrating how the couple could never get ahead. I am going to have to check out Toibin. I have been coming across his name a lot lately. Great post.

  3. Great list, there's some there I need to check out further. I've got Brooklyn sitting on my shelf. I'm anxious to read it now.

  4. The Diary of a Provincial Lady by EM Delafield, purchased last August, opened up a whole new world for me. That discovery cascaded into the whole world of Persephone Books and Barbara Pym. I've been looking for books like these my whole life and didn't know it. Does that make any sense?

  5. I was also led to "The Clothes They Stood Up In" after reading "An Uncommon Reader". Bennett's books have an old-fashioned tone to them that I like.

  6. What a lovely post. I love this idea ... authors you want to spend more time with! They are like "friends" aren't they? And what a lovely collection of "friends" you have.

  7. Molly - It's funny, but thinking about reading was the only thing happening last week! I sometimes feel overwhelmed as my list of books and authors to read just keeps growing. Making a list makes me feel like I've accomplished something ;-)

    BookPsmith - I thought this would be something every reader could relate to! Hazel Holt is on my list thanks to Nan, too. Reading Tortilla Curtain was like being on a roller coaster - such an emotionally intense book. Have you read anything else by Boyle? I keep hearing that Tortilla Curtain is his best. Now I can't wait to read more of Colm Toibin's work. Oh well, so much for reading plans...

  8. Dar - Read Brooklyn...soon! I hope to get a review done by the end of the week.

    Darlene - It makes perfect sense!! Miss Pettigrew was my first Persephone. After reading your review, I put Someone at a Distance on hold at the library. I'm finally next on the list, so it shouldn't be much longer.

  9. Dani - I'll be starting The Clothes They Stood Up In tomorrow. If the tone is anything like The Uncommon Reader, then I'm sure to love it! Thanks for stopping by.

    Jenners - Authors do begin to feel like friends, don't they? My list has been growing very quickly (maybe a bit too quickly!) since I started blogging, but what fun it has been! Thanks for visiting!

  10. I read The Road to Wellville which I thought was an interesting book as far as how crazy health crazes can get but I remember it feeling like it would never end. Mixed feelings about that one. I liked Drop City and I have read a few of his short stories which I thought were very good except for one that was about got very weird. I wish I could remember the name. I have been wanting to check out The Women, so if you do read it, I look forward to seeing if you like it.

  11. BookPsmith - I remember bringing Drop City home from the library when it first came out. The twins must have been 9 or so at the time and the cover created such a stir that I had to take it back to the library unread! I think they're well past 'that age' now - lol!

  12. Oh, what a great list! I read Old School last year too and really liked it. But his memoir is even better.

    Terese Raquine did make me want to read more Zola. I loved it. Here is my short review.

  13. Rose City Reader,
    If Wolff's memoir is better, then I'm even more anxious to read it! Thanks for directing me to your review. I had no idea Therese Raquin was Zola's first novel. I'm looking forward to reading more of his work, but there is so much to choose from!

  14. Diane,
    I loved it, too! Can you recommend any of his other books?

  15. You've got a beautiful pile here! I have enjoyed Old School, The Painted Veil (one of the all0time favorites), Brooklyn, and The Uncommon Reader. The rest are *all* on my TBR pile! Hope you enjoy reading them!

  16. Hi Matt,
    These are all books that I've read (except The Shawl) and loved. I want to read more of all of these authors...if you have any recommendations, I'd really welcome them!

  17. What a lovely post.

    Some of the books mentioned are ones I have been wanting to read and you reminded me that I have been wanting to read "The Shawl" for years but have never been able to find a copy (I have now added the American short story collection to my wishlist).

    Therese Raquin I am currently waiting to arrive. It will be my first Zola.

    Tortilla Curtain I have had on the shelf for some time; I really enjoyed Drop City.

    The Uncommon Reader I discovered last month and loved. I want to read Alan Bennett's play The History Boys now.

  18. I hope you enjoy The Uncommon Reader. I loved it :) The Tortilla Curtain and The Wapshot Chronicle are ones I'm also interested in reading. Love Boyle and Cheever's stories, but I have yet to read their novels.

    My favourite author discovery of the year so far is Sarah Waters. Where had she been all my life?!

  19. Paperback Reader - It sounds like we have similar taste in books! I hope you enjoy Therese Raquin as much as I did. Drop City will probably be my next Boyle. I was thinking about Bennett's play, too. I've got The Clothes They Stood Up In on audio, and it's very good so far!

    Nymeth - Yeah, Sarah Waters! Fingersmith was such a page-turner and I really liked The NIght Watch, too. I'm sure there will be more short stories by Cheever and Boyle in my tbr pile soon. Thanks for visiting!

  20. I was also impressed by Old School (I especially liked the Ann Rand section), and must read some more Woolf soon.

    Re Zola, I'd recommend The Ladies' Paradise, which is about a Parisian department store and its owner, employees and customers and is great fun.

  21. Sarah,
    Thank you for the Zola recommendation! That's the first one I've received. A Parisian department store does sound like fun...I'll definitely look for it.

    I found Wolff's memoir, This Boy's Life, at a library book sale and I'm looking forward to reading it soon. Thanks for the stopping by.


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