Thursday, January 10, 2008

Booking Through Thursday meme

This week's meme is a good one!

1. How did you come across your favorite author(s)? Recommended by a friend? Stumbled across at a bookstore? A book given to you as a gift?

2. Was it love at first sight? Or did the love affair evolve over a long acquaintance?

Well, let's see.

Growing up, and during school, I was all about 19c British lit (it was my minor, after all). I read Pride and Prejudice and Jane Eyre first when I was 12ish and read them every year until I started college. And I haven't read either of them since! So I guess I fell out of love with those books and authors. It was a childhood crush.

I love Camus' The Plague, but I wouldn't say I love Camus overall. I read The Plague for a course in undergrad and it completely blew my mind. It was so powerful: the concepts, his ability to set a scene, the humanity. It is a book that shaped a lot of the ways I think about the world and the importance of loving and taking care of people, no matter what you may believe or not believe about spirit or religion. But, I haven't read it since. I haven't fallen out of love per se, but I suppose I have moved on, and have grown, as a result of the relationship. :)

I love the Lord of the Rings trilogy, but frankly the other tales (Simarilion, Children of Hurin) have bored me, so I can't say Tolkien is a favorite author overall. That said, LOTR is one of my favorite series of books, though I came to them very late in the game (after the first movie in 2001). That trilogy was love at first sight, and I've reread them every year since. It's like a dear friend that I get together with once a year, and it feels so lovely and cozy - and reminds me of the bigger and better things we can all aspire to.

Finally, I came to Patrick O'Brian quite late in the game - like many people, after the Master & Commander movie in 2003. I read out of sequence - The Far Side of the World first, but I was hooked and went back and started from the beginning and read all 20 completed books in a row. It was love at first sight. He had an amazing gift for characterization, and for historical scene setting. I feel transported, truly, every time I read the books. I think I'm due for another complete read through. Right now, at least, this feels like a long-term love affair. :)


  1. Anonymous7:35 AM

    As far as Tolkien, have you read The Hobbit? I read the Lord of the Rings books first and am now reading The Hobbit. If I didn't see the name on the cover I would not believe The Hobbit was written by Tolkien, especially in the beginning. The Gandalf from The Hobbit doesn't seem like the Gandalf from LOTR.

    That said, The Hobbit is getting interesting and I'm glad I stuck with it.

    I haven't read Master & Commander and am not sure if I'd like that or not. Maybe?

  2. I did read The Hobbit, and I liked it OK but it didn't grab me the way LOTR did. And the earlier mythos stuff is just incomprehensible to me.

    Master & Commander? It depends on what you like, I suppose. I never EVER would have thought I'd like stories about the British Navy during the Napoleonic wars, but clearly I was wrong! There's lots of military strategy stuff in there, and I felt like I had to take a course just to understand what all the different sails were, but what flies high above all of that is the relationship between Stephen and Jack. The growth arc of both characters, individually and as friends, is astounding over the course of 20 books. They feel very, very real and for me, that's what really makes the books special.

    I forgot to mention a new crush, and that's Naomi Novik and her Temeraire series. British Royal Navy during the Napoleonic wars, with DRAGONS! How could I go wrong? Fun, fun stuff.

  3. Anonymous8:34 AM

    Julie, would you recommend starting with Her Majesty's Dragon? I have some eBook money burning a hole in my pocket and may give this a shot.

  4. Anonymous8:59 AM

    Oh wow, I'd have to think about that one. I'm not even sure whom I'd choose as my "favorite author" these days.

  5. Paul - You can start at any point in the series, really, but it would be good to start with the first one. You really get to understand Temeraire and Laurence's relationship better that way.

    Heather - I can't wait to see your response!

  6. Anonymous9:12 AM

    Interestingly I was listening to a radio programme about Camus last night and realised that the only one of his books that I've read is 'The Plague'. Somehow, after listening to the very learned discussion, I don't think I'll be rushing out to buy any more, but I do remember enjoying that.

  7. TT - I'm with you. What other authors have you found like that? You've really enjoyed one book, but don't enjoy the others?

  8. Anonymous1:17 PM

    A lot of them can just be answered "Fandom" (like Bernard Cornwell and Patrick O'Brian). That's not very interesting. :D But some of my love-at-first-sights...

    -Diana Gabaldon -- stumbled across Outlander in local library at age 14 (was first person to check it out)
    -Lindsey Davis -- saw "One Virgin Too Many" in the Munich Airport, bought it to read on the train
    -Ovid -- translated excerpt of "Metamorphoses" for Latin class
    -Rumi -- kept on nightstand of ex-boyfriend

  9. I think fandom is as valid an entry point as any!

    What made you pick up the Outlander book? Do you recall?

  10. Have not tried the Hobbit books but I have try LOTR book, but never finish it. However seeing the movies was fun! I love it!

    Happy BTTs and hope you've a good days/weekend ahead

  11. LOTR are much different in style from The Hobbit...try it out, you might like it!

    Happy BTT to you!

  12. Anonymous7:29 AM

    (late reply, sry!)

    It was the mention of Scotland. By that age I'd already read all the romance novels in the paperback section and was forced to start perusing the general hardcover population. :D That was where I found it. It looked like it could offer more than standard genre romance, and it did.