Bloganuary #21

Who is your favourite author and why?

Now that is a difficult one, because I love all books. However, here are just a few from my different ages.

When I started to read books avidly, as I have already explained I started by reading all the classics that my mother had as a child (all hardbacks) – “Heidi”, “Watership Down”, “The Secret Garden” & one of my favourites was “The Little Prince” by Sant Exupery (an allegory describing one person on a small planet with only a rose as a friend). Whether I particularly liked this story because I was an only child I don’t know, but it just appealed to me and I still think that it is a lovely story.

In my teens I was very much taken by German & French authors, my favourite being the book “A Glass Bead Game” by Herman Hesse, which was just so different. I actually have read almost all of Herman Hesse’s works. I tried Thomas Mann, which was OK, but I never really got into his style (or rather that of his and the translator’s style). I also should mention “The Plague” by Albert Camus and “Metamorphosis” by Franz Kafka. For fun I loved the stories of ‘Archy and Mehitabel’ by Don Marquis, which was such a great concept.

Moving swiftly into my late teens, early 20s I moved onto Russian literature – particularly Tolstoy and Dostoevsky. One of my greatest achievements (whilst supposedly working in the aerodynamics department of my first employer – an R&D Laboratories) was the fact that I managed to read the whole of “War and Peace” in between the occasional visits to their ‘turbocharger test rig’ (where I’m sure my only role was to sit in the glass control room and be ready to hit the emergency stop button if things went wrong) and tidying up all of their cupboards which were real mess. I had just left school, had not even started my engineering degree and the work that was being done was just ‘way over my head’.

In my 30s, I discovered the ‘weird’ and sometimes beautiful world of Japanese literature. My favourite author even to this day is Haruki Murakami and I have read and am still reading almost everything that he has published and is still publishing. The style of Japanese authors is really different and it’s unique aspects greatly appeal to my sense of liking things that are different. In the last few years I have become much more aware of how important the translators are for these foreign works and why they deserve a mention alongside the author. I have noticed this particularly with regard to Murakami’s works and although the basic stories of the same, I admit to preferring one translator over another.

You may have noticed the lack of English language authors and I have never really liked the classics by those such as Charles Dickens, Thomas Hardy et al. However, I do read a lot of science-fiction and other genres (lots of which I have found out from my US contacts have been banned from being taught in certain states of the USA, which is great shame. Yes, some of the authors are no longer considered “politically correct” and/or are considered to encourage undesirable behaviour by those in the political elite. However, I think that people should be allowed to read everything and/or anything and be trusted to make up their own mind about how they interpret what has been written.

So, I don’t have a favourite author / book. I just love reading and the books that I have named above are really just a very small selection of my reading material. I haven’t even bothered to mention all the non-fiction works that I thoroughly enjoy.



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