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Digging deeper into an author's body of work

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message 1: by Claude S (new)

Claude S | 200 comments Seems like I've read one novel from several writers, but rarely have I read somebody's entire catalogue.

I'd like to read more Walker Percy, Flannery O'Conner, Toni Morrison and Saul Bellow.

Any recommendations among those writers?


message 2: by William (new)

William (acknud) Sorry...I don't know those. I have been hammering through John Sanford and enjoy his stuff.


message 3: by Muzzlehatch (new)

Muzzlehatch | 168 comments There are a whole bunch of writers that I'd like to some day "complete", including Morrison (have read 5 of her novels), Faulkner (7 I think), Philip K Dick (10). Those are the three that come to mind first.

Also a couple of really obscure writers: Mervyn Peake (I've read the 'Gormenghast' trilogy but not his other novel nor much of his poetry), William Hope Hodgson (early 20th C writer of weird SF and sea stories) and David Lindsay (his 'Voyage to Arcturus' has to be one of the 10 great SF novels of all time; the rest of his work is not even close to the same level, but I've read half of it so might as well finish it off).

And in the really, really long term, HG Wells, who was the first writer I really fell in love with. 52 novels, over 1000 pages of short stories, and significantly more nonfiction. Doubt I'll ever get to all the NF, but I would love to get through all the fiction. He's such a neglected writer today; I suspect that if I ever do go back to school, Wells will be one of my studies.


message 4: by Brandon (new)

Brandon (bbbrr) | 18 comments From your list, I'd say O'Connor would be the easiest to cover. She died so young, that her body of work is rather small. Short stories were her strongest style, so I'd devour the collected short stories. As far as her novels go, Wise Blood is the best, and a rather quick read.


message 5: by Willblake (new)

Willblake | 1 comments I haven't read enough of any of those to suggest one over another. However, I've long been a fan of, as Muzzlehatch says, working to complete the catalogs of favorite authors. There are a few authors whose works I have invested in whenever I can: Hunter Thompson, John McPhee, Billy Collins, Edwin Way Teale, Faulkner, T.S. Arthur, and at one time Steven King. I've never regretted digging deeply into an author's catalog - then again, when it comes to books I'm a bit of a pack rat.


message 6: by Muzzlehatch (new)

Muzzlehatch | 168 comments John McPhee -- that's a pretty big undertaking. I regret to say I've read nothing by him. What might you suggest?


message 7: by Vanessa (new)

Vanessa The only Toni Morrison I've read is Beloved, which is quite good. But that could likely be the same novel you've already read.

I agree with the previous poster that "Wise Blood" is Flannery's best novel. Novella, really. It often comes in a collection with "Everything that Rises Must Converge" and "The Violent Bear it Away."

For Saul Bellow, I liked "More Die of Heartbreak" although I hear it is more for people who are already Bellow fans. But it sounds like you qualify : )


message 8: by Claude S (new)

Claude S | 200 comments I've read Wise Blood and Beloved. Those are my two forays into O'Connor and Morrison. I guess I have read a bunch of O'Connor's short stories as well.

As for Bellow, I've only read Henderson the Rain King, which I loved. I'll try More Die of Heartbreak. I like his style.

I also want to get into Charles Williams. I've started one of his books, but got distracted. I know muzzlehatch has read a lot of his work.


message 9: by Frank (new)

Frank Hays (logicalfrank) | 40 comments Right now, I am really working towards getting the best grasp I can on Philip K. Dick's stuff. I've read his entire collected short stories. (He did not really think of himself as a short story writer and just wrote them for money, I think, but I simply could not get enough. I will probably reread them all w/in a few years. I've gotten a good handful of his novels down too. I need to finish up the VALIS trilogy and have a couple more famous ones yet to read.

The only other author I'm very interested in now is Theodore Sturgeon. Have a couple of novels and a volume of short stories down. Unlike Dick, he was a short story writer by trade and that is definitely where I'm gonna focus my efforts.

Other than that, I've read pretty much everything by Vonnegut at this point but who hasn't?


message 10: by Muzzlehatch (new)

Muzzlehatch | 168 comments Astonishingly/pathetically, I haven't read any Vonnegut, at least I haven't finished any. Very weird, as Twain is one of my favorite writers, I love both SF and satire, and so many people have pushed Vonnegut at me, but for some reason...

I've read just a little Sturgeon, few short stories years ago. Don't remember 'em really.

I've been trying (very slowly) to go through Dick's novels chronologically; it's not really easy to do as the sequence is pretty confused and there are still a few of them that aren't in print or aren't easy to get -- and I'm skipping a lot of the mainstream stuff that was unpublished at the time of his death. May get to it some day. Even his earliest stuff like 'Solar Lottery' is impressive, and by the mid-60s he was definitely on all cylinders. The last one I read, 'Martian Time-Slip' I don't think is generally regarded as one of the very best, but it might be my favorite so far. Very, very good all the way through but a little -- ordinary -- and then there's this incredible curve ball and you get to the end with your brain just exploding.


message 11: by grantonio (new)

grantonio | 24 comments I haven't read any Vonnegut either; in fact, I just added Slaughterhouse five to my to-read list before looking at this. It was checked out at the library last time I went. Maybe I should just buy it. :)

One of those unfathomable things for which I have no real excuse. Don't most people have to read one of them in high school or college at least? I have listened to several of his interviews though - those were quite interesting. Smart guy.


message 12: by Muzzlehatch (new)

Muzzlehatch | 168 comments Yeah I've read interviews with him and read a fair bit ABOUT him when he died; I think in my case it may come down to age -- I'm old enough that I went to school at a time when he wasn't generally on many required reading lists. And I had a terrible high school, we would have never read anything as controversial or "difficult" as Vonnegut. Plus I've just not read a lot of contemporary American lit to begin with, for whatever reason. It was never something I was interested in specializing in at school, and I tend towards old weird English fantasy and sf on my own, always have.


message 13: by Frank (new)

Frank Hays (logicalfrank) | 40 comments I had a roommate who was way into Vonnegut and owned like eight of his books. I ran out of stuff of my own to read and picked one up and ended up reading all of them over the course of one summer. He is just ridiculously easy to read. My favorite is probably Mother Night. It is maybe a little darker and more subtle than how he tends to write. (Good movie too.)


message 14: by Claude S (new)

Claude S | 200 comments I've read a lot of faulkner... favorite is Light in August for some reason


message 15: by Jacob (new)

Jacob | 17 comments For Toni Morrison, I'd reccommend Song of Solomon, The Bluest Eye, and Tar Baby. I really enjoyed all of those.


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