As this will be my 50th blog entry, I thought I would succumb to some list writing – in this case my 50 favourite authors. Now I haven’t prepared this list in advance, although I have of course given it some thought, so who knows if I will get to 50?
- Shakespeare. Of course.
- Stella Gibbons – see earlier blogs for some fan mail.
- Mervyn Peake, the stunningly brilliant author of the Gormenghast trilogy
- George Orwell. Never wrote an uninteresting word. If you have read 1984 and Animal Farm, and chances are you have, try the essays or journalism, or even the much under-appreciated (including by GO himself) minor novels such as Burmese Days, Coming Up for Air, or Keep the Aspidistra Flying.
- Raymond Chandler – see blog entry 49.
- Anthony Burgess – best known for Clockwork Orange, but I have a real soft spot for the Enderby novels – really funny. There is a scene where Enderby, the poet, cooks spaghetti carbonara badly – doesn’t sound funny I know but try it.
- Kingsley Amis – 95% of which is for Lucky Jim of course.
- Evelyn Waugh – try “The Loved Ones”.
- Jane Austen – an author you are supposed to like, but I wonder how many people just make do with the TV adaptation? But I genuinely believe she is better on the page, where the subtlety can emerge at it own speed.
- Charles Dickens – I have read all the principal novels many moons ago, but there is so much more to explore.
Ten is enough for now – if I had just these authors and no more I think I could probably rest happy for many years. But ten more tomorrow.