Friday, 30 November 2007

Booking through Thursday

This week's question:

Do you get on a roll when you read, so that one book leads to the next, which leads to the next, and so on and so on? I don’t so much mean something like reading a series from beginning to end, but, say, a string of books that all take place in Paris. Or that have anthropologists as the main character. Or were written in the same year. Something like that… Something that strings them together in your head, and yet, otherwise could be different genres, different authors…

I have done that, especially when I find an author whose work I really like. Barbara Kingsolver, Ian McEwan, Maggie O'Farrell, Jhumpa Lahiri, Carol Shields are some recent series I remember. I had to spread out the Ian Rankins — sometimes they were so gritty and bleak that after three or four I yearned for a little light in between.

I turned my good friend Susan in Melbourne on to Dorothy L. Sayers' Lord Peter Wimsey novels many years ago, and she in turn introduced me to Margery Allingham's Albert Campion. We both read them all, straight through. Years earlier it had been Agatha Christie, and the Cadfael Chronicles by Ellis Peters. Those authors tended to be prolific, and consistent, and once I enjoyed one, I was hungry for the rest — and oh! what joy to discover there were lots of them!

I've also enjoyed one non-author series: the Jhumpa Lahiri* books led me to read anything dealing with the Indian migrant experience in the US and the UK, and I read many wonderful novels on that theme, which remains a favourite. And in turn, that has led to choosing novels dealing with any kind of migration/re-location ... it's been great.

*Is JL's 'The Namesake' a good movie? I'm so scared it won't be ...


Karen said...

Mm, yes, the Indian migrant experience. That rings a bell. There's also a whole bunch of "nisei" novels, about the experiences of second generation migrants, Japanese, Chinese, Indian etc. I've also read a raft of war diaries; and Bloomsbury autobiographies, biographies, novels and commentaries; and occasionally you find a particular thematic thread, such as novels about artistic stuff, and you read Siri Hustvedt's works, and - oh bugger, I've forgotten the names! - one about a work of art that was stolen, and one by Michael Frayne (?), and a couple about constructed miniatures (Michael Brickhill?); and of course all the Jewish lit: Chaim Potok and Philip Roth and the rest. So, on a roll? Of course. I just wish my memory could jump on.

gautami tripathy said...

I did not Like "Namesake". The movie is even worse. It is my personal opinion though!

reading room

Lazy cow said...

The Michael Frayn book Karen mentioned is called "Headlong" and I found it fascinating. I found it after seeing his play "Noises Off", which led me to "Spies", "Headlong" and several of his other books.
When I was younger I'd read everything by an author upon discovering them. Now I get more easily bored by the same style, and tend to ration myself. I'm going through a second generation migrant phase though: Jhumpa Lahiri; Monica Ali; and Alice Pung (Unpolished Gem).