"Why Should I Read...?" Takes Stock
Our second list of books has come to an end. On the sidebar to the left is an entirely subjective list of eighteen books which have changed my life, and each has a mini-essay about why I think it's so good, how each has helped make me the writer I am today, and what others can learn from them.
Such a list is never-ending. As writers we are - or should be - the most voracious of readers. Some of the books on my list have been part of my life for over twenty years, some for only a year or so. We never stop learning, and nor should we. Somewhere out there is the next great book in our lives. (Somewhere out there is The Dog of the North, waiting to belong to someone other than me).
"Why Should I Read...?" is not going to stop at eighteen books. I've spent some time over the past few days thinking of other books and writers I want to share. In no order of merit, over the next few months you can expect to read about: Sherwood Anderson, Honore de Balzac, Alfred Bester, Italo Calvino (trust me on this one), Wilkie Collins, Edmund Cooper, Greg Egan, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Patricia Highsmith, Kazuo Ishiguro, John Foot, Daniel Keyes, Paul Kimmage, Ursula K. Le Guin, George R.R. Martin, Richard Matheson, Philip Pullman, Robert Silverberg, Cordwainer Smith, Jack Vance (again), Barbara Vine, Alison Weir and Emile Zola. I may even chuck in a couple of others. The list is deliberately eclectic, and reflects nothing more than books I've enjoyed. There's a mixture of nationalities, periods and genres. For the first time, we have some short stories on the list. Some of these books have had less obvious influence on me than others, and l'm looking forward to exploring those as I come to them.
::Acquired Taste is not a democracy; blogs are, by their nature, monuments to the ego and vanity of their creators. Any service they provide to the public is far outweighed by that they provide to themselves. That said, if one of your favourite - or indeed least favourite - authors is on the list, why not let me know. I am happy to allow queue-jumping at my readers' request. The new "Why Should I Read...?" will begin next week.