Friday, November 11, 2005

Their Best

For the first time in my albeit brief blogging career I am attempting to jump-start a meme all my own. Well, not really all my own since all I've done is take the music meme I stole from Jaquandor a while back and transplanted the rules to authors instead of artists. Consider this an open invite for other bloggers to take this and run with it--and most definitely add their own authors to the mix, since the number of authors I've read multiple works of is woefully small.
Anyway, here are my initial scribes:

Stephen King - It - Probably still my favorite novel of all time. I'’ve read it, all 1,100+ pages of it, six or seven times. The structure is perhaps what impresses me the most, the way King deftly keeps jumping back and forth between the 50s, with kids, and the 80s, with the kids now as adults, all bracketed by the recurring flashbacks to other killings in Derry. The Stand gets noted more often, but to me this is really the ur-King; the epic, overstuffed length; the very knowing treatment of children; the smorgasbord of horror archetypes; and the wonderful characterization that are his trademarks are all here, and in splendid form. Truly a masterpiece.

John Irving - A Prayer for Owen Meany - A haunting novel. The Meany character should just be laughable, what with the all-caps yelling and the exaggerated characterization and the rest of it but it just works.

Barbara Kingsolver - The Poisonwood Bible - Another novel with a different and extremely effective structure. A missionary reverend and his wife take their four daughters to Africa for missionary work. Each chapter is narrated in the first person, present tense by one of the girls. All four get plenty of chapters to narrate, with the whole thing interrupted periodically with third-person, future remembrances from the mother. A powerful novel about religion.

Isaac Asimov - The Robots of Dawn - I've always loved this at-one-point final chapter in the robot books best of all; the robot books in general I always enjoyed much more than the Foundation series, which is of course, wonderful in its own right.

Robert R. McCammon - Swan Song - Sure it's very Stephen King-influenced, but its epic scale and end-of-the-world story stands as a fine complement to King's similarly themed The Stand.

Arthur Miller - Hard to beat Death of a Salesman really.

Terrence McNally - Love! Valour! Compassion! - A heartbreaker of a play that offers, at the same time, real gut-busting laughs. Just some beautiful, very natural writing.

August Wilson - The Piano Lesson - The central stage-prop metaphor of the piano really holds this one together.

Shakespeare - Gotta be Hamlet, really. Mel GibsonÂ’s performance is well worth a look-see if you haven't.

Anyone care to add to the list?

Until Whenever

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