After reading and rereading the last several pages of A Gentleman in Moscow, by Amor Towles, I realized I harbor (apologies; it’s the only word) a list of “most favored books and authors,” as many do, and I wanted to give art and artist their own cove, as it were. A website might constitute one’s geography in a sense (among other ologies), and as such, I am inaugurating a link to these beloveds—in case you’re stranded in a moment of ennui and would welcome a diversion. Naturally, I hope you’ll consider mine, but that’s much beside the point. Note that I have omitted pre-twentieth century writers, and many from that century whose contributions have already been well established.
Someone once entreated me, “After falling in love with a certain book, just go ahead and read everything the author has written, as soon as possible!” She went on to warn that the sentiment, or “window,” if you will, would be available for only a short time. The fascination might well melt—like a dream sequence.
Be it fiction or nonfiction, I have practiced this exhortation somewhat, though with Dickens, or a couple of the Russians, it would mean I’d be tethered to them alone for a very long while, and there are just so many extraordinary writers out there. Here are a few, in alphabetical order (occasionally paired with a particular volume or series.) As the shy, or, the more indignant (never!) candidates reveal themselves to me, I will amend my list. This is not a complete listing, nor could ever be. An observation: I believe we are in an age of poetry at present, and I’ve only just begun to crack that magic cupboard, beginning with 2021’s Inauguration poet, Amanda Gorman. I’ll require another list.
Speaking of poetry . . . the reviews by Linda Spears (Film and Television Production Sound Recorder), of my latest novels, Starwallow and The Simpler. Her thoughts are short, witty, and (may it be) enticing. I beg your indulgence:
Starwallow and The Simpler~reviewed on March 21, 2021 on Amazon and GoodReads:
“Scenes of intimacy that are fluent and dense. Lives are lived between the momentous, as lives must be. This book takes the ordinary and turns it mystical. The setting is the mild, wild west. In this second book in a trilogy, characters are further illuminated. They are lit. And each authentic character continues to inspire. It’s a story of foundational connections that may be broken but never vanish.”
“An astounding ending to a remarkable trilogy. . . [begins Spears, though work in the fourth is in progress] Okay [she continues] . . . how often do you read a book that has an ending that is utterly unforeseen? Ready to have your mind twisted? The writing is haunting, lush and soul-piercing.”
My deep gratitude to the sound recorder, whose auscultation (regarding the impression a book has made in her heart) are so beautifully rendered into words. Something of the sort, if not so fine-tuned and trained, leaves a pulse in my heart for the following:
Marion Zimmer Bradley—The Mists of Avalon
Chris Cleave—Everyone Brave is Forgiven
Amanda Coplin—The Orchardist
Anthony Doerr—All the Light We Cannot See
Diana Gabaldon—The Outlander Series
Elizabeth Gilbert—The Signature of All Things
N.K. Jemisin—The Fifth Season
Robin Wall Kemmerer—Braiding Sweetgrass
John O’ Donahue—Eternal Echoes, Exploring Our Yearning to Belong
Rosamunde Pilcher—The Shell Seekers
Richard Powers—The Overstory
Amor Towles—The Gentleman in Moscow
Julie Yip-Williams—The Unwinding of the Miracle: A Memoir of Life, Death, and Everything That Comes After