Sunday Salon – Reading a body of work…

Good Sunday to you.  I hope you had a lovely week.  Mr G and I spent 3 days house bound due to snow, then ice, then icy slush.   It’s pretty much gone now.  Weather in our part of the world can be very dramatic, particularly when two systems bash into each other.  Seattle is a city of hills,  we live on a very steep one so, even though main arterials may be clear, in can be hard to get in and out of certain neighborhoods.  We had plenty of warning, laid in supplies and stayed warm and well fed and I got some serious reading done.

Which brings me to an idea and a question.

While reading The Savage Detectives it occurred to me that, while I have problems with some of Bolano’s ramblings,  I love what he does with language, with history, with thought, humor and emotion.  I realized that I want to read all his work, or as much as I can get my hands on.  Then I started thinking about other authors whose writing has had a similar effect on me.  I am making a list and creating  a personal reading project.  This is not a challenge, there is no time line, and no particular order.  This project will not interfere with other challenges and reading events.  It’s just something I’d like to do.

My question?  Are there any authors you feel this way about?  Have you read or are you reading an author’s complete body of work?

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30 Comments

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30 responses to “Sunday Salon – Reading a body of work…

  1. Yes there are quite a few. I’ve read all of Jean Rhys and Virginia Woolf, Katherine Mansfield and….quite a few others. Boris Vian, I think and Marguerite Duras.
    I still want to read all of D.H. Lawrence, Antonio Tabucchi, Elizabeth Taylor, Jennifer Johnston and Angela Carter…
    I gave up on Balzac after 15-20 volumes.
    I saw a page like that on Lizzy’s Literary Life. She calls it completist page, i think. I’d like to have that too. Sometimes I feel I jump too often from one author to the next instead of reading the whole body of work from one.

    • I agree, I am easily distracted by great reviews from bloggers I trust. And challenges add titles to my TBR list. Your list reminds me I need to add Willa Cather to my Author page.

  2. moshimoshineko

    I wanted to do that when I first discovered Isaac Asimov and I still, in a way, am doing that. I am also currently reading most of Dickens’ work for the January Dickens Month challenge. I’d love to do that for several sci-fi/fantasy authors.

    • Thanks for the comment! There are several sci-fi/fantasy authors that I think about but Ursula LeGuin is definitely on my list. And I’s like to read and reread Dickens this year.

  3. I don’t know about everything he has done, but I have been interested in reading more John Irving. And all of Jane Austen (taking my time because I know when I’ve read them all, that is it). I’m sure there are more. I am always mentally putting authors on a list, then I forget two hours later.

    • Adding Irving to my list is tempting. Those mental lists can be a problem, one reason I thought I’d start my personal project. I’ve listed authors on a page, we’ll see how that works:)

  4. Fitzgerald. I’ve been reading The Beautiful and The Damned, and while it’s far inferior to The Great Gatsby, you can see how he’s developing as a writer.

    • That’s another great thing. Reading through an author’s work chronologically lets me see how they change and grow as a writer through time.

  5. There are a few authors whose complete works I want to read including: Melanie Rae Thon (two books left to read), John Steinbeck, Toni Morrison, Margo Lanagan, and probably Edwidge Danticat. I can’t wait to read more about your project when you figure out all the details. Have a great week, Gavin!

  6. Let’s see… I’ve read all of Steinbeck, Zadie Smith and David Foster Wallace. I’ve read almost all of Stephen King, Jonathan Franzen, Jonathan Lethem and quite a bit of Bolaño.

    I’d like to read more of Irving (I’ve only read Owen Meany) and I’d like to read more of Murakami.

  7. There are few worse places that I can think of trying to navigate the snow than Seattle (maybe the hills of San Francisco). I’m glad you were able to stay safe and enjoy some books!

    • Thanks, Alyce! When er have snow Seattle just shuts down. It is quiet and people walk around their neighborhoods and say “Hi” to each other. Kind of nice, actually.

  8. Lu

    There’s never really been an author I’ve done this with. I guess I’ve read everything John Green’s written, but not out of a desire to read his entire body of work. There are some I can think of that I would like to do this with, though! Good luck.

  9. There are many authors I love, but a few that I want to read everything they’ve written – Jane Austen (I’ve been saving Emma for years), John Steinbeck, Wallace Stegner, and most recently Richard Yates.

  10. Absolutely: Wendell Berry, Jan Karon, Charles Dickens (someday I’ll finish), Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, Shakespeare, Madeleine L’Engle. Actually, I could probably name a dozen or so authors that interest me so much that I want to read all of their works.

    • Thanks for the comment, Sherry. I need to read some of Wendell Berry’s fiction, I’ve read some of his essays and his poetry.

  11. Great question! I plan on reading all of Margaret Atwood’s work eventually. There will be others beyond that if I have time to think about it – Janet Frame (NZ author) is one likely candidate. As is D.H. Lawrence. As an ongoing, lifetime achievment kind of thing.

    Thanks for the thought-provoking post!

  12. Charled deLint, I cannot get enough of that mans writing style. How much snow did you get? Here in Oly we got about 14 inches. It is sill melting.

    • I have to try reading DeLint again. We got about 5 inches and then it got covered with ice. A friend in Oly has been without power for days!

  13. Ti

    I am working my way through Murakami’s books. He has a style of writing (dreamy and surreal) and a way of writing about nothing that nearly always piques my interest. I have read about 7 of his books now. He has so many but some have yet to be translated.

  14. er no I ve always left some to read at later date read most of Okri ,Grass ,Sebald ,Joyce books but think always good to have one not read as a treat for later life ,all the best stu

  15. Most recently, I finished reading Ethel Wilson’s works (my favourite being Swamp Angel). I have a long list of writers whose works I intend to read exhaustively but some of those, for instance Barbara Comyns, I’ve actually read very little of to date (just two). Others, like Margaret Atwood and Margaret Laurence, I’m nearly there. Others, like Ursula K. LeGuin, I’m somewhere in between. I absolutely love reading through them chronologically, tracing writers’ obsessions and similarities/contrasts between works, and look forward to seeing who is on your lists!

    • I just read a bit about Ethel Wilson and am intrigued. My library does not have her books so I will do an online search fro used copies after the TBR Double Dare. I’ve read some Comyns and some Laurence and would like to read more. As for LeGuin, I plan on rereading her work starting with The Left Hand of Darkness or The Dispossessed. She is a favorite and I’ve had the pleasure of seeing her read several times.

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