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Influential Authors

I snag a writer meme from Shelf Life. The meme asks reader to name 25 {whatever I can think of) writers who have influenced participant. These are not necessarily your favorite writers or those you most admire, but writers who have influenced you. A great question. Over the years, authors have molded and shaped my mind as a reader, and have contributed to a well-rounded education of letters.

1. William Shakespeare [reading him taught me to read out loud]
2. Fyodor Dostoevsky [on whose works my dissertation is based]
3. Eileen Chang [never knew prose can be so grandiose and myopic]
4. James Baldwin [his writing corroborates who I am]
5. Charles Dickens [author of the first fiction works in English language that I read]
6. Francine Prose [writing about writing]
7. Toni Morrison [I wish to write like she does]
8. L.P. Hartley [whose formal language inspires me to emulate him]
9. W. Somerset Maugham [I think there’s nothing wrong to be a literary snob]
10. Mikhail Bulgakov [author of my all-time favorite work of fiction]
11. Rebecca West [writing is so internal]
12. Kazuo Ishiguro [love his formal language and English locutions]
13. John Banville [he certainly influences my vocabulary building]
14. Gore Vidal [crisp and sharp prose]
15. Italo Calvino [constantly challenges my perception of what fiction is]
16. Ralph Ellison [enlightens me about the truth of an undemocratic democratic society]
17. Albert Camus [existentialism]
18. Jose Saramago [writing that reads like social commentary]
19. May Sarton [Beautiful and thoughtful prose. Who says she is out-moded?]
20. Virginia Woolf [Coiled with stream of consciousness, she’s a keen observer.]

18 Responses

  1. So Matt, this is why your followers love you so. You are who you are because of these amazing authors. It is no wonder you are everyone’s daily addiction!

  2. I want to second what Sandy wrote! I love reading your blog because I believe you are helping me be a better reader and I thank you for it!!

  3. um, I have fat fingers I guess and didn’t spell my name right..sorry!!

    ~Staci

  4. Staci:
    Don’t worry, I know that’s you who left the comment. 🙂

  5. Great authors you have there, Matt!
    I’m definitely adding Toni Morrison’s books to my wishlist because of your lovely review on Beloved! 🙂

  6. What a great list, Matt. A number of them I super love. And I see you have a Maugham lined up.. sounds wonderful, even just the title alone.

  7. What a terrific list! I agree with your comment next to Maugham…what’s wrong with being a literary snob? 😉

  8. What amazes me is that you possess the collective gentility and personality of most of these authors, at least the ones I have read, like Maugham, Henry James, and Vidal. You’re classy, well-read, and well-versed.

  9. From one more with a daily addiction. A list to cherish with some names I still intend to investigate. Thank you for sharing all your thoughts and the kind of insight that comes from substantial and dedicated experience. You’ve certainly widened my world and piqued my curiosity.

    By the way, being a snob has more to do with undue or prejudiced concern for the status (or non-status) of something than an understanding its value. If you benefit from association with something and cherish the result, that’s not being a snob, it’s permitting yourself to become a developed person.

  10. Oh wow, what a fantastic list! I especially love John Banville. What fun it would be to pick your literary brain! 😀

  11. Sandy:
    Thank you so much for the kind words. The purpose of the blog is to share my thoughts on the readings. I’m happy to connect with other like-minded readers like you. 🙂

  12. Staci:
    Thank you Staci! Your comment reads like it’s an congratulatory note to blog anniversary. I’m happy we can exchange our reading thoughts here. 🙂

  13. Melody:
    I didn’t come to appreciate Toni Morrison until after I finished college. It’s way better to take her works slowly, free of time constraint.

  14. claire:
    Somerset Maugham has been one of my favorites since I was younger. In winter 2007, I made a dream come true when I followed his travel throughout Southeast Asia detailed in the book The Gentlemen in the Parlour. It was just awesome!

  15. Priscilla:
    Yes indeed. Many of his contemporaries criticized his being a snob who made very harsh comments on others’ works. His works are definitely high-brow literature, but I like how he creates the tension of a scene with words not being said. You have to read between the line.

  16. John:
    I am attracted to literature in formal diction. That said, it’s no wonder Ishiguro, Maugham, James, Vidal, Edmund White, Baldwin, Woolf would make my favorite list.

  17. Greg S:
    Maugham was being accused of being a snob by his peers for his high-brow critics on their works. Eileen Chang was being criticized for not producing patriotic literature. But her peers (in the 1930s and 40s) probably didn’t read Lust, Caution. I for sure benefit from reading both of them, especially in writing style and emulating their prose.

  18. antipodeanowl:
    John Banville is a difficult author to be for his immense vocabulary. He’s also a keen observer of people. I delight in reading his works very closely and slowly. 🙂

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