Friday, March 13, 2009

Reading update and influential writers meme

I have been just terrible about posting lately, mostly because life with three kids is kinda busy. But, strangely enough, I have less concrete reasons for not posting than I did a few weeks ago. Somehow I managed to post fairly regularly while each member of my family fell ill with a nasty virus that really knocked us flat. Three out of five of us got secondary infections. My voice is still a little husky, three weeks later, after the laryngitis and sinus thing are finally gone. But last week everyone was fairly healthy, and I couldn't manage to post a darn thing.

However, I did manage to read quite a bit. I finished several books, including The Plague of Doves, by Louise Erdrich, Crossed Wires, by Rosy Thornton, The Last Days of Dogtown, by Anita Diamant, and Welcome to the Departure Lounge, by Meg Federico.  Maybe mentioning these books will motivate me to write some reviews...

And Dorothy had a great meme up, so I decided to do it, too.  Here are the instructions:
“Name 25 writers who have influenced you. These are not necessarily your favorite writers or those you most admire, but writers who have influenced you. Then you tag 25 people.”

I'm skipping the tagging part, but please join in if you are so moved--I'd love to see your list!  Here's mine:

1.  Frances Hodgson Burnett
2.  Madeleine L'Engle
3.  Laura Ingalls Wilder
4.  L. M. Montgomery
5.  Charles Dickens
6.  Harper Lee
7.  Charlotte Bronte
8.  Jane Austen
9.  Louisa May Alcott
10.  George Eliot
11.  Leo Tolstoy
12.  Virginia Woolf
13.  Flannery O'Connor
14.  John Irving
15.  E. B. White
16.  E. M. Forster
17.  Agatha Christie
18.  Edith Wharton
19.  Raymond Carver
20.  Wallace Stegner
21.  Laurie Colwin
22.  Annie Dillard
23.  Nadine Gordimer
24.  Julian Barnes
25.  Robert Frost

I just typed out these authors as quickly as I could think of them. They are not quite in the chronological order of my life, but I did start with influences on my childhood.  I notice my list is weighted heavily toward my childhood reading, and the reading of my early adulthood. I guess I feel I was more "influenced" by writers then. And as I look at it now, I am pleasantly surprised by the number of women on this list. But only one poet. Now that's just sad.

17 comments:

litlove said...

I am so sorry to hear you've all been so poorly. Yuk. And it's always when it's all over that you relax and need to take a breather. The battle mentality fades away and rest is required. I think you did exactly the right thing in taking it. I very much enjoyed your list of authors - many of whom I love myself. I'm surprised how often Agatha Christie has appeared on the lists I've seen. Who'd have thunk it?

Gentle Reader said...

litlove--you're so right about the battle mentality. I remember always getting sick right after final exams, just after breathing that sigh of relief. I loved your list of authors, and I think Agatha Christie influenced me because I read her when I was so young, and felt let in on a whole world of adult things I hadn't known about before. I also read James Herriott, who was mentioned by one of your commenters, and I should have put him on my list, too! He was a great storyteller :)

Dark Orpheus said...

I see Harper Lee popping up on a number of responses to this meme. To Kill a Mockingbird is truly an influential text.

Also glad to see Dillard on your list.

Gentle Reader said...

Dark Orpheus--I so agree about To Kill a Mockingbird. I first read it in high school, and it was one of those amazing reading experiences that really stick with you. And it remains a favorite, after years and several re-readings. And Dillard is an amazing stylist, just love her fiction and non-fiction, especially her writing about writing.

Stefanie said...

Sorry you've been ill but glad you are on the mend. I like your list very much. I can't believe I forgot John Irving on mine!

bloglily said...

Oh you poor woman! Your house sounds like it's been under siege in a big way! I'm impressed you've been reading so much, and glad you've been able to do that.

Oh, I love reading these lists. I'm particularly taken by the childhood influences -- those are the ones that seem to really leave a mark.

Susan said...

I love your list! I just did mine: http://susanflynn.blogspot.com/2009/03/sunday-salon-25-most-influential.html and it was fun. Lots of children's authors on mine too. It is interesting to see who is on everyone's list, isn't it? while I thought about mine, I certainly didn't plan it when I sat down to write it, so I ended up being surprised by some that turned up!

Hope you feel better soon, too.

Bybee said...

many of your writers are ones that came to my mind immediately.

Gentle Reader said...

stefanie--I like your list, too! I can't believe I forgot Dr. Seuss :)

bloglily--You can tell that I turn to reading as a comfort when I'm not feeling well! I love the lists for the glimpse into childhood influences, too--fascinating to see what writers made an impression on young minds.

susan--love your list! I can't believe I didn't include Anne Frank or Carolyn Keene on mine. I also was influenced by Plath, May Sarton and Enid Blyton--maybe I need a 50-author list. Also love Farley Mowat. Thanks!

bybee--I'm glad we have those writers in common! I'd love to see your list :)

Dorothy W. said...

Interesting list! I'm glad to see we have a good number of authors in common :) And I could have put some others you listed on my list too, including Burnett, Tolstoy, and Wharton.

Matt said...

First I hope everyone is recovering soon.

Louise Erdrich is another author whom I have never read but want to read. I might start with your recommendation.

As to the twenty five authors who have influenced me, it's a very thoughtful question. I need to reflect a little. But right off the bat it's Dostoevsky because my dissertation was based on his works.

BooksPlease said...

Glad you're on the mend. I've seen this meme on several blogs now and have started to compile my own list. Blogging inertia has set in a bit the last few days and I still haven't finished it. Your idea of typing out the authors quickly is much better than mine of thinking about it too long. Until I read yours I'd completely forgotten about Frances Hodgson Burnett - how could I? I read The Secret Garden so many times! Some of the others on your list are on mine too. I may get round to finishing it one day.

verbivore said...

Very glad you are feeling better. And am looking forward to your thoughts on the Erdrich book, she is one of my favorite writers but I haven't yet read Plague of Doves.

Gentle Reader said...

Dorothy--I love this meme--other people's lists have reminded me of so many great authors I've found influential--or now know I must read! Thanks for this :)

matt--You remind me that I have so much Dostoevsky on my "to read" list--have to get to it! I enjoy Erdrich's writing, I hope you do too!

Booksplease--I read The Secret Garden so many times, too--it made me want to visit England in the worst way. Also A Little Princess, one of the best stories about empowerment and vindication for little girls! I hear you on the blogging inertia, I've been suffering from that, too!

verbivore--I love Erdrich's writing, too. I'm a little sluggish writing reviews these days, but I must finish this one because I did enjoy it so!

J.Danger said...

What a great list! I might need to do this one.

Gentle Reader said...

J. Danger--Ooh, I think you should--I'd enjoy reading your list :)

Amanda Crowe said...

Harper Lee’s only novel, "To Kill a Mockingbird," is a Pulitzer Prize-winning classic, a staple of high school and college reading lists, and the favorite of millions of readers. Lee, however, chose privacy over fame, and has spent most of her life out of the public eye. I just love Harper Lee.