Was it love at first sight? Or did the love affair evolve over a long acquaintance?
Not easy, because first of all I have to decide who are my favourite author(s). On a different day and in a different mood I'd tell you different authors from the ones I'm going to write about now.
In no particular order of preference these authors come to my mind today:
- Jane Austen - I first saw Pride and Prejudice serialised many years ago (in black and white - Alan Badel was Mr Darcy) and loved it. My mother had a copy and so I read it for the first time. I've read it many times since then and writing about it now I think I'm due to read it again soon.
- Louisa May Alcott - a childhood favourite. I was given Little Women either for Christmas or a birthday present and went on to read Good Wives, Jo's Boys and Little Men.
- Robert Louis Stevenson - another present - Treasure Island and then I read Kidnapped a set book for school.
- Thomas Hardy - I didn't think much of Hardy on first reading - that was The Trumpet Major another set book for school, but later I read The Mayor of Casterbridge and was hooked.
- Leo Tolstoy - I can't really remember how I came across Tolstoy. He's one of those authors that I've always known about and never read, that is until a few years ago when I bought a cheap edition of Anna Karenina and wondered why I hadn't read it before. I followed this with War and Peace and was bowled over.
- Carol Shields - I remember this distinctly. I'd never heard of her and picked up Happenstance at Gatwick Airport, whilst waiting for a plane to Tunisia, read it in the departure lounge, on the plane and round the hotel pool, then passed it on to my husband. If you don't know it, it's written in two halves - one by the wife, then turn the book round and upside down and there is the second half by the husband. Both tell their stories of a certain period in their lives from their own point of view. I read the wife's side first. I didn't talk about it to my husband just gave him the book and he read the husband's side first. Then we discussed it and of course we both had different views on it.
- Barbara Kingsolver - The Poisonwood Bible another airport buy and another book we've both read. This is about an evangelical Baptist missionary who takes his family to the Belgian Congo. I started reading it on the plane and collapsed at the thought of wearing many layers of clothes on the plane like the family have to as they are over the luggage allowance. This is a great book.
- Margaret Atwood - this one is thanks to my son and daughter-in-law who gave me Cat's Eye. I read as many of hers as I can find.
- Ian McEwan - the first one was Enduring Love. I bought it because I liked the cover and the title, which is not normally how I choose books, but I'm glad I did. I think it's still my favourite of his books.
- Penelope Lively - I can't remember, I think I must have seen one of her books in the library. The last one I've just read is The Photograph - loved it. I'll write more about it soon.
Once I started writing this it was easy after all and I could go on and on. Looking back, it was love at first sight for all these authors, apart from Thomas Hardy, but he's a firm favourite now.