Thursday, 17 October 2013

8 Authors I Wish Would Write More

We all have a few writers who we simply wish would write more. You know, the authors that we keep tabs on for years on end, waiting for news that they've written another book. Sometimes they do, and sometimes they just keep us waiting. While there's not much that we as readers can do to speed up their writing, a little praise of their existing books (or book, singular) and a wish for more can't be a bad thing.

1. Tan Twan Eng

Tan Twan Eng is a novelist I first heard about after the Booker Prize shortlist for 2012 came out. I decided The Garden of Evening Mists sounded like a novel I'd really enjoy, and it was.

It took me a while to get round to reading Tan Twan Eng's earlier book, The Gift of Rain, but I probably enjoyed it even more.

I adore the simplicity, minimalism, and Buddhist undertones of the author's writing, and reading these books helped me to relax a bit more in my own life. There's something I really love about plots with secluded islands and characters that spend a lot of time meditating - perhaps it's a subtle clue about things that need changing in my own life?

Tan Twan Eng, winner of the Man Asian Prize 2012 and shortlisted for the Booker. Image from The Guardian.

2. Sarah Winman

When God Was a Rabbit must be one of my favourite debut novels. I found it so funny, uplifting and familiar to my own life and childhood, and I'd love it so much if Sarah Winman wrote another book. She's a really talented novelist, and I'm sure my boyfriend would agree: he laughed almost all the way through When God Was a Rabbit.

3. Jonas Jonasson

Even if you only skim through my posts here on the blog, you'll almost certainly know how much I loved The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared. This is the book that my Dad kept complaining about because "he couldn't put the bloody thing down", and the novel that my boyfriend spoke about for weeks. During my time working in a book shop I found it to be the perfect book to recommend to all types of customers, and I never had any complaints.

Jonas Jonasson, author of The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed out the Window and Disappeared. Image from The Telegraph.

4. Matthew Quick

The author of The Silver Linings Playbook, a successful novel-turned-film, is bound to create some more great plots, I think. His most famous novel was so easy to read and its characters so loveable, and I'm really excited to see if he'll write anything similar in the future. 

5. Kathryn Stockett

I think the same about Kathryn Stockett, author of The Help. The characters she created in this book were so vibrant and memorable, and it will be interesting to see if she'll write a novel that focuses on another polemical theme (as she did with slavery in The Help).

The film adaptation of The Help, based on the novel by Kathryn Stockett. Image from

6. J.K. Rowling

I know J.K. Rowling has written the entire Harry Potter series and two novels, but I'd really love more books like The Cuckoo's Calling. Rumour has it that Rowling is already working on the sequel, and I hope it branches out to a Cormoran Strike series. Three books would be the perfect amount, I think. 

7. Stephen Chbosky

It's amazing that Stephen Chbosky has only written The Perks of Being a Wallflower, particularly considering how successful it has become. Google suggests that Chbosky may be working on another novel, so hopefully more information will come out about this soon!

Charlie in the film adaptation of Stephen Chbosky's The Perks of Being a Wallflower. Image from popbopshop.

8. Rebecca Skloot

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks was a superb biography about an incredible woman who has affected us all in some way, and I'm so glad that Skloot was the one to write it. Could she write an equally wonderful biography about someone else? May she one day turn to fiction?

Are there any writers that you wish would write more? Have you heard anything that I haven't about the authors I've mentioned above? I look forward to hearing from you!


Fiona said...

I'm looking forward to reading The Gift of Rain (last book I physically bought) as it looks so good and I love reading authors from different countries and cultures. It'll be good for my "Around the World in 80 Books" challenge I've set myself.

It's funny you saying that you loved When God was a Rabbit as I think that was the worst book I have read all year (if not ever) and I have blamed my book slump entirely on that thing. It was for book group and one of the first books I read this year - I guess it coloured my emotions towards books in a negative way. I get anxious I'll never find a book I love again and tend to find it hard getting back into reading if I read a dud.

In fact, even thinking of it now makes me feel annoyed. More at myself for not listening to my instincts and abandoning it earlier on. I don't like feeling negative feelings towards books - it isn't worth it.

Back to the subject at hand though... difficult. I'm trying to think of authors I know who haven't published very much. I'm kinda slow at reading authors' backlogs as I tend to read an author only once a year which is why I am terrible at reading series.

Arthur Golden of Memoirs of a Geisha - I'd be curious as to what he writes next (if anything) but I'm also wondering if that book was the only one he is ever capable of writing and anything else will not stand up to it.

Carsten Jensen who wrote We, the Drowned. I think he has one other book but I'm not sure if it is fiction. Either way he needs to write more and have it translated into English or am I going to have to learn Danish for the sake of watching The Bridge 2 and reading all their fiction that never gets translated into English?

Amitav Ghosh - I want him to finish his Ibis Trilogy so I can read it all at once! I have yet to read the second book actually but I would like to wait so I can just read all three and so not forget half of what happened in the previous. He just takes a long time it seems between books.

Yoko Ogawa - rather I wish all of her books would be translated to English although I think they are at least translating all those she is writing recently. I love her writing but I'm afraid to read her books too soon so as not to run out!

Christa Laird - seeing as she hasn't published anything since the 90's I guess she won't ever. She wrote my childhood favourite - Beyond the Wall about a Polish refugee living in the forests outside Warsaw during WW2. It's still one of the best books I have read about the war. She must have gone out of publication shortly after I bought that book though (back in 1995) because I could never find her other books until recently thanks to the Internet. She has written only two others - Shadow of the Wall which came before Beyond the Wall about orphans who lived in Warsaw Ghetto and one based in Medieval times called The Forgotten Prince (I think.)

Diana Wynne Jones - well she can't any more and she's dead. Fortunately she wrote a lot and I still have much to read but I still wish there would be more! But not like Virginia Andrews where she may be dead, but still writing... ewww.

Brian Joseph said...

Great list!

I do not really have a similar list because, due to time, I
cannot get to the works already written by writers that I like!

Nevertheless there is an odd coincidence to your post. Earlier today I was thinking about a writer who I wished would write more books. It is David Harry Grinspoon, he is an astronomer who writes science books. He in some ways reminds me of Carl Sagan as his book, though focusing on seemingly narrow issues, actually tackle some of the big ideas inherent in the universe. Alas, he has only written two mainstream books!

tolstoytherapy said...

Thanks Brian! I'd certainly agree that time stops you from reading all of an author's work.... if only there were a way to stop time while reading.

That author sounds fascinating - hopefully he'll write more mainstream books in the future. It often seems to be that my favourite writers either write too many books for me to get through, or only one or two. A balance seems impossible!

Fiona said...

You may include the thing about Murakami and Fiona is fine. Thanks Lucky. I've forgotten exactly what it was I said now, so would be interested in what you have written as always.

I hope if you get around to reading Shadow of the Wall/Beyond the Wall you will enjoy it and I'd love to know what you think of them - in particular Beyond the Wall as I think that is the most powerful wartime book I have read. I can't actually believe the 10 year old me really read that and wonder if I understood it as much as I did when I read it last year. It is more suited to young adults to adults than younger children. I think it probably taught me more about what happened during the war than anything in school did - it's always been a book I have remembered well.

I too would like to re-read Memoirs of a Geisha. My (much older - by 30 years) sister, who died last year (a year this Friday actually) sent it to me in the post when I was 18 and I remember looking it over and thinking that it didn't really look like my kind of thing. I sat down in the chair by the window in the lounge however to just give it a little read and look over as I liked to do with newly acquired books. I had no intention of reading it at all but I don't think I actually moved from that spot for the rest of the day. It is something I remember doing so well so I really must re-read it, although afraid I will not like it so much and so spoil that happy memory of me just getting lost in a book without even meaning to.

tolstoytherapy said...

Hi Fiona,

I'll be sure to review Shadow of the Wall/Beyond the Wall here on the blog if I read them! It would be great to compare notes, and your good words about them sound really encouraging. It's interesting to think how books that were typically "too old for us" affect us... I must have read Memoirs of a Geisha before the age of 13, which my mother wasn't happy about when she found out!

That's a lovely memory you have of Memoirs of a Geisha, particularly as it's so closely connected to your sister. Many of my fondest memories involve books, mostly because I always find it so valuable to share my favourite books with people I'm close to. This makes for happy memories to keep for later in life, I think. It would be interesting to know what you think about the novel if you do re-read it; I've been doing some research for my book about the science behind why we should reread more, and it's fascinating stuff.

tolstoytherapy said...

Regarding the book, I'm so happy that you don't mind me including your thoughts on Murakami! You appear as 'Fiona' in the chapter on anxiety, and I've also later included some of your thoughts on listening to music while reading, alongside your ideas on literature as a whole in the closing chapter. Essentially, you play a bigger role in the book than anyone else! Let me know what you think of this.

The section in the anxiety chapter goes as so:

"One reader of my blog, Fiona, got in touch to tell me about the positive impact that novels by Haruki Murakami, the Japanese writer famous for texts such as Kafka on the Shore and the
aforementioned IQ84, have had on her feelings of social anxiety over the past few years.

Fiona had always used reading as an escape from the real, often challenging, world around her, and she told me that Murakami helped her to look at things from different perspectives and engage more with the world. According
to Fiona, it was as if Murakami’s alternative way of thinking helped her to “reset.” When reading his novels, Fiona found that she approached her anxiety from a different perspective and began to see the illogicality in her thought processes as a result.

Reading not only acted as an escape for Fiona, but it helped her to reassess and analyse her usual ways of thinking."

If you'd like anything changed here, or if you think I should add anything, I'd love to hear from you.

I'd like to thank you for providing me with such eloquent thoughts to add to my book - I'll definitely ensure that you get a free copy!

Best wishes and happy reading,

tolstoytherapy said...

I hope you enjoy The Gift of Rain! You'll have to let me know what you think of it.

I must say I like that you hated When God Was a Rabbit! I think I enjoyed it so much because the plot was very, very similar to my own childhood and family life growing up. Perhaps if those similarities weren't there, maybe I wouldn't have enjoyed it so much. I hope you're managing to get out of your book slump now though... I had similar experiences with Cloud Atlas and Never Let Me Go, books that everyone else seemed to love, but ones I really couldn't get into or enjoy.

I too try to avoid feeling negative feelings towards books, and I'm getting a lot better at putting down a book if I'm having to force myself through it. Reading for me should be relaxing, enjoyable or worthwhile: if it's not any of these things there's no point, really.

Arthur Golden is an interesting author to mention. I read Memoirs of a Geisha when I was quite young, so it's a book i'd like to return to with a more mature approach, but I remember enjoying it. I think if he wrote any other novels they'd really appeal to me.

I think the same about Yoko Ogawa and Carsten Jensen too. We need more translators in the world!

I've never read Beyond the Wall, or anything else by Christa Laird. Beyond the Wall sounds like a superb novel though, and as I haven't read any wartime fiction lately, I'll add it to my to-read list. You always have the best recommendations!

Also, I'd love to know if it's ok with you if I include how Murakami helped you with your anxiety in my ebook on bibliotherapy. I've changed your name in the book, but you can always let me know if you'd prefer it to be Fiona. If you have a website/blog you'd like me to promote in it that's also fine!

The section is based on a comment you left on my post, and if you'd like to have a read through what I've written just let me know :) I could copy and paste it here or send it in an email.

I look forward to hearing from you!