It’s been a while since I’ve done a listy, meme-type thing, and maybe the depths of July when I’m lazy and tired are good for that. I found this at Musings from the Sofa and My Porch (the sofa and the porch — perfect!). It’s the Sunday Times list of “The 50 Greatest British Writers Since 1945.” Let’s see how I do.
1. Philip Larkin – read him in college, not since.
2. George Orwell – his most famous novels, plus some essays. The essays are best and I want to get back to them.
3. William Golding – in high school, I’m pretty sure.
4. Ted Hughes – yes, he’s awesome.
5. Doris Lessing – no. Need to get to my copy of The Golden Notebook.
6. J. R. R. Tolkien – read The Hobbit as a kid, but never got farther. This is probably a shame.
7. V. S. Naipaul – not yet.
8. Muriel Spark – three novels so far.
9. Kingsley Amis – yes, Lucky Jim.
10. Angela Carter – read in grad school. Don’t remember much.
11. C. S. Lewis – Narnia, plus some of his nonfiction. Have probably had enough for one lifetime. Used to like him, don’t anymore.
12. Iris Murdoch – read in college and read another novel later. Don’t think I’ll go back, though.
13. Salman Rushdie – Haroun and the Sea of Stories in college and Midnight’s Children in grad school. Plus I’ve seen him give talks at least twice now.
14. Ian Fleming – no, not really my thing.
15. Jan Morris – who?
16. Roald Dahl – read as a kid.
17. Anthony Burgess – nope.
18. Mervyn Peake – who?
19. Martin Amis – read London Fields in grad school, Time’s Arrow later, probably enough for me.
20. Anthony Powell – not yet, not terribly high on the list.
21. Alan Sillitoe – who?
22. John Le Carré – read recently for book group and liked it, although it’s not quite my thing.
23. Penelope Fitzgerald – read The Bookshop and didn’t take to it, but will try again at some point.
24. Philippa Pearce – who?
25. Barbara Pym – read and like very much. I have several of her books on hand I haven’t read yet.
26. Beryl Bainbridge – read one book and didn’t really take to it.
27. J. G. Ballard – nope.
28. Alan Garner – read one book for The Slaves of Golconda book group; pretty good.
29. Alasdair Gray – who?
30. John Fowles – read The French Lieutenant’s Woman in grad school.
31. Derek Walcott – don’t think so, except maybe a random poem here or there.
32. Kazuo Ishiguro – he’s awesome.
33. Anita Brookner – she’s awesome.
34. A. S. Byatt – she’s occasionally awesome.
35. Ian McEwan – he’s occasionally awesome.
36. Geoffrey Hill – nope.
37. Hanif Kureishi – read a screenplay in grad school.
38. Iain Banks – nope.
39. George Mackay Brown – who?
40. A. J. P. Taylor – who?
41. Isaiah Berlin – nope.
42. J. K. Rowling – she’s on this list really? Read only the first Harry Potter, and it was okay.
43. Philip Pullman – love him.
44. Julian Barnes – love him.
45. Colin Thubron – who?
46. Bruce Chatwin – the one book I’ve read, In Patagonia, bored me.
47. Alice Oswald – who?
48. Benjamin Zephaniah – who?
49. Rosemary Sutcliff – who?
50. Michael Moorcock – who?
I’m fading by the end of this, I see. Well, there are some names to explore here, if I decide I want to.