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From Michael Connelly to Heather Rose, the world’s best writers reveal the books that shaped them


#Perusing a bookshelf can feel a tad voyeuristic; what’s made the cut and how books are arranged can tell you about a person’s tastes, values and even their psyche.

#What about the bookshelves of great writers? #What can they tell us about acclaimed authors and their works?

#Perhaps unsurprisingly, #Kate #Evans and #Cassie #McCullagh — co-hosts of RN’s The #Bookshelf — are obsessed with knowing what’s on the bookshelves of the best novelists.

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They’ve been asking writers about the books that have shaped them since their show began in 2018.

“#What we found was the surprise, delight and sheer eclecticism of reading lives,” says #Evans.

“The crime writer who was shaped by science fiction, the literary author who discovered plot through detective novels, the romantic who thrilled to hardboiled noir.

“#Every book is begat by other books; every reader holds a library.”

#So let’s rifle through those bookshelves.

#Bernadine #Evaristo

The novelist Bernadine Evaristo smiling
#Bernardine #Evaristo shared the 2019 #Booker #Prize with #Margaret #Atwood.(#Supplied: #Jennie #Scott)

#English writer #Bernadine #Evaristo won the 2019 #Booker #Prize for #Girl, #Woman, #Other — which is about the lives of 12 characters, mostly #Black women, over many generations.

#Evaristo says that one inspiration for the multi-narrator novel was #For #Colored #Girls #Who #Have #Considered #Suicide / #When the #Rainbow #Is #Enuf by #African #American writer #Ntozake #Shange, which she saw on stage in 1979.

“#It was the first time that I’d seen a play, or as she called it ‘choreopoetry’, just about black women,” says #Evaristo.

#She says one book that’s on the bookshelf that made her is The #Bone #People by novelist, poet and short-story-writer of #Maori ancestry #Keri #Hulme, who in 1985 became the first #New #Zealander to win the #Booker.

“#That book was very important to me when I was coming of age as a writer, and trying to find stories and forms that would help me feel that I could be part of the literary world,” #Evaristo says.

#Evaristo says those possibilities were in both subject and form: one of the novel’s protagonists is an eccentric #Maori woman, and #Hulme’s book is both fragmentary and poetic.

#Melissa #Lucashenko

The novelist, wearing a black t-shirt that says "because racism", poses in front of a black and white painting.
#Lucashenko started reading before she’d started school, devouring #British children’s books by #Enid #Blyton and C.S. #Lewis at her local library.(ABC #Arts: #Daniel #Boud)

The #Bone #People is also on the bookshelf of #Australian writer #Melissa #Lucashenko, whose novel #Too #Much #Lip won the 2019 #Miles #Franklin award.

#Lucashenko started reading early, but says that #Hulme’s novel, which she read in her early 20s, was “the first book that I truly felt connected to in a really deep way”.

“#It was a groundbreaking book in lots of ways: it centred an #Indigenous woman and her experience, it’s postmodern in that it flips between voices a lot … and it is actually the story of a queer family.”

#Hulme’s book also incorporates #Maori language, an influence on #Lucashenko, who weaved #Bundjalung-Yugambeh language into her acclaimed 2013 novel #Mullumbimby.

#Lucashenko says #Bruce #Pascoe‘s 2001 novel #Earth was also integral to this element of her writing.

“[He introduces the reader to the Wathaurong language] a little bit in chapter one and then a little bit more in chapter two until by the end of the book, you understand so much … #It’s just remarkable,” she says.

#Lucashenko says that storytelling, particularly stories she heard in #Aboriginal communities in #Queensland and #New #South #Wales, sits behind her writing as much as books do.

“#It’s maybe not intentional storytelling, but do you know the concept of the ‘found poem’? #Well, I wander around and I think I encounter the ‘found story‘.”

#Tayari #Jones

The novelist Tayari Jones
#Jones says #Song of #Solomon is “maybe the greatest #American novel ever”””.(#Supplied: #Nina #Subin)

#American novelist #Tayari #Jones is best known for her fourth novel #An #American #Marriage, which won a 2018 NAACP #Image #Award and was an #Oprah #Book #Club selection.

#Her bookshelf includes literary legend #Toni #Morrison and her 1977 novel #Song of #Solomon, which follows an #African #American man on a journey to explore his family history.

“The thing about #Morrison that makes her such a genius is that she can take the lives of ordinary people and raise them all the way up to the level of mythology,” #Jones says.

#Jones says #Nigerian author #Chinua #Achebe‘s 1958 debut novel #Things #Fall #Apart, which she read while living in #Nigeria, was an emotional page-turner that helped her engage with and understand colonialism.

“#It changed my understanding of world history and even understanding the soil on which I stood.”

#Charlotte’s #Web by E. B. #White was the first book that #Jones read, and she says even to this day when she’s nervous she repeats to herself the words that #Charlotte spins in her web to save #Wilbur the pig: “#Some pig, terrific, radiant, humble.”

“#As a writer, I think it’s important to remember how I learned to love reading in the first place,” she says.

#Heather #Rose

Heather Rose in foreground, Bruny Island in background.
#Heather #Rose recommends #Yuval #Noah #Harari’s books #Sapiens: A #Brief #History of #Humankind and #Homo #Deus: A #Brief #History of #Tomorrow.(#Supplied: #Allen and #Unwin)

#Tasmanian author #Heather #Rose won the 2016 #Stella #Prize for The #Museum of #Modern #Love; her latest, critically acclaimed novel is the political satire #Bruny.

#When #Rose was six years old, her father picked out the first book she ever borrowed from the adult section of the library: #Ernest #Hemingway‘s short 1952 novel The #Old #Man and the #Sea.

“#It’s the first time a book broke my heart … and I remember thinking ‘#Wow, a book doesn’t just take you places, it makes you feel things’, and I thought at the time, I want to be a writer like that,” she says.

#Alongside this #Hemingway book, #Rose says her bookshelf would have to include two #Virginia #Woolf books that she regularly revisits: #To the #Lighthouse and #Mrs #Dalloway.

“I love the way she [Woolf] stretches language in a way that is bold and brave — as if she’s considered the literary canon and made it entirely her own.”

#Rose says she’s recently been shaped by the work of #Israeli philosopher #Yuval #Noah #Harari, but that her bookshelf wouldn’t be complete without works by #Margaret #Atwood.

“#What I’ve loved about #Margaret #Atwood is that she writes something different every time.”

#Michael #Connelly

The novelist Michael Connelly standing in front of metal fence, LA in the background
#Coneolly was influenced by #Joan #Didion’s #Play #It as #It #Lays and #Ragtime by EL #Doctorow.(#Supplied: #Mark #DeLong #Photography)

#Best-selling and award-winning #American crime writer #Michael #Connelly, whose latest novel is The #Law of #Innocence, is a voracious reader of literary #Los #Angeles, his home and the setting of many of his books.

“I became a writer largely because of the works of #Raymond #Chandler,” says #Connelly.

#Every year before he begins writing a book, he rereads chapter 13 of #Chandler’s 1949 novel The #Little #Sister, a self-contained episode where private investigator #Philip #Marlowe drives around LA.

“#It still captures the essence of #Los #Angeles. #So he achieved, to me, a rare level of art … that still inspires me every time I try to do my own take on #Los #Angeles.”

#Connelly says #American postmodern novelist and satirist #Kurt #Vonnegut was a key author on his teenage bookshelf.

“#It was just [because of the] unbounded imagination in his books and at the same time, his books had a message.”

#Connelly’s 1996 novel The #Poet is filled with allusions to macabre short story writer and poet #Edgar #Allan #Poe.

“I hope I write them [books] where you feel like you’ve just got to check over your shoulder, just make sure there’s no one behind you. #And I think that was something that #Poe was great at.”

#Jennifer #Egan

The novelist Jennifer Egan standing outside, bridge in background
“[The House of Mirth] is a really emotionally gripping book that every time I read, it makes me cry hard,” says #Egan.(#Supplied: #Hachette / #Peter M. #Van #Hattem)

#American writer #Jennifer #Egan won the 2011 #Pulitzer #Prize for A #Visit from the #Goon #Squad, and she says the bookshelf that made her would have to include #Ralph #Ellison‘s 1952 novel about the lives of #African #Americans in the 40s, #Invisible #Man.

“I feel like #Ellison took the tools of modernism — which basically was about trying to use language to more accurately map consciousness — and took it a step further and used it to map exclusion.”

The #House of #Mirth by #Edith #Wharton, a 1905 novel about an impoverished socialite in #New #York #City’s high society, is also on #Egan’s bookshelf.

The historical backdrop of #Egan’s critically acclaimed 2018 novel #Manhattan #Beach is the #Depression and #World #War II, and #Egan says #Don #DeLillo‘s weighty 1997 tome #Underworld, about the #Cold #War and its aftermath, is another of her formative reads.

“#Sometimes fiction can tell me more than non-fiction about what it was like to be alive at a certain time … #In reading #Underworld, I got a sense of the textures of #Cold #War life all over #America.”

#Andrew O’#Hagan

Portrait of Scottish author Andrew O'Hagan in a white shirt and black jacket.
O’#Hagan says The #Strange #Case of #Dr. #Jekyll and #Mr. #Hyde by #Robert #Louis #Stevenson would be on the bookshelf that made him.(#Supplied: #Allen and #Unwin)

#Don #DeLillo also appears on the foundational bookshelf of #Booker-nominated #Scottish writer #Andrew O’#Hagan.

#But O’#Hagan — whose latest novel #Mayflies’ first half is filled with the sounds, sights and politics of 80s UK — was influenced by #DeLillo’s #Libra, a 1998 novelistic telling of the #Kennedy assassination.

“#It takes the whole culture in … the musical landscape, television, newsreels, cinema, mystery stories, the whole beat of #America at that time, has been worked into that book, and that’s a real inspiration for me,” says O’#Hagan.

#Another formative book for the novelist is #Norma #Jean, a 1959 biography of #Marilyn #Monroe by #Fred #Lawrence #Guiles, which he picked up at age 12, by chance, at a hairdresser.

“I was absolutely lost in the story. #And it taught me something about writing, which is about … somehow creating a little piece of model arithmetic on the page, where they [the reader] can put themselves in place of the characters and see their own lives afresh.”

#What rounds out O’#Hagan’s bookshelf? #He says it has to have #Wuthering #Heights by #Emily #Bronte, as well as the novels of #Graham #Greene and #Truman capote.

“[Those books] just seemed to show a sense of what was possible as a writer.”



[ source link ]
https://www.abc.net.au/news/2021-01-01/michael-connelly-heather-rose-books-reading-literature/12975812

##Michael ##Connelly ##Heather ##Rose #worlds #writers #reveal #books #shaped

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