Thank you all so much for your comments about review copies – I found them so interesting to read! I would have posted thanks yesterday, only we had an afternoon of thunderstorms that, of course, put our virgin media line out of commission, and we weren’t reconnected to the internet until some point during the night. It felt strangely peaceful not to be able to access the web, because so much of (my) life passes on it that it feels like an enforced holiday when it’s down. Although, to be fair, I seem to be suffering from ‘holidayitis’ at the moment, which is the chronic inability to organise my time and be productive. My son has finished his exams and is hanging out around the house, and it’s just too easy to waste time with him.
Anyway, given that an extra day to post has in no way sharpened up my thoughts about this week’s reading, I thought I’d start to compile a list of authors of contemporary fiction that I like. Lots of blog friends have been saying lately that they find themselves less attracted by current novels, and so I thought it would be interesting to remind myself who’s writing right now whose books I look out for with real interest. Feel free to disagree or suggest people I’ve forgotten. My only criteria are that the writer has to be alive and still writing – oh and, obviously for my own list, I had to have read them (that put out a lot of people I might have included by reputation alone – David Mitchell, Richard Powers, Mario Vargas Llosa, Hilary Mantel, Neil Gaiman, William Trevor, Ann Patchett).
Literary Fiction (hard to distinguish from general fiction, but I picked authors that I would prefer to read when not feeling tired, or there’s background noise going on – very scientific!)
Joyce Carol Oates
A, S. Byatt
General Fiction (dominated by women writers for me, I note)
C. J. Sansom
P. D. James (still alive!)
Fiction in Translation
Javier Marias (would have picked José Saramago but he died last year!)
Roberto Bolano (ETA – been reminded he’s dead – can’t think who should replace him)
Finally, there were writers I considered but left off: Fay Weldon, Jane Urquhart, Lionel Shriver, Audrey Niffenegger, Alice Munroe, Jonathan Franzen, Peter Ackroyd, Jeanette Winterson… and I’m sure there are lots of people I’ve forgotten.