Consuming literature is one of the greatest joys in my life, from self-published, modern authors to the literary classics. Similarly, I like reading a traditional paperback as much as I enjoy more interactive fiction.

Fairly hypocritically, I’m not that big a fan of eBooks really, although I’ll definitely read them if I can’t get a hand on a physical copy. Hell, I think the first eBook I ever bought was “Fear And Loathing In Las Vegas”, and that was only because I needed it for a class later that day.

I’m often criticised by friends of mine for my reading list, and it’s rare that I’ll read something by someone who’s still alive – although if I do see an independent eBook that looks interesting, I’ll always at least read the free portion.

So, rather than just go through all the writers that I already like, and focus on learning more about their work, I thought I’d go through the list of authors that I haven’t started to read yet, but are sitting firmly on my to-do shelf.

Top 9 Authors I Want To Read In 2016!

Now, these aren’t authors that have risen to fame at any point over the last few years, but they are authors that I want to have read before the end of the year. I’ll admit, I’ve not made much reading progress so far, (I’ve been more focused on reading back through Camus, Miller and Bukowski), but I will do!

James BaldwinJames Baldwin, Distinguished Visiting Professor

Born in 1924, Baldwin was one of the US’ leading sociological and political writers, particularly in his dealings with race and sexuality. His essays are the stuff of legend, particularly his first collection Notes Of A Native Sun.

I’m not really sure how I’m going to approach his work, but I think I’m probably going to start with the infamous Sonny’s Blues, which is a regular appearance in a range of introductory anthologies to American literature.

George Gissing

An English novelist born in 1857, Gissing was the mind behind several great works of English Literature, including New Grub Street and The Nether World. New Grub Street, in fact, was named the 28th best novel by the Guardian some years ago, and it’s been on my reading list ever since.

Gissing has never been a hugely popular Victorian writer, but he has since been applauded for his brutal look at Victorian literary life.

 

Walter ScottWalter Scott Novel Cover

One of the most famous Scottish writers of all time, Walter Scott’s diverse range of novels and poetry are still read by hundreds of thousands of people every year. Some of the most well-known include Rob Roy, The Lady Of The Lake, The Heart Of Midlothian and Waverley.

His influence can still be seen throughout Edinburgh and Scotland. Addressing both contemporary (at the time) and historical Scottish issues, much of Scott’s writing was done in a post-bankrupt haste as he tried to keep his creditors away.

James Hogg

Another Scottish poet and novelist who was actually a James Hogg Novel Coverclose friend of Walter Scott. His most well-known work is The Private Memoirs And Confessions Of A Justified Sinner but his long-form poem The Queen’s Wake was also extremely popular.

His literary work was acclaimed during his life, mostly due to his ability to overcome his humble origins and make a success of his writing without any benefits supplied by high-birth or inherited money. He was regarded as a man of great intellect, albeit he was a little brusque and often offensive.

Simone de Beauvoir

Certainly one of the most well-known names on this list, de Beauvoir was a feminist existentialist and close compatriot of the French existentialism school. She was also widely known as a result of her open relationship with the philosopher and novelist Jean-Paul Sartre.

Although I will eventually get around to reading her well known 1949 treatise on feminism, The Second Sex, I am more interested in her fictional work including The Blood Of Others.

Nicholson Baker

Widely regarded as an experimental novelist, the idea behind The Mezzanine is what draws me to this author. The entire novel takes place in an escalator ride, but every page is dedicated to addressing certain parts of the ride with maddening detail.

As someone who has previously been accused of talking about the details too much, the idea is fascinating to me.

Johnny CashJohnny Cash Novel

Yeah, the Cash. I’ve been a long-time fan of Cash’s music, but I found out a few months ago that he wrote a book called The Man In White. The title is clearly designed to reflect his own title, The Man In Black.

Although he is still widely considered one of the best musicians of the 20th century, I’m still kind of in two halves about this book. Trouble is, I’m hugely anti-religious, and The Man In White is a novel about St. Peter. I’ll still give it a try, but I’m not in too much of a rush to check it out.

Saul Bellow

Believed by many to be one of the 20th century’s greatest authors, I’m excited to start reading Bellow’s work. Some of the many themes in his work which appeal to me include modern civilisation’s ability to create a kind of materialistic madness, and how knowledge can be used to mislead people.

A friend of mine told me that Bellow’s work also contains themes of redemption, and promotes the strength of the human spirit.

Lu Xun

Although I’ve not read much Chinese literature (excepting the Romance of the Three Kingdoms) Lu Xun seems like an interesting author to me. In particular, his 1919 work ‘A Madman’s Diary’ looks particularly interesting. The entire narrative revolves around the writer’s fear of cannibalism, and how he sees it occurring around him.

Although it is all only paranoia, it seems like a fascinating idea to explore, particularly when considered in terms of society and capitalism.

Any Writers You Think I Should Reading?

I’m always on the lookout for new authors and poets to read, so if you’ve got any suggestions, please don’t hesitate to let me know! I’d especially like to know about any self-published authors that are pushing more experimental forms of literature, particularly any self-reflective, personal kind of writing.

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