G is for…

GG is for Graceless, geisha, and gargantuan novels:

Gaiman, Neil
George, Jean Craighead
Gibbons, Stella
Gilbert, Henry
Golden, Arthur
Goldman, William
Goodkind, Terry
Green, John

OK, we’ve had one too many light posts in a row, so G is going to bring our word count back up. Brace yourselves, here it comes.

What can I say about Neil Gaiman that the world doesn’t already know? The man is a fantastic author who can weave a fantasy world which can suck the reader in and keep a piece of them there forever. Do I have personal favorites? Of course. Anansi Boys is in my top five favorite books, kept there perhaps in part by my love of spiders, but also just because the story itself is so captivating, the myth and magic so realistic, and the humor so silly at times that I can’t help but fall in love again every time I read it. Neverwhere, of course is another favorite of mine, one which I find myself continuously inspired by. Likewise, Good Omens, written with Terry Pratchett also impressed me with its wicked humor and devilishly good story telling. But I don’t need to spend many words convincing you that Gaiman is worth a read. The only question that needs answering is which book next?

Jean Craighead George wrote what is probably my favorite book from my childhood, My Side of the Mountain, about a young boy named Sam who runs away from his cramped city apartment to cut himself out a life in the forest. The story spoke to the inner wild child in me at a time when I cherished my yearly summer escapes on my own to my uncle and aunt’s rustic cabin in the country. Pictured is George’s other famous work, Julie of the Wolves, which I haven’t read but if it is as good as My Side of the Mountain I’m sure I won’t be disappointed.

Cold Comfort Farm by Stella Gibbons is the kind of book which requires a lot of prior reading to fully understand all the nuances and allusions. Written as a parody of the popular genres of the time, Cold Comfort Farm pokes fun at tropes with a post modern character who breezes into the plot and undermines them all. Like many authors who become famous for one work at the expense of all their others, Gibbons resented how Cold Comfort Farm earned her the reputation of a one work novelist, despite having published twenty-two other books.

This recounting of the tale of Robin Hood by Henry Gilbert obviously isn’t the first. Stories of the famous moralistic bandit date back to the 13th century and have of course been embellished. Robin Hood started out as a commoner, for example, and over time has been elevated to the position of disposed nobleman fighting against an unjust usurper king.

I haven’t read Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden yet, though I want to. Golden has had an enviable scholarly career with an M.A. in both Japanese history and English. Subsequent to the publication of Memoirs of a Geisha, Golden was sued by Mineko Iwasaki–one of the geisha interviewed for the book–for failing to protect her identity. The lawsuit was settled out of court.

I haven’t read William Goldman‘s The Princess Bride yet, though I only just got it for my birthday last year. Like Burgess, Goldman also wrote a novel in three weeks: The Temple of Gold. I just might have to check that one out too.

I started reading Terry Goodkind‘s Sword of Truth series in high school and read it pretty faithfully through until Chainfire. At that point, I felt so bad for the main character that I couldn’t read any further. I have to wonder what Richard did to Goodkind to receive such constant, terrible abuse.

I haven’t read The Fault in Our Stars (pictured) or any of John Green‘s other books yet, but I do follow many of his YouTube channels, and greatly appreciate the Crash Course program he and his brother host. Without a doubt Green has a passion for words and learning, which makes him all right in my books.

 

You made it through to the end, now it’s recommendation time. Are there any books by the above authors I absolutely must read? Did I miss any fantastic ‘G’ authors? Let me know in the comments.

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33 thoughts on “G is for…

  1. Hmmm – many unknow G-authors for me there… But I am always in search for good-reads – and it seems to me that you blog is the perfect place to be throughout this challenge?!:-) I’ll be back for more- thanks for sharing:-)

  2. I forgot all about Julie of the Wolves. I should reread it as an adult. All my favorite G authors have been covered in your post or in the comments.

  3. I have Memoirs of a Geisha on my bookshelf unread as well. The only G author that comes to mind in Gail Gibbons. She’s a children’s book author. Just the teacher in me coming out.

  4. I still need to write my G post. Want to know something funny? I know these books by titles and not by authors. Ugh. Sad, right? I was reading this post thinking that I had no idea who these authors were until I kept reading. Stopping by from AtoZ and selfemployedwriter.com who is in the challenge and not my wordpress foodie site that’s logged in here 😉 Now, I must go figure out what my G is for today 😉

  5. Memoirs of a Geisha is a great read – I’ve seen the film too, but the book is better. Neil Gaiman is a passionate defender of libraries and therefore could do no wrong in my eyes, even if he wrote rubbish (which he doesn’t!)

    • Neverwhere is, in my opinion, one of his best works, so that’s a great taste of his writing and storytelling ability. I also recommend Anansi Boys and American Gods.

  6. I highly recommend “The Fault is in our Stars”… I want to say that there is a movie being made on the book but don’t quote me on that. Also if you haven’t already, check out Neil Gaimans video “Make Good Art”, its a short 15 min college graduation speech he did. It is so motivating and encouraging that I pull it up a couple times a month. It’s on youtube. Great list of G’s!

    • Yup, there’s a Fault in Our Stars movie coming out. Also, apparently a tour with the author and the actors. Movies about books don’t interest me all that much (I’m not a huge movie watcher on the best of days), but maybe this one will be different.

  7. I have Wizards First Rule by Terry Goodkind that’s been sitting on my shelf for a long time. One of these days I’ll get around to reading it, though after reading what you wrote about Goodkind’s books it may wait a little longer. Also Grimm’s Fairy Tales and She Stoops To Conquer, a comedy of manners by Oliver Goldsmith. I just read The Princess Bride recently. (More on that in a couple of days.) I’ll have to check out the books on your list.

    • If you stop at Wizard’s First Rule, more than likely you’ll have a good experience. After that, I guess it depends on your taste in narrative. I got bored with the one-trick “worst case scenario against my flawless protagonist” pattern that the books fell into, but I enjoyed the series more or less until around the 5th – 6th book.

  8. The Fault in Our Stars and Looking for Alaska are great John Green books that you should read, especially if you follow his vlogging. I think reading his books is extra fun because you can see his personality – the similarities between his characters and how he acts on YouTube.

    Michelle @ In Media Res

    • I think Looking for Alaska has been on a special want list in this house for a while. For some reason though, it’s never actually made it here. I’ll have to change that. Thanks for the recommendation!

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