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Great Authors?

Community Veteran
Posts: 7,149
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Registered: 30-08-2007

Great Authors?

For the readers out there. Have you ever read anything by a well known author and been bitterly disappointed?
I've never read a John le Carre novel before now. But am trying to plough through the impenetrable "Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy"  JLC's writing style is odd to say the least with strange abrupt changes to third person removed often without punctuation. Chapter changes in the middle of a conversation seem quirky to say the least. I've read thesis of quantum physics that have been easier to read.
Not sure I'm going to finish this and certainly won't be buying another (Kindle version)
Experience; is something you gain, just after you needed it most.

When faced with two choices, simply toss a coin. It works not because it settles the question for you. But because in that brief moment while the coin is in the air. You suddenly know what you are hoping for.
26 REPLIES
Community Veteran
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Re: Great Authors?

@Petlew, must agree with you wrt to "Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy".
Eric Van Lustbader when he took over the 'Jason Bourne' character (The Bourne Objective.......Deception.....Sanction.... etc), feel somehow Lustbader 'lost the Bourne plot'
Khaled Hosseini...A Thousand Splendid Suns, the sequel to "Kite Runner" was nowhere near the same class
Most co-authored or multi-authored novels where the primary author is '"The Name" but the second author has obviously done the work I just don't have time for. The Clive Cussler series when he wrote as a ‘stand alone’ author were very readable, when he "co-authored", his books seemed to loose credibility. Same with James Patterson
I generally don’t enjoy novels or autobiographies that have been ‘ghost written’ there are one or two exceptions, the “Chris Ryan” (Ghost writer for Colin Armstrong) stories I’ve heard are written by a female colleague, I find them amusing.
Community Veteran
Posts: 7,149
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Registered: 30-08-2007

Re: Great Authors?

Yes. Normally I will read anything from Greek Mythology to the classics with most things in between and that's before starting on non-fiction.
As far as "action" authors are concerned I always enjoyed the early Stephen Coonts and Dale (not Dan) Brown novels but both became very repetitious and frankly dull. The same goes for Patrick Robinson. An author who went seriously down hill in my opinion is James Herbert shortly after "The Magic Cottage"
But these are mainstream well known authors together with many others. Have you ever read a prize winning book? such as the Pulitzer or Booker. 
Experience; is something you gain, just after you needed it most.

When faced with two choices, simply toss a coin. It works not because it settles the question for you. But because in that brief moment while the coin is in the air. You suddenly know what you are hoping for.
randpwar
Grafter
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Registered: 01-08-2007

Re: Great Authors?

Quote from: Petlew
Have you ever read a prize winning book? such as the Pulitzer or Booker. 

Haven't looked it up but Atonement by Ian McEwan was an excellent read and I'm sure was either nominated or won the Booker Prize. Later, of course, made into a film which I haven't yet seen but reckon we have a dvd of it lying around somewhere; but there I'm in danger of sending your thread off in a 'Book v Film of book' sort of way 
Community Veteran
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Re: Great Authors?

Simon Mower - The Glass Room, published by Little, Brown in January 2009, was on the Man Booker shortlist.
This book was left in the site accommodation on a power station build in Nigeria. I was just at the stage where I was reading the cereal packets and instructions for my malaria tablets so I gave it a go.
Brilliant a book about architecture, Illicit love and the Nazis!  Smiley Cheesy Roll eyes
How can you put that together but it works  Smiley  
Edit: just read the OP! sorry this was a nominee I liked......  Roll eyes
To do is to be - Neitzsche
To be is to do - Kant
do be do be do - Sinatra
Community Veteran
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Registered: 30-07-2007

Re: Great Authors?

I've read a lot of John Le Carre, and always found them good.  He does have a quirky style, but I think really captures the emotion of characters.  I always wanted to know what happened to "Jumbo" the schoolboy in Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy.
I've read all the Discworld novels a number of times, and they only improve with reading, sadly the last 2 or 3 have a "winding up the story" feel to them,
I agree with CS Lewis - he said that if a book is any good, then you should be able to read it multiple times.
Asimov for Sci Fi. I don't read a lot of autobiographies, but loved the Richard Hammond one.
Tolkien is amazing, but after a while, you start to speed read the descriptive passages.  I'm sure I'll think of others, as soon as i hit the "Post" button Roll eyes
John
Community Veteran
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Re: Great Authors?

Quote from: randpwar
but there I'm in danger of sending your thread off in a 'Book v Film of book' sort of way 

Please feel free...
One of my favourite authors is James Clavell, read "Shogun" at least once a year. But have never finished after numerous attempts "Whirlwind"
But don't think they transfer to the screen particularly well, indeed, the TV mini-series of Shogun seemed somehow to change the entire point of the book.
Experience; is something you gain, just after you needed it most.

When faced with two choices, simply toss a coin. It works not because it settles the question for you. But because in that brief moment while the coin is in the air. You suddenly know what you are hoping for.
randpwar
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Re: Great Authors?

Well I guess the obvious one is Frankenstein, a book I’ve read and found to be a very moving novel, whereas the films, or the great majority of them anyway, are……….well, you know
Community Veteran
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Re: Great Authors?

Quote from: Petlew
Have you ever read a prize winning book? such as the Pulitzer or Booker. 

Hard to say  really, not sure what is prize winning and what isn't, never consciously gone out and purchased 'prize winning literature', although for Christmas from one of my Aunts I normally get the booker prize shortlist, they normally get finished by the end of the Christmas Holidays, an Amazon box has already arrived, I’m guessing its http://www.amazon.co.uk/shortlist-Collection-hardcover-snowdrops-menagerie/dp/B005TSUAEY/ref=sr_1_1?...
One Book > Film that I thought was an improvement was Blade Runner by Philip K. Dick
I did attended a Pratchett lecture once his quote on Tolkien amused me
“If as a 13 y.o. you don’t believe Tolkien is the greatest author there is something wrong with you
If by the age of 21 you still believe Tolkien is the greatest author there is something very wrong with you”
Fiction on my bedside table at present include:-
The House by the Dvina (Fraser)
Austerlitz  (Seabald)
Snuff (Pratchett)
The First Circle (Solzhenitsyn)
The Affair (Child)
Non Fiction include:-
Small is Beautiful  (Schumacher)  100 years since his birth
Field Geophysics (Milsom)
Glacier Science and Environmental Change (Knight)
Plus latest Journals of Oikos, Jökull & Polar Record
randpwar
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Re: Great Authors?

Quote from: journeys
[One Book > Film that I thought was an improvement was Blade Runner by Philip K. Dick

Yep that’s a good one. The film of Catch-22 (my favourite novel) was also a very good attempt at a nigh on impossible to film book.
Funny you mention Philip K Dick, I discovered this author soon after leaving school (via the NME IIRC) and had a period of time where I read him almost exclusively and have also fairly recently re-read Through A Scanner Darkly
CJ
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Re: Great Authors?

Quote from: Petlew
For the readers out there. Have you ever read anything by a well known author and been bitterly disappointed?

Yes, Dan Brown's The Davinci Code.
That's not strictly accurate as I didn't finish the book - after it receiving such fantastic reviews I was expecting it to be the type you can't put down, but putting it down wasn't a problem.
Community Veteran
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Registered: 11-08-2007

Re: Great Authors?

i did enjoy jack higgins until he started his cut and paste method of taking paragraphs from earlier books and cobbling them together into a less than rivetting read.
Community Veteran
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Re: Great Authors?

J.T Edson does that as well, more like include photocopy (can't beat a good cowboy comic).
Ahh the "fire watch" night shift on a research station, took me a week to read them all (Dusty Fogg, Mark Counter) , brings back memories.
Quote from: artificer
started his cut and paste method of taking paragraph

That accounts for why all his churches have Lych Gates..............and I thought he had a Lych Gate fetish Embarrassed
David_W
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Re: Great Authors?

The Twilight series are seriously badly written, how these books can be best sellers is way beyond me yet now it's given rise to a cult, hit movies etc.  My inner intellect weeps.
When I was a kid I loved Sci-Fi books, I was about 7-8 and into Asimov, Clarke, the hard core stuff, and also Clive Barker oddly (weird horror books).  But there was a book I read as a kid called Cop Shooter, it's about a dog called Cop (from slang meaning a dead puppy or something, Shooter being his surname), I found it recently and hadn't read it in 25 years I guess, it was still one of the most beautiful stories I've ever read, a gentle story and just amazing.
Community Veteran
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Registered: 30-08-2007

Re: Great Authors?

A mainstream author who often transfers well to the screen is the late Michael Crichton, who is a very well known screen writer as well particularly of medical dramas (ER) His novels Jurassic Park and Lost World given their unlikely story lines transferred to the big screen quite well I thought. But many of his novels have been filmed; Disclosure, Rising Sun (the only other film I liked Sean Connery in ***) The Andromeda Strain and Sphere to name a few.
(*** the other one being "The Hill")
Experience; is something you gain, just after you needed it most.

When faced with two choices, simply toss a coin. It works not because it settles the question for you. But because in that brief moment while the coin is in the air. You suddenly know what you are hoping for.