Inspiration

I was thinking about making these first posts give you an impression of who I am, and the first thing that comes to mind is reading. I’m guessing that most people who like to write also like to read, and in my case that is correct. I’m also guessing that a person’s writing and reading are connected, that you can see some sort of influence and inspiration between them. So what do I like to read? What authors and books inspire me?

There are some books that have meant more to me than others. The novel that awoke  my love of reading for real was Thérèse Raquin by Émile Zola. It was in high school I was given the assignment to read and review it and after that I just couldn’t get enough of books. I plowed through a lot of french classics during that time and came across a novel which I still consider one of the greatest books I’ve ever read; Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert.

Roughly seven years ago, when I was twenty, I happened (by chance) to stumble over the novel that has affected me the most; the book that gave birth to my dream of writing and the book I still view as my personal favorite and keep very close to my heart; The New York trilogy by Paul Auster. It stuck in my mind for months after reading it, I just couldn’t stop thinking about it. I was so impressed of how amazing it was, how thought-provoking and powerful Auster’s writing was. Since then I buy everything I can find by Paul Auster and I am almost becoming a Auster-collector. He is the writer who I view as my biggest source of inspiration.

If I am to list the writers that inspire me the most and name my favorites out of their work, my spontaneous list would look like this:

  • Paul Auster – The New York trilogy, Oracle night, Invisible, The book of illusions
  • Haruki Murakami – Kafka on the shore, Norwegian wood, Sputnik sweetheart
  • Franz Kafka – The trial, The castle, Metamorphosis
  • Fjodor Dostojevskij – Crime and punishment
  • Dennis Lehane – The given day, Mystic river
  • Émile Zola – Thérèse Raquin
  • Gustave Flaubert – Madame Bovary
  • Jack Kerouac – On the road
  • Carl-Johan Vallgren –The horrific sufferings of the mind-reading monster Hercules Barefoot – his wonderful love and terrible hatred, Documents concerning Rubashov the gambler

Pretty varied sources of inspiration, as you can see, and I guees that is mirrored in my writing as well. But more about that in another post!

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3 Responses to “Inspiration”

  1. Madame Vauquer Says:

    How interesting that you were assigned Thérèse Raquin in high school. I don’t know about now in the United States, but when I was in high school (in the 60s), there’s no way we’d be given an opportunity to read something like that. The only French author I can recall from my school days is Maupassant. Fascinating and compelling book.

    The Yahoo French Literature group did an informal poll and everyone listed their top ten or twenty books. Madame Bovary was the only book that was included on everyone’s list.

  2. wontstopwriting Says:

    Hey, thank’s for stopping by!

    I had an amazing teacher in swedish in high school, he was like a living encyclopedia of literature and inspired us to read all sorts of different books. We got assigned both Swedish classics like Strindberg and Lagerlöf, but also classics from different countries like Dostojevskij, Kafka, Dickens and Zola. It was a great thing, really opened up my eyes for literature, and now it’s become a great passion for me. What did you get to read in high school?

  3. Madame Vauquer Says:

    Back in my day in high school, we read mostly stuff like Austen, Dickens and Shakespeare. I think there is more variety now and some books which weren’t considered acceptable reading then are now read. I heard that during the transition, Eugenie Grandet was the only Balzac book deemed suitable, but now Pere Goriot is sometimes set. Really it was pretty much all American or British.

    You mentioned Strindberg and Kafka. Two of their short stories are coming up for discussion next month at:
    http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Nutshell_Cubbyhole/

    For a week beginning April 8 it will be A Country Doctor by Franz Kafka and the following week the read and discussion will be Half a Sheet of Foolscap by August Strindberg.

    We’d love to have you join us if you’re interested and have the time.

    The Saga of Gösta Berling by Selma Lagerlöf comes up in a different group, but that is not until October.

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