I know I often say on this blog that I’ve found a new favorite book – or, that I’ve really enjoyed a particular book and now I’m hooked on a series of related stories. But it has taken a long time for me to say that I’ve found a new favorite author (it might even go back to Primo Levi, who is now the subject of my dissertation).
I’m a graduate student. I read for a living, or at least in the hopes of reading for a living. I read fiction, nonfiction, literary theory, criticism and philosophy day in and day out. I take a lot of books out of the library. I mark up books (not from the library, though) with notes and thoughts, usually about the ways that I can relate the books together or to note where a passage will help me make an argument. I take notes of the things that I read, so when I return to the book to write about it I will be able to find the pertinent quotes for the paper, article, etc more easily, because time is energy and sometimes I lack both. But I can’t remember the last time that I wrote down a quote because it was beautiful, or because it made my heart swell and want to read it to someone nearby, even a stranger. As I sat in my living room, the car, and a coffeeshop reading Frank Delaney's novel Ireland (because I did all three in as many days), I wrote down passages, even adding one to my facebook profile (which is really, immensely nerdy, but I couldn’t help myself).
As soon as I finished Ireland I walked to the bookstore and bought two more of Delaney’s books: Tipperary, which he himself told me is the next logical step (wait, I’ll get to that), and Venetia Kelly’s Traveling Show, which is his newest release (and, therefore, I can say that I have a first edition of it, even though I would just die if I stumbled across a first edition of Ireland – not literally, but you already knew that).
Oh, how did he tell me about Tipperary, you ask? Two days ago, I posted on twitter: “I’m #reading ‘Ireland’ by Frank Delaney. And it’s wonderful.” And, what happened? Frank Delaney started following me! I was shocked and really excited. I didn’t even know he was on twitter. So, I finish the book, and I want to start it again, or just let the universe out there know how much I loved it, or something, so I posted: “Just finished #reading Ireland by Frank Delaney: beautiful, epic, genuine. Thank you, @FDbytheword.” And he replied to it. It was the most awesome acknowledgment. He just, replied. Said thank you for the compliment. I about died.
So, what’s so great about Frank Delaney's writing? It’s some of the best storytelling I’ve read in ages. It's natural, the characters are likable and realistic, and there's something that makes it seem like he is there, in the room, telling the story. The language is rich, without awkwardness, and always has something to offer.
The moment that you know you've found an author, whether it's a new author or someone who is new to you, and you've really connected with what the author is saying, is a great moment. Who are some of your favorite authors?