I was born in the States, the outcome of an Oklahoma - Pennsylvania love story, but bred in Europe. My taste for stories started a long time ago with Mom reading to us every evening for hours and giving us free access to the stash of Classics Illustrated a mile high she had thrown into the great ocean liner trunks along with other artefacts, such as vegetable peelers and pie tins, when she decided to cross the seas with her brood. As we grew in years, we graduated from Uncle Wiggly, Uncle Remus and Pogo to the great epics and then on to the world's classics. I still remember my brother's laughter when we got to The Pickwick Papers and must confess I fell asleep during most of The Brothers Karamazov, but was totally enthralled by War and Peace.
I sometimes try to draw up a list of my most loved books, something like a top ten.
It would read - today - like this :
Lolita by V. Nabokov
War With The Newts by K. Capek
God's Grace by B. Malamud
Anna Karenin by L. Tolstoy
La Soif et Autres Nouvelles by Ivo Andritch
Ferdydurke by W. Gombrowicz
The Barsoom Novels by Edgar Rice Burroughs
The Things They Carried by T. O'Brien
Le Testament Français by Andreï Makine
A Good Man is Hard to find and Other Stories by F. O'Connor
Us by E. Zamiatine
Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
Of course, it's easy to remember the works that have marked generations. However, we don't only feed on 'literature' - there are myriads of other books out there of a less lofty nature that we have read and thoroughly enjoyed, but whose titles or authors have faded from our memory. So, the big blank space in the middle of the list is for all those writers whose work has given me countless hours of excitement and pleasure - writers of genre fiction.
One day, however, the unthinkable happens - you reach for a book and after a few pages, you let if fall back down. It's not what you wanted - the shoe doesn't fit - so you pick up another and it happens again… Then there's only one thing left to do - sit down at your computer and start writing…