So we are more than half way through The Bee’s list of 50 poets and writers to read before you are 50.
How do you like it so far? Do you know any of the author’s and poets? And could you give me some suggestions that I don’t know yet?
Today we start with a German classic and end with a German classic:
31. Thomas Mann: Thomas Mann’s first novel “The Buddenbrooks” is probably one of the reasons I always wanted to write a novel. We had to read it in school and I was so fascinated by his description of the Hanseatic family’s fortunes and decline. His characters are so captivating that you feel you stand right beside them and experience the whole thing first hand. Of course, he has written much more and you could also go for his brother Heinrich or his children Erika, Klaus and Golo all of which are brilliant writers too.
32. Pasi Ilmari Jaaskelainen: He is one of my favourite discoveries in 2017. I chose his “The Rabbit Back Literature Society” purely because I liked the title but my goodness was I in for a reading ride. In Finland, he or s more known for his sci-fi/fantasy stories but his journey into mystery mixed with magical realism is certainly worth to stray from your usual reading ground.
33. Carlos Ruiz Zafon: Now we are off to Spain and Barcelona in particular. A hidden library full of secret books, a love story and a man who wants to destroy an author’s entire work? If that doesn’t make you curious what will :-)? That book made me want to visit the city and the walking tour descriptions at the end of the book just added to it. Zafon wrote this book as the first part of a trilogy, however, the other two books follow other storylines. There is much to discover with Mr Zafon.
34. Pablo Neruda: I have not read many of his poems but those I read made me long to go to South America. Not that I wanted to now. However, his poetic voice is passionate, critical and you should not miss it.
35. Jostein Gaarder: My favourite book by Jostein Gaarder is a controversial one. “Sophie’s World” is the story of Sophie who gets a home course in philosophy by the mysterious Alberto Knox. Many think this is a rather patronising book as it emphasises the importance of taking care of the natural world as well as keeping peace with diplomatic means. To me though it is a brilliant way to learn about the basic philosophical ideas which have an influence on today’s thinking. He wrote many other novels so you can surely find one that appeals.
36. Kahlil Gibran: The only book I know by Khalil Gibran is probably his most famous in English speaking countries: The Prophet which is a book full of poetically written essays on life, the universe and everything. In Arabic speaking countries and Lebanon where he comes from especially, he is known as a literary rebel who broke away from the classical way of writing. That alone makes him come on this list.
37. Goscinny: Anyone who is into comics and France will have stumbled over Goscinny’s Asterix and Obelix books. Now, you can discuss if a comic should come under a list of poets and writers but I believe if you haven’t had a look into Goscinny’s hilarious view on European countries and their idiosyncrasies you are missing one of the most important reading experiences possible: laughing out loud!
37. Andres Neumann: Andres Neumann was a discovery I made in 2013 when I read his “Traveller of the Century” for The Independent Foreign Fiction Prize Readers Day. A book like no other that tells the love story of two translators in a fictional German town and its secrets and mysteries. Neumann has written several books from poetry to short stories, however, not all have been translated. I loved his mysterious way of guiding you through the story as well as his quirky characters. Certainly a modern writer you don’t want to miss.
39. Susanna Tamaro: Susanna Tamaro’s “Follow your heart” will always be connected with my grandmother whom I miss terribly. She gave it to me when I was about to move out from home and is probably the reason why I opened up to my grandmother’s stories more. Tamaro’s style is heartwarming and has been translated into many languages. Don’t miss this great Italian author.
40. Rainer Maria Rilke: Now I suspect he was translated a little and many have heard of him as he is “…widely recognized as one of the most lyrically intense German-language poets!” as Wikipedia states. His poetry is intense at times, wonderfully descriptive and just makes me want to read more. And I think that is exactly what I am going to do now ;-).
to be continued…
And what are you up to now?