Monday, April 21, 2014
R is for...Rowling, Roach, and Rushdie
Happy Monday...and Easter hangover day. It was a very busy weekend and this week doesn't look too good for a slow down. Regardless, it's another day in the A-Z Challenge and today is all about the letter R. I'm bringing you the following R authors: JK Rowling, Mary Roach, and Salman Rushdie.
JK Rowling (1965-)
This is a given if you know me at all. I am a huge fan of the Harry Potter series (I re-read the entire series almost every summer), have posted multiple times on the series, and continually attempt to convince people who haven't read the books that they are fantastic and they should read them...NOW! I remember putting off reading the HP series for years, but one weekend of camping effectively cured that notion. When you're camping and you've finished all the books you brought with you, you have to have something to occupy some of the downtime. Luckily my mother had the first two books stowed away and thus my love for the boy who lived was born. I've never looked back. In fact, while I was working on my graduate degree in Edinburgh, Scotland, I purposely visited several of the sites Rowling utilized while writing the series: The Elephant House, a second floor nondescript Chinese restaurant, the Balmoral Hotel. Sad, but true. Read the Harry Potter series if you haven't. She also published The Casual Vacancy to mixed reviews. It's been sitting on my bookshelf unread as of yet. Recently, Rowling came out with a new book, The Cuckoo's Calling, under the pen-name Robert Galbraith. It received mixed reviews, but I still plan on reading it.
*Recommendation: Harry Potter...all of them!
Mary Roach (1959-)
I like weird, macabre things (as my P post highlighted) and Mary Roach feeds right into that trait. An American writer specializing in popular science, Roach's writing is accessible and, at times, rather funny. One thing that I really admire Roach for is her hands on approach to research. She doesn't simply stand on the sidelines collecting data. Instead, she volunteers for experiments and will do just about anything in the name of science. That's pretty awesome. In addition, her writing style is unique in that, though scientifically based, she purposely utilizes language so that her books are reader-friendly and welcoming. She selects topics that are based upon the human body and that often have some gross or disturbing aspect to them. Despite this, much of her writing is comical and you will find yourself laughing out loud while reading. Her books are a real treat.
*Recommendation: Stiff: The Curious Life of Human Cadavers
Salman Rushdie (1947-)
Indian-British novelist Salman Rushdie takes a lot of his influence from Gabriel Garcia Marquez and magical realism (discussed in my M post). His writing is dense and rewarding. One thing to note when reading Rushdie...there are always a ton of characters to remember and a lot that happens in a short amount of time. Sometimes breaks are necessary in order to process what is happening while you're reading. Despite this, he's brilliant. I first read Rushdie in a Lit Theory course. We read one novel, Midnight's Children, the entire 11 weeks and spent our time working with different theoretical approaches. It was brilliant. In 1988, Rushdie published his most controversial novel, The Satanic Verses. This one book led to heated Muslim protests and death threats toward Rushdie. In fact, a fatwa was place on Rushdie's head by Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the Supreme Leader of Iran, in 1989, forcing the author into hiding. It was also declared that any bookstore stocking the book would be subject to punishment of various kinds. This one book sparked violence around the world, including the firebombing of bookstores, book burnings, public rallies, attacking/killing those who published or translated the book, etc. Also, because of the fatwa, there were several assassination attempts on Rushdie's life. Since that time, Rushdie has enjoyed great success with his work. He has also been knighted by the Queen and currently resides in New York City.
*Recommendation: Midnight's Children...winner of the Man Booker Prize in 1991.
**Honorable Mentions: Rick Riordan and Nora Roberts
Who are some of your favorite R authors?