Friday 18 April 2008

A-Z Favourites

You know how sometimes an idea will pop into your head, and you can't ignore it? I imagine that's how Einstein and Newton and... and those other science guys... felt. On a similar, potentially less significant, scale, I have been pondering - if I had to pick a favourite author for each letter of the alphabet, and the accompanying novel, how would that go?

Expecting me to tri-sect the angle, were you? (I maintain that this is easily performed with a ruler, but The Carbon Copy and Our Vicar, both holders of Maths degrees, assure me that it's trickier than that) Sadly not. But this might be fun. And once you've read mine, I'm sure you won't be able to resist making your own...
And I should have included? Some you're surprised to see? Let me kn

AUSTEN, Jane - Pride and Prejudice
BAKER, Frank - Miss Hargreaves
CROMPTON, Richmal - Frost at Morning
DELAFIELD, E. M. - The Provincial Lady
ELIOT, George - The Mill on the Floss
FADIMAN, Anne - Ex Libris
GIBBONS, Stella - Cold Comfort Farm

HANFF, Helene - 84, Charing Cross Road
I....... haven't read anything by anyone whose name begins with I... not even Ishiguro.
JANSSON, Tove - A Win
ter Book
KENDAL, Felicity - Wh
ite Cargo
vid - The Haunted Woman
MILNE, A. A. - It's Too Late Now
NOBLE, Barbara - Doreen
OLIVIER, Edith - The Love Child
PARK, Ruth - The Harp in the South
Q....... there must be some 'Q' authors out there? Q himself, I suppose.
ROWLING, J. K. - Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
SMITH, Dodie - I Capture the Castle

THWAITE, Ann - A. A. Milne : His Life
U....... guess what?

VOLTAIRE - Candide
WOOLF, Virginia - Mrs. Dalloway

X....... who'd have thought?
YOUNG, Angela - Speaking of Love
Z....... should have seen that coming...


  1. Great idea. I'm putting my thinking cap on and will be making my list soon.

    It will probably include some of yours - Austen for example. Guess what - 'U' and 'X' will be the same as yours as well.

  2. Oh, yes, you've got me thinking too....

  3. You had better read some Zola!

  4. I think I recommended Zamyatin to you in a previous weblog comment.

  5. you've got me thinking...guess I'm going to have to start making my list!

  6. Ishiguro - 'When We Were Orphans' is well worth a read... and I'm sure I have a copy somewhere.
    I can do you Peter Ustinov's 'The Loser' from the Honey Pot - yours for 40p!

  7. Q:
    Thomas de Qunicy
    Arthur Quiller-Couch
    Anon De Quevedo
    Eca De Queiroz

    plus a whole host of living authors (many of whom I don't think you would wish to read!).

    Much more of a challenge (unless you read Chinese), so Xenophon, Xenocrates, and Maloclm X are the best I could come up with.

  8. I thought you meant that the novel also had to begin with the initial letter of the author's last name ... but that could be because I was up late last night and am not reading accureatly this morning/afternoon!

    Also could I suggest Updike, John - particularly Rabbit at Rest? It's a long long time since I read it but I still remember laughing ... at least I think I remember laughing ... .

  9. It seems I am not spelling accureatly this afternoon either ... and I meant to thank you for including Speaking of Love. Thank you.

  10. Ah, Angela, that was a challenge I set a while ago - whole new one now!

    Peter - ah, yes Zamyatin - I remember you recommendation now, will have to look out for him (I assume him??) And 'Q' was mentioned, aka Arthur Quiller-Couch - I've only read bits and pieces by him, so didn't include a whole book, though he did write a poem called 'On Eckington Bridge', which was about the small village in which I grew up.

  11. U = Barry Unsworth
    Z = Stefan Zweig

    Both of whom made my list at

    Like you, I'm stuck on Q and X.

    And I'm nicking your E - Middlemarch being the Eliot for me!

  12. This is fun - I love reading other people's lists like this. I always come away with lots more authors for the TBR pile, however... I suggest two Johns - Irving and Updike for some of your missing letters, but X is a real problem!

  13. What a fabulous idea! I'm immediately stealing it and posting my version on my blog.

    (Mrs Dalloway is also my favourite Woolf. It was the book wot changed my life.)

  14. Oh I have done this so many times as an exercise to while away a wait for a train etc and will now do it again. And this time I will pinch your idea and blog about it....

  15. I've pinched your idea and done my own too... on my blog.

  16. I've never thought about making this sort of of course I won't be able to help myself. Some of these titles are new to me, so must go look them up. Thanks for the idea!

  17. I've yet to spot anyone with an X-author on their list.

  18. Great list of books! Here are some suggestion for missing letters--
    I--Irving, John
    Z--Zafon, Carlos Ruiz
    Q--Quindlen, Anna

    Now I think I might have to start my own list!

  19. I had no time or energy for this when I read about the first time - but couldn't resist it anyway so I've written about it on my blogs (in Swedish at

  20. If you check out my English (Swenglish) blog (It's Always Tea-Time)you'll find links to some of the Swedish authors.

  21. This was a delightful exercise; thanks for coming up with it. It provided much food for thought during dull work moments... :)

  22. Hi Simon,
    I would recommend the novels of Patrick Hamilton or Henry Green.


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