I wish I had the time and concentration to diagram a list of the books I read. For some reason, there is always a connecting thread between them. Four books that I read in row somehow ended up with narrators or leading characters who were deformed. They’re not really conscious choices–I’ll just read whatever someone lends me, or whatever suddenly jumps to the top of my want list, either from a review, or a new release, or a recommendation or an author’s advice. Like “A Girl Named Zippy,” written by Haven Kimmel, led me to read an interview with the author who said she admired John Crowley, of whom I’d never heard. Now I’ve read two of his novels and have two on their way. I mentioned “Little, Big” to my friend Osla (watch in IE; doesn’t seem to work in Mozilla), who in turn recommended an Australian, Peter I Forgot His Last Name, who was terrific. Then Osla told me that the granddaddy to this whole faction of writers, the one who inspired C.S. Lewis and Auden was George MacDonald who wrote “Lilith” in 1895. It’s a terrible cover, isn’t it? So far, I love it.
From Amazon: George MacDonald (1824-1905) was a Scottish author, teacher, and, briefly, clergyman, whose theology was too personal and idiosyncratic for him to remain on the pulpit for very long, but whose imagination led him to write two of the most important visionary novels of the 19th century, “Phantastes” and “Lilith.”
I can’t believe I went at least ten years reading only nonfiction.