Best writers ?

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Messages 81 - 100 of total 102 in this topic << First  |  < Previous  |  Show All  |  Next >  |  Last >>
Fat Dad

Trad climber
Los Angeles, CA
Nov 6, 2017 - 12:20pm PT
Nothing is wrong with the Norton Anthology.
I absolutely agree. Much of my initial introduction to the short story was from it. My copy is probably 30 yr. old and I still go back to it again and again. My point was there are also a lot of other good short stories not in it. There's only such much one can actually include in an anthology, though I haven't seen a recent version and so can't comment on any newer authors.

BTW, I agree with you about The Invisible Man. We studied it in 20th Century American Lit and it seemed firmly within the canon even back then and rightfully so.
j-tree

Big Wall climber
Typewriters and Ledges
Nov 6, 2017 - 04:42pm PT
Another vote for Cameron Burn's writing. Raw and funny without that sense of everything is sooo important.
nah000

climber
now/here
Nov 6, 2017 - 07:21pm PT
^^^^

sounds good.

any in particular you'd recommend?
Dave Davis

Social climber
Seattle, WA
Nov 10, 2017 - 12:02am PT
Surprised nobody has mentioned Robin Smith. He had a very wry and self-deprecating sense of humor. His output was rather sparse as he died young, but the couple of pieces I read of his were quite entertaining. "The Bat and the Wicked" was in one of the early editions of Ascent and "Goofy's Last Climb" I believe was in an issue of Mountain, but I can't remember when. I think those stories were originally published in some Scottish mountaineering journals from the late 50's or early 60's.
Podunk Climber

Trad climber
Nov 10, 2017 - 12:06am PT
Hard to beat TM Herbert if your reading letters written on the backs of wrinkled envelopes, torn-off remnants of brown paper bags, and the folds of soiled paper napkins.
Gregory Crouch

Social climber
Walnut Creek, California
Nov 10, 2017 - 12:27pm PT
Lots of great ones on this list. I know I'm supposed to like Salter more than I do. He's a West Point grad, after all. I enjoyed Solo Faces and The Hunters back in the day, just not as much as I hoped I would. The Hunters isn't The Bridges at To-Ko-Ri. I read A Sport and a Pastime and All That Is within the last year or two and they left me cold, despite the occasional superb sentence.

The relatively recent novel I strongly recommend is Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk by Ben Fountain. I've seen it described as the Catch-22 of the Iraq War, but I'd agree with that only in the sense that it's also a bitter satire. Billy Lynn is a beautifully drawn character. I'd know him if I passed him on the street. I couldn't recommend this novel more highly.

Great American novel? My vote goes to Huckleberry Finn, despite the awful conclusion. In fact, I think it's possible to identify within it the greatest single moment in American literature.
eeyonkee

Trad climber
Golden, CO
Nov 10, 2017 - 01:01pm PT
I like books with opening lines like..."Call me Eeyonkee."
sycorax

Boulder climber
Yoknapatawpha County
Nov 10, 2017 - 01:10pm PT
How is "lighting out for the territory ahead," choosing a slave's escape over organized religion a bad ending? Huck decides he doesn't care if he goes to hell for assisting Jim. Huck selects life on the river (nature) over the twisted dictates on land.

Recall that Twain set the manuscript aside for two years, just after the steamboat crashing into raft scene. Twain's politics and attitudes swerved left within the two years.

Having just finished teaching Gatsby for the umpteenth time, it really stands tall within the canon. Natural imagery as simple as fallen leaves surrounding Gatsby's body in the pool prove masterful. Equally stunning are Fitzgerald's ending insights involving land Dutch settlers saw for the first time and the current line ending the piece.
Gregory Crouch

Social climber
Walnut Creek, California
Nov 10, 2017 - 02:27pm PT
It felt like the book was heading toward some terrible doom, and then boom, everything winds up rosy.

But don't get me wrong, I think it's a towering accomplishment, a literary Astroman.
Gregory Crouch

Social climber
Walnut Creek, California
Nov 10, 2017 - 02:34pm PT
The last few paragraphs at the end of chapter 15 gets my vote as the high water mark of American lit.

In this version, it's on pp. 88.

Yes, it includes an awful word, but considering the context, the time of the writing, etc... it's the point Huck is forced to recognize that Jim is a man, his equal, worthy of respect and fair and considerate treatment.

And that was truly revolutionary in the context of 1880s America.
teamzepher

Trad climber
CA
Nov 10, 2017 - 02:36pm PT
Missing in the Minarets: The Search for Walter A. Starr, Jr. by William Alsup

Camp 4 was my first introduction to climbing literature.

Young Men and Fire by Norman Maclean

The Secret Knowledge of Water by Craig Childs

Anything by Edward Abbey

Hard to go wrong with Faulkner and Hemmingway as well.
Fat Dad

Trad climber
Los Angeles, CA
Nov 10, 2017 - 09:34pm PT
Greg, Huck Finn is the solid no. 2 on my Great American Novel List. No. 3 would be an interesting discussion. Kind of like discussing who's the best rock band after The Beatles and The Stones.
stevep

Boulder climber
Salt Lake, UT
Nov 11, 2017 - 08:55am PT
If we're talking short stories/novelas, hard to go wrong with Ray Bradbury. Though he gets pigeon-holed as a genre writer, he's the equivalent of most "literary" writers.
sycorax

Boulder climber
Yoknapatawpha County
Nov 11, 2017 - 09:03am PT
Commercial fiction versus literary fiction.
sycorax

Boulder climber
Yoknapatawpha County
Nov 11, 2017 - 09:18am PT
Having taken nine literature courses at Stanford over the past few years, here are two up-to-date sources required.
Credit: sycorax
Credit: sycorax
another nickname

Social climber
Yazoo Ms
Topic Author's Reply - Nov 11, 2017 - 02:40pm PT
Sorry. My original post was ill-considered.

The question isn't edifying.

People are struck by a given writer due to their personal circumstances as much as anything. This probably includes also their social/historical milieu. That is, a literate hillbilly will probably put the Bible at top of their list.... A 1950s hipster will name Satre, and Marx...

A favorite school teacher, what a would-be girlfriend suggested years ago....what grandma liked to read to you....Something that resonates with a particular landscape or milieu with which you happen to identify in some way....

Whatever people are reading today, if anything, I don't know and ....Its like church: you like going? So go....
Fat Dad

Trad climber
Los Angeles, CA
Nov 11, 2017 - 07:59pm PT
Another, the thread is about best writers, not best books. It's easy to confuse the two. I kind of merged them when discussed the Great American Novel. Still, if you're suggesting that the Bible is tripe, you need to reconsider your criteria.
another nickname

Social climber
Yazoo Ms
Topic Author's Reply - Nov 11, 2017 - 08:38pm PT
Some of my best friends are literate hillbillies. No I didn't make my point clear. It's that the reader must determine value. Obviously the reader's experience of value varies according to various aspects of the reader's personal context.

Wanna climb; you read guidebooks. Looking for God, then it's religious texts...etc. To say X book is "best" begs question "best for what?" Best for who and in what circumstance.
Largo

Sport climber
The Big Wide Open Face
Nov 11, 2017 - 09:44pm PT
Speaking of Ellison and Invisible Man, you want to get the goods from Ralph, read his jazz writing. That genius level stuff there.
micronut

Trad climber
Fresno/Clovis, ca
Nov 11, 2017 - 11:00pm PT
Climbing: Deep Play by Paul Pritchard seems to always enthrall me. It stays on my nightstand. I also really love anything by Andy Kirkpatrick. I know he's on ST and I dont want to sound all fanboy, but I really dig Greg Crouch's style, topics and ability to tell a story.

Americana: I'm crazy about Cormack McCarthy these days.


They rode on. They rode like men invested with a purpose whose origins were antecedent to them, like blood legatees of an order both imperative and remote. For although each man among them was discrete unto himself, conjoined they made a thing that had not been before and in that communal soul were wastes hardly reckonable more than those whited regions on old maps where monsters do live and where there is nothing other of the known world save conjectural winds.

-Blood Meridian
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