International Anita Brookner Day

I mentioned over the weekend that I was in the mood, and in terms of research in need, of reading more female written fiction over the coming months. I am taking up my own mini challenge of reading as many of The Orange Longlist as I can and with my place on the panel at Lucy Cavendish College in Cambridge’s ‘Women’s Word’ festival discussing men’s reading (or the case of lots of them not) of women writers I wondered if you could tell me some of your favourite female writers. Well I have taken up a small mini challenge with the lovely Thomas of My Porch in order to co-host a day when we celebrate a female author we both really admire and that is Anita Brookner and we would love you to join in.

Last year after I read the stunning ‘A Start in Life’ which has stayed with me ever since, I emailed Thomas about doing something Brookner based, maybe Anita August or some such. However life, as is often its want, got in the way and nothing quite came to fruition… until earlier in the year when Thomas emailed me and now we are having a single day dedicated to the lady herself and ‘International Anita Brookner Day’ was born. (And it is international as Thomas and I are on completely different sides of the Atlantic and we are hoping you all join in from all over the world.) Its single aim is just to get more of you reading Brookner’s work.

So what do you have to do to be involved? One single thing is all that is required, simply read one of her books by the 16th of July 2011 (which will be Brookner’s 83rd Birthday) and tell myself and Thomas about it and we will link you and your thoughts whilst doing some posts of our own on the day, and hopefully (if I can make it happen) we will have some lovely international giveaways. So far Thomas has been much more ‘Brookner busy’ than me coming up with a wonderful button for the day (see above) and also a list of all her works you can choose from and where to head. I am pleading sickness as a reason for my slowness in mentioning all this, but better late than never.

If you are wondering ‘why on earth should I read Anita Brookner?’ the answer simply ‘you just should’ yet is a hard one to put my finger on instantly. I would say it’s a certain quiet writing charm. Some people find her depressing, which I can see as she is quite melancholic sometimes but its immensely readable. She’s understated, she’s subtle, every word counts and her books are about people and places rather than an overwhelming plot. If you like your books with plots fear not though, they are there. I haven’t read a huge range of her work as yet, though the ones that I have read have been stunning and over the last couple of years since reading her Booker winning ‘Hotel Du Lac’, which charmed me instantly, I have been buying her back catalogue as and when I see it.

I now have the perfect chance in the lead up to July the 16th to devour the ones I own which are ‘Altered States’, Falling Slowly’, ‘Latecomers’, ‘Look At Me’ and ‘The Bay of Angels’ though you know what I am like, I will be using this as an excuse to get all the ones I don’t have in the lead up to it too and reporting back on them, and reminding you to get reading her too. So will you be joining us, I do hope everyone who pops by Savidge Reads will, and which of her 24 titles might you choose?

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21 Comments

Filed under Anita Brookner, Book Thoughts, International Anita Brookner Day

21 responses to “International Anita Brookner Day

  1. Louise

    I loved Hotel Du Lac,Strangers and Visitors. I like how she writes so bitter sweet,i dont find that depressing at all, i find her writing quite beautiful,almost as if shes painting pictures with her emotions through the written word..

    I cant possibly narrow down a favourite female writer but, Margaret Atwood, Edith Blyton, Charlotte Bronte, Emily Dickinson,Mary Shelley,Edith Wharton, Sophie Hannah, Tess Gerritsen, J.K Rowling, Evelyn Waugh and plenty others would go on my list 😉

  2. I’ve not read any Brookner, so this is the perfect excuse to give her a whirl! I’m sure I have a couple in the TBR somewhere… just need to put my finger on them… but because my TBR is colour co-ordinated and spread across three rooms it might be a bit difficult! LOL.

  3. I’ve tried her and didn’t like her. But I might try again.

  4. luby12

    I havent read any of her books yet so this might just be the reason I’ve been looking for. What can you recommend for a first timer like myself? Hotel Du Lac seems to be getting mentioned quite a bit, a good first Anita Brookner book for me to try?

  5. I’ve not read any Brookner but I love how you describe her writing. I don’t know if I can commit to the reading challenge, but I think I need to read at least one book of hers.

  6. I am incredibly tempted because the 16th of July is my borthday too! It’s nice to know you share a day with an author. I don’t think I own any of her books, but I will look into it..

  7. I had a massive pash on AB when I was a teenager. I think I read all her books up to Lewis Percy, many of them in an intense one-day session. I particularly loved Providence; I think it should be required reading for anyone studying Constant’s ‘Adolphe’ (I studied it as a first year for my BA). I also loved A Start in Life and A Friend from England. I can’t really work out in my head why I stopped reading her after I turned 20… but I very much like the idea of an IABD and a reason for me to go back to her work 🙂

    • I think that the fact you can read her in a single sitting, or maybe two or three to get some cups of tea, is one of the additional things that I like about her books. I hope you return to her work, and more importantly I hope that she doesnt disappoint.

  8. Ruthiella

    Looking at your archives, I would say you have read quite a few books by women. For what it is worth, intances where I have read at least three of their books (and liked them): Jane Austen, Toni Morrison, Margret Atwood, A.S. Byatt and Jhumpa Lahiri. And then, all the mystery writers: Agatha Christie, P.D. James, Elizabeth George, and Sue Grafton.

  9. Ruthiella

    Oh, I forgot Sarah Waters! So far all very good.

  10. Jon Appleton

    What a brilliant idea. I gorged on her books about ten years ago and loved all the ones I read – especially VISITORS and FALLING SLOWLY. I kept up with them and, as she slowed down, there became gaps … so it was a real pleasure to read VISITORS, the first new one in 5 years. If you like Anita, I think you’ll like Penelope Lively – a HUGELY UNDERRATED NOVELIST (apart from MOON TIGER, which everyone knows). She’s sharp and dry and piercingly accurate about people. Read CITY OF THE MIND, THE PHOT0GRAPH and HEAT WAVE for starters.

  11. Richard

    I believe I am her most ardent fan in North America.
    Of course I have read all of her fiction many times over and own multiple copies in various editions of all of her work (fiction) and even some art history as I was an art history student in my younger years.
    I am not quite sure what one is to do to engage in this “day”
    I am always (re)reading one of her books.
    I hope you are on the mend and I want to thank you for this bit of recognition, although Anita Brookner herself I am quite sure would find it nothing more than amusing.

  12. I read Hotel Du Lac years ago (well, in 2005) and I loved it, but for some inexplicable reason, I never read anything else by her. Now’s the perfect opportunity, and going by your comment, maybe A Start In Life is what I’ll read.

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