Saturday, November 03, 2007
I read an interesting post on author paper trails by TeenAuthor aka Jacob Martin on Library Thing's What Are You Reading Now group message board. I thought it was worth passing on.
A paper trail of authors is a line of authors connected in one way or another, or perhaps authors who led you one to another.
He sites this example:
Terry Pratchett -> Neil Gaiman -> Alan Moore -> H.P. Lovecraft -> Lord Dunsany
It's sort of like a personal - "People Who Liked This Book Also Purchased..." exercise, and it's kind of fun.
Did an author lead you to read another? One of his influences or imitators?
In my recent reading I suppose I could do this one:
Dan Brown -> Raymond Khoury -> Steve Berry.
I'm not a big fan of The Da Vinci Code nor Angels and Demons, which I read first, but I might never have sampled Khoury had Da Vinci never come along, and I enjoyed The Last Templar quite a bit. That's sort of whetted a Templar appetite, so The Templar Legacy from Berry is on my "to-read" stack.
Looking further back at books I've read (or books I could package together on ebay) I might link:
Mike Resnick -> Glenn Cook -> William Hjortsberg because of Stalking the Unicorn, Old Tin Sorrows etc. and Falling Angel, fantastical detective stories all. Each of those writers pens different kinds of novels as well, so such connections might lead to other genres or sub genres or reading horizons.
Another might be John D. MacDonald -> Carl Hiaason -> James W. Hall, different though alike in that they set crime novels in Florida.
Or Charles Gramlich -> Karl Edward Wagner ->Robert E. Howard ->Edgar Rice Burroughs.
You could probably do some kind of paper trail for Wayne too, but I'm not sure exactly where it might lead.
Wayne Allen Sallee ->Nelson Algren -> Superman comics -> Robert Mitchum films -> ???
It occurs to me that for writers this might be a valuable exercise. It means examining why you like certain works. Knowing what you like about others can certainly fuel your own creative spirit, I believe.