Whom Readest Thou? Book of Names 3

Today wraps up my first blog tour with CSFF. Thanks everyone for your comments and participation–your answers to my question yesterday are fascinating.

When I first visited Dean’s HiddenLands.net, I was struck by the beginning of his “About Me” page:

Dean Barkley Briggs is an author, father of eight, and prone to twisting his ankle playing basketball. He grew up reading J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, Patricia McKillip, Guy Gavriel Kay, Stephen R. Donaldson, Ursula K. Leguin, Susan Cooper, Madeline L’Engle, Terry Brooks, Andre Norton and Lloyd Alexander (just to name a few)…and generally thinks most fantasy fiction pales in comparison. (Yes, he dabbled in  sci-fi, too. Most notably Bradbury, Burroughs and  Heinlein).

Yesterday I asked why you write. One answer which I think holds true for most–if not all–of us is that we write because we read. As children, and now as adults, our ways of imagining and understanding the world are shaped by what we read. Mr. Briggs’ list struck me because it reflected my own reading list as a kid: with the exception of Donaldson (who I didn’t like), Norton (who I haven’t read), McKillip (who I read and liked, but wasn’t hugely struck by) and Kay (who’s a very recent discovery), he’s naming my own formative influences. Add Robin McKinley and Stephen R. Lawhead to the list, and you’re looking at the foundations of my young imagination.

I’ve long thought that I owe a special debt to Susan Cooper and Lloyd Alexander, neither of whom are household names the way Lewis, Tolkien, or J.K. Rowling are. So it was fun to come across this video on YouTube, wherein Dean Barkley Briggs names and talks about two of his favourite authors … you can probably guess who :).

I’ll be blogging about The Book of Names again once I actually get a chance to read the book :). In the meantime, I pass the question on to you: Who do you read? Who did you read as a child? Whose work has been most influential in shaping your imagination?






5 responses to “Whom Readest Thou? Book of Names 3”

  1. Rachel Avatar

    I’m still a teenager, so I’d assume my reading list might be different from adults. Ted Dekker and Tamora Pierce are probably my two favourite authors though J.K. Rowling and C.S. Lewis are up there and staying close too.

    I find that when I write, though I’m not known or anything, I reflect on what other authors have done and try to build and experiment with some of the stuff they’ve written until I make it something I am proud of and something I can call my own. Whether I find a hidden door leading to a new world or magic hidden deep in the land of my story, it’s fun to play with the creations of others.


  2. […] list) ??? Steve Rice ? Crista Richey ? Alice M. Roelke ??? Chawna Schroeder ??? Rachel Starr Thomson ?? Steve Trower Speculative Faith ??? Fred Warren (omitted on the […]

  3. […] am indebted to Rachel Starr Thomson for finding this You Tube video of Briggs discussing his favorite fantasy […]

  4. Rebecca LuElla Miller Avatar

    Great questions again, Rachel.

    Lloyd Alexander was one of my early favorite fantasy writers and remains so. Another one that isn’t often mentioned is Richard Adams, author of Watership Down. Before I started that book, if you’d have told me I’d start thinking like a rabbit, I would have give the ain’t-happenin’ head-shake and eye roll. But I became so immersed in that story world, it was incredible and wonderful and something I wanted to be able to produce.

    But Donaldson was the tipping point for me as a writer. He was good and so close to a Christian worldview because he portrayed man’s failings and longings. I just wanted to see a story that told the whole truth.

    As a child/young person, I read the commercial stuff and the classics. Nothing special. Nancy Drew and Walter Farley’s Black Stallion stories stand out in my memory.


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