Full article on the David Copperfield read-a-thon coming soon over at Toonari Post, but in the meantime here are some photos I took tonight:
Another blog post, another Dickens post.
Tonight at the John Hewitt Bar, the first of many David Copperfield read-a-thons took place as part of Dickens 2012 NI. I'll have a proper article up over at Toonari Post, but in the meantime here are some photos of the event:
"Who is your favourite writer?"
As an English Literature graduate, this question is the equivalent of asking a parent, "Which is your favourite child?" or asking a Trekkie, "Kirk or Picard?". Well, maybe I am stretching things a little with the Trekkies because the ones I know are more than happy to enter into a six-hour diatribe on their favourite. Hopefully, this blog post won't take six hours to get through.
People often ask me, "Who is your favourite writer?" because I was a passionate English student at school, I was an English major at university, and because I am now doing a Masters degree in Modern Literary Studies (hold the snorts of derision - this is my blog). Sometimes I will be really difficult with people and reply, "Well, I could tell you my favourite satirist! Or my favourite playwright, Or my favourite poet!", and so on and so on. But, honestly? The novelist, er, author, er... ah, screw it: the PERSON I keep coming back to is Jonathan Tropper.
I was first made aware of Jonathan by an Irish novelist by the name of Ronan O'Brien. I had read Ronan's debut (and to this date, only) novel "Confessions of a Fallen Angel" and then emailed him to pass on my compliments. He responded and cited Jonathan Tropper as one of his inspirations, specifically his book, "How to Talk to a Widower". I had enjoyed O'Brien's book immensely (this feeling was short-lived and I'll get back to why later on), so I wasted no time in checking out this bizarrely-titled book by Tropper. I use the word 'bizarrely' because this was at a time when "Deathly Hallows", "City of Glass", "Breaking Dawn" and the oh-so-imaginative "The Secret" were flying around. Nothing against these books (okay, that's a lie) but they didn't exactly condition me to expect big things from a book with 'Widower' in the title.
A dozen pages in and I was HOOKED! Tropper's style, his characters, his humour, and everything else he was doing came flooding through loud and clear. As a reader, this isn't something which you find too often in the first chapter of a first read of the first book of a new author. I found myself feeling more excited about reading than I had since Orwell's "Animal Farm" back when I was 12 years old. I devoured 'Widower' that weekend, and I quickly went around local bookstores in an effort to track down the rest of Tropper's back catalogue. I soon got my hands on "Everything Changes" and "Bush Falls" (as "The Book of Joe" is titled here in the UK), and read through those just as quickly. In fact, 'Joe' quickly surplanted 'Widower' as my favourite Tropper text and it is one which I cannot wait to get back to once this semester ends and I have time for some leisure reading again.
I knew that name!
I knew that name because I read his books!
I knew that name because I read his books FOR FUN!
You must understand: by this point in my degree I was speed-reading 2-3 novels per week, was barreling through a few hundred pages of critical reviews, and working a part-time job which wound up involving more hours than my actual degree. So to be reminded of the one author in the last 5 years who had made me genuinely excited about reading was oh-so-sweet and oh-so-needed at that particular point in my studies. Come to think of it, I am nearing that point again in my Masters degree, so the sooner Tropper book #6 is released, the better for my sanity!
So, I ordered the book, I read the book, I loved the book. Same old routine as I had come to know when reading Tropper's books, but by this point in 2010 I was beginning to hear rumblings that several of his titles were in the process of being adapted into screenplays. Now, THIS was a real treat for me. I had always described Tropper's books as reading like film scripts, yet maintaining the depth and escapism that one mentally concocts when they talk about a 'great read'. As I type, the projects are still in development and very little is known about the cast/director/release dates; but for now I am happy to know that Tropper's stories will soon find an even wider audience.
For someone who has never read one of his novels before, let me attempt to break down what I find so appealing about Tropper's works of fiction:
Okay, I feel like I am only half done with what I could say, so I am just going to stop now and leave anything else for another day. If this post has made you half-curious about checking out one of Tropper's books, then check out his books on Amazon. You can also find out more information about Jonathan on his website and/or by following him on Twitter.