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All Time Favorite Author
All Time Favorite Author
TL;DR: I really like Donald Harington and you should check out his books because he is probably one of the greatest American writers that you’ve never heard of. And if you’ve ever read his stuff or know who he is, please let me know so I can talk to someone else about these amazing novels. And if you have a favorite author, why not write about them below?
I just wanted to take a moment to talk about one of my all time favorite authors. It’s a strange relationship that I feel that I have with his books because I feel that while he is an amazing author, he’s also pointed me in the direction of other writers that he’s ‘borrowed’ from or ‘built’ upon some of their works. But as I often tell my wife, “You’re dong it wrong!” No, that’s not what I tell her, what I often tell her is that, “There really are only seven stories that people tell.” So it’s not like you can reinvent stories every day so of course artists borrow from each other.
But anyway….back to the topic at hand, my favorite author. I just wanted to start out and explain how I even came across his wonderful books. My wife was browsing the Kindle books that Amazon was having a sale on and came across one that looked interesting, The Architecture of the Arkansas Ozarks. The Amazon description is as follows:
Jacob and Noah Ingledew trudge 600 miles from their native Tennessee to found Stay More, a small town nestled in a narrow valley that winds among the Arkansas Ozarks and into the reader’s imagination. The Ingledew saga – which follows six generations of ‘Stay Morons’ through 140 years of abundant living and prodigal loving – is the heart of Harington’s jubilant, picaresque novel. Praised as one of the year’s ten best novels by the American Library Association when first published, this tale continues to captivate readers with its winning fusion of lyricism and comedy.
So having never heard of the author or the book she bought it and decided to give it a read. So the first night that she’s reading in bed she nudges me, “Hey, Dooks, listen to this….” And she proceeds to read me a few paragraphs from the book and we both start laughing. It’s a funny conversation between Fenshaw and Jacob and the origin of the name of the town “Stay More” and she starts telling me more about the book and I have to stop her and I assure her that I’ll start reading it once I finish whatever I happen to be reading.
Okay, dear reader, if you’ve made it this far and are still interested, thank you. If you want to know what book to get to read without learning anything more about this, just send me a PM and I’ll send you a link to the amazon page where you can pick up the first five Stay More books for about four bucks. The books average about 400 pages each, the shortest being the first book, so for less than the price of lunch you’ll have more reading material than you can shake a stick at. Still interested in finding out more? Well, here we go…
So I started reading The Architecture of the Arkansas Ozarks as soon as I finished what I was reading and found myself reeling at what a good book it was. The first thing that struck me was the structure of the novel. The chapters were broken up so that each chapter described another house in the town. So the first chapter covers Fenshaw and his wife and the tee-pee that they live in. The second chapter then follows up with the house that Noah and Jacob build. The third chapter is about the next family that happens to move into Stay More and the house they build. Each chapter moves us a little further in time and shows how the town grows. At the same time it is also talking about how the town is changing as more people move in and as the world changes. The book continues until Stay More becomes a ghost town…
I was blown away by what an amazing book this was. I couldn’t believe that I had never heard anything about this author before and then I got the shock of my life. This wasn’t a stand alone book, this book was actually a part of a much larger series of books, thirteen in all. It turns out that The Architecture of the Arkansas Ozarks was the third book in the series. So the first question that went through my head was, if you just wrote a book that told me the entire history of the town from inception to death, how do you have 12 other books about the same place? So I was ready to run out and buy the collection, lucky for me I held off because a few months later Amazon released the complete Stay More series in three volumes, each one titled, The Nearly Complete Works of Donald Harrington.
I don’t want to say anything more about the books because I found that letting these books unfold in their own was was just so unique and enjoyable. I am looking forward to rereading the entire series over from start to finish, at the moment I’m holding myself back from just reading through them one after the other and since I just finished reading Butterfly Weed, the seventh book of the series, I’m trying to still let that digest and I’m reading a bunch of other books before I dive into book eight, When Angels Rest.
And on a final note, I just want to ‘warn’ you that his books are extremely graphic sexually. And not like Stephen King graphic sexually where he’ll throw in some weird sex scene somewhere in the book to titillate the reader, this is down and dirty stuff. And he really doesn’t pull any punches with any of it. I had recommended these books to my dad after I started reading The Architecture book, but it was before I got to some of the more graphic stuff, but it wasn’t that bad, so I was like, well it’s not like I’m going to talk to him about those part. But after I had suggested the book again after I had started reading the second book, Some Other Place. The Right Place I didn’t realize what direction he was going to go…well, I told my dad that while I still recommend them, I just wouldn’t want to talk about certain ‘events’ or ‘themes’ as it were that the book covered. It’s come to the point that when we talk and he asks what I’m reading, if I’m reading a Harington novel I always tell him how much I’m enjoying it, then I tell him how he should think about reading it, then I tell him that I just don’t want to talk to him about certain aspects of it if that’s cool with him.
ETA: Needed to put a teal deer at the top.ravensong, VoiceOfReason, wilsonbooks and 4 othersEnthusiast, valerief, 4Sibes, Haikugal like this
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