OK, where do I start with that?

OK, where do I start with that? E

This is the fifth in a series of posts examining where to start reading various writers, based around my bookshelves. As with the earlier posts, I welcome comments adding writers I have misplaced, neglected or forgotten, and also do feel free to disagree with my choices of starting points.

As well as the nice little logos Jamie has done for these, we also have an index, which is here.

To continue, E.

E starts with Edward Eager, who wrote whimsical fantasy children’s books in the style of E. Nesbit. They’re all good, but I started with Half Magic, which made me laugh myself sick when I was seven, and made my son laugh himself sick when he was the same age and at the same joke. I have no idea if these books work if you read them when you’re grown up, but they are in print, and any of them would make a great present for any seven-year-olds of your acquaintance.

E.R. Eddison ought to come next, but doesn’t, it languishes on the to-read shelves. I have tried several times to read The Worm Ourobouros, largely because almost everyone I know speaks highly of it, but I cannot get into it. Janet in Tam Lin likes it, and so do other people whose tastes have a high degree of congruence with mine, but I do not. Maybe I should start somewhere else (where?) or perhaps I’m just not old enough for it yet.

George Alex Effinger is what does come next. Start with When Gravity Fails.

I’ve only read Doris Egan’s Ivory trilogy once, but I enjoyed it a great deal. Expect a post about it next month, because I’m planning to re-read it on the train to Fourth Street. Start with Gate of Ivory and read them in order. Or you could read City of Diamond, as by Jane Emerson.

Greg Egan is one of my favourite writers, and you should start with the brilliant and amazing Permutation City, or else with some of his astonishing short stories some of which are available for free online.

With Suzette Haden Elgin, begin with Native Tongue and if you really really like it seek out her other books. It’s a mosaic book about the possibility of communication.

George Eliot—definitely Middlemarch. It would be possible to make other suggestions, but whatever you do, don’t start with Silas Marner, which is short, which isn’t one of Eliot’s strengths, but which schools regard as a plus when it comes to assigning reading. All her other books are better.

Harlan Ellison’s best work is at short length, and any collection you find will have gems in it. As an editor, his Dangerous Visions is one of the most important works in the genre.

Kate Elliott—oh, Jaran, such a great barbarian culture, and science fiction too. It’s the start of a series but it stands alone. I love that book. If you only like fantasy and don’t mind long series, start with King’s Dragon.

Sumner Locke Elliott—well, Going is the most like SF. But start with any one you can find.

Jane Emerson is actually Doris Egan, so see above.

For Sylvia Louise Engdahl, you should begin with Heritage of the Star, US title This Star Shall Abide. (I’m usually OK with title changes, and TSSA is a better title, but when I’ve known a book from childhood I can’t seem to retrain my brain.)

Marian Engel (not to be confused with Madeleine L’Engle) is a Canadian feminist writer whom I discovered when very short of English language reading material in Greece. Monodromos is my favourite, but I’ve enjoyed all her books.

I started M.J. Engh with Arslan, which is very good, but very hard to take. You might be better starting with Rainbow Man, which is definitely an easier read.

Jon Evans is another Canadian writer, this time of thrillers that keep you absolutely on the edge of your seat. Start with Dark Places. But don’t start it at bed time, you’ll be up all night.

Jo Walton is a science fiction and fantasy writer. She’s published eight novels, most recently Half a Crown and Lifelode, and two poetry collections. She reads a lot, and blogs about it here regularly. She comes from Wales but lives in Montreal where the food and books are more varied.


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