OK, where do I start with that?

OK, where do I start with that? O.

This week my exhaustive survey of where to start reading new-to-you writers gets to O. These are my personal suggestions for where to start with writers I read—please feel free to add any that you read and I don’t, with good places to start. If you disagree with me, or with each other, about what’s a good place, please comment with your reasoning.

Patrick O’Brian all by himself fills up an entire shelf and makes O seem like quite an extensive letter. The best place to start is right at the beginning of his 21-book Aubrey and Maturin series, with Master and Commander. Having said that, I read them first in completely random order, but I wouldn’t recommend it. If you haven’t read them, do, you’ll like them.

Baroness Orczy wrote a large number of books about the Scarlet Pimpernel helping people escape from the guillotine. They’re not very historically accurate, but they’re an odd kind of old fashioned fun. Start with The Scarlet Pimpernel, and unless you love it stop there too.

Chad Orzel’s How to Teach Physics To Your Dog is a popular science book about quantum physics that’s funny and makes it all actually make sense in exactly the way it never did before.

George Orwell—if by any chance you haven’t read Nineteen Eighty Four, it’s presently in print in a really nice edition. If you’ve read it and you’re wondering where to go on with Orwell, his four volumes of essays and letters and journalism are wonderful.

And I’m afraid that’s it for O—I hope you have more!


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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