I miss the days when I have stumbled upon books from various kinds of authors with different backgrounds that transverse time and spaces. The day when I open the first page of ‘The Picture of Dorian Gray’ is the moment when I launch a literature adventure. Since then, I have absorbed the minds of Nathaniel Hawthrone, Virginia Wolf, some of Indian-born best authors, with the best of all at the first period of the literature trip is John Steinbeck. I have also opened my mind reading a controversial title ‘The Catcher in The Rye’, a very impressive book about religion, survival called ‘The Life of Pi’ and a few good reads by Indonesia writers in my native language, Bahasa Indonesia.
That is when I best call the experience as truly adventurous until I have got ‘Far from the Madding Crowd’ and things have changed a lot since then.
Finding favorite authors is like feeling a very rare ‘click’ that somehow connects me with them in some important aspects. I really adore Thomas Hardy. Best of all, each sentence that comes from his pen is truly magical. Each and every word he says is a poem. He is very successful in bringing my mind to wander as I please once I am glued at his books. His imagination is really outstanding. I and Hardy share another obtrusive mindset: realism though he is much gloomier that I am.
I love his preference of people from lower class as the protagonists of his novels. The way he confronts romance against social norms interests me so much. While Hardy becomes my most beloved writer for Victorian era given his beautiful words carrying universal, evergreen messages, John Steinbeck is my best one for postmodern era.
Both Hardy and Steinbeck are serious writers who definitely reflect their views on life. One thing that separates them is that Steinbeck is satirical. While Steinbeck also opts the poor as the main actors in his books, what intrigues me is the outcasts that frequently appear on his novels, such as ‘Tortilla Flat’ and ‘The Cannery Row’.
While I have ‘friends’, very influential ones, who have so many things in common, discovering favorite authors means I indirectly set my reading standards. As such, I become so picky when it comes to reading books from new authors. I will calculate factors like first or third person narration style, diction, and obviously point of view, before I buy new books. I will most likely compare them with Hardy’s or Steinbeck’s. I have tried to break this through, reading books without considering those factors but they all end up in my bookshelf as unfinished materials.
While I can train myself as a consistent reader by choosing not to read materials below my standards, frequent reference to either Hardy or Steinbeck has caused me not to expand my reading horizon. In the past few years, I have stuck in the Victorian era partly because of Hardy and his colleagues.
I want to leave this comfortable reading zone then relaunch literature adventure into the Russian literature or Spanish one but my feet are still buried beneath the ground of the Victorian time. Only Alloh swt knows when and how am I gonna break this cycle…