I managed to put my copy of the Deathly Hallows down for a few hours to pop along to the Other Writers' Group yesterday afternoon. During the worst moments of last term, this was one of the things that I was looking forward to doing on a Saturday afternoon.
At the beginning of the session we were asked to introduce ourselves (sigh) and say what books we like reading (sigh). I hate the fact that when you get groups of people together you have to do these faux getting to know you bits. After all, you are about to read out a piece of your own writing which can reveal far more about yourself then any glib comment you make about what you're reading. Still, that's not the point, I'm getting there. Later in the bar one of the members asked me if I had read Rimbaud, to which I replied: No. In retrospect I now realise that I what I should have answered is: Of course not, he's dead. I'm looking at my bookshelves and what I read and it seems that I don't read very many dead writers. In fact the last dead writer I read was Kurt Vonnegut and only because he shuffled off this mortal coil before I had finished reading his book.
I suppose that the logical beginning of this train of thought began when I read about David Lassman who rewrote the works of Jane Austen, changing a few names here and there and then sent them to various publishing houses to see if she would get published nowadays. Unfortunately for Jane, she was universally rejected, but only one publishing house recognised the work as Austen's in the first place. So how well would you do? Try this wee little quiz here. I got a pathetic 4 which is not bad considering I've never read Jane Austen (cos she's dead ain't she?), but I feel a hefty pile coming my way; I mentioned this gap in my literary canon to Claire.