The books that changed everything

The topic suggested by Sunday Scribblings this time around is ‘The book that changed everything’ – I’ll have to turn that into a plural, though.

When I was around 13 or 14, I fell ill – with some sort of flu, I think – and had to stay at home and in bed for what now seems like several weeks.

Before this, I’d been reading mostly adventure books for young adults, but just a few days before the illness I’d received a box containing a surprise selection of books from Swiss publisher Diana. They had probably gone out of print and been marked down for that reason.

This publisher apparently specialized in English-language fiction translated into German, because the books I received were either British or American. I read them one by one, and they changed everything because they marked my transition to literature for grown-ups.

These books were:
The Green Mirror by Hugh Walpole (first published in 1918)
The Dark Moment by Ann Bridge* (first published in 1951)
Cass Timberlane by Sinclair Lewis (first published in 1945)

*There is no Wikipedia article about Ann Bridge, even though she seems to be a prolific and popular author, primarily of historical fiction set in more or less exotic countries.

I remember very little about The Green Mirror by Walpole except an overall mood of stuffiness and lifelessness (similar to what I experienced later in some works by John Galsworthy).

The book by Ann Bridge was historical fiction. It played in Turkey at the time of the Allied invasion after World War I, and it revolved around Kemal Pasha (Atatürk), the founder of modern Turkey.

While Cass Timberlane is definitely not one of the best novels by Lewis, it was a bestseller and was turned into a movie starring Spencer Tracy and Lana Turner. This book introduced me to Lewis and can be said to be responsible for my liking of American literature in general.

Pretty soon I started reading John Steinbeck, Ernest Hemingway, William Saroyan, Truman Capote, Upton Sinclair and many other American writers. And, over the years, I read the majority of Sinclair Lewis’ novels. He remains one of my favorite authors.

– James Steerforth ( © 2010 )

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About James Steerforth

I am an author of poetry and fiction, translator and painter who loves to have fun with borrowed feathers.
This entry was posted in Bland observations, Book reviews, Creative writing, Film, Life, Literature, Movies, Novel, Novelists, Time, Writing and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to The books that changed everything

  1. Image&VerseToo says:

    I enjoyed this, thank you for sharing…

    …rob
    Image & Verse

  2. Lilibeth says:

    You make me want to go check out the Ann Bridges one. It’s been too long since I found a new author

  3. Dee says:

    it never ceases to amaze me the impact books have on us from very young ages and how they stay with us far into adulthood.

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