D is for Denouement

I nearly headed this post "D is for dull." With a few exceptions, my "D" list is remarkably full of authors I have no desire to read again.

Dahl: However, I start with an author that I greatly admire. Not Charlie and the Chocolate Factory or its sequel, which makes my skin crawl. But Dahl has written a number of short stories for children and for adults that are incredibly funny. I recommend Dahl especially if you can get Quentin Blake's drawings as a bonus.

Dante: And I recommend Dante, specifically The Divine Comedy although it does depend on which translation you read. I enjoy Sayers' translation for her notes, not so much for the poetry. There's an audio version of but The Inferno, translation Pinksy, read by George Guidall--ooh, it makes you shiver!

Defoe: I can't especially recommend Defoe. Robinson Crusoe just isn't that interesting to me. I sort of understand why it became a children's classic, aimed at adventurous youth. But even as a kid, I didn't much care for stories about people stuck on islands, not even regarding the Swiss Family Robinson.

De Lint, Charles: De Lint is one of those authors that I feel like I OUGHT to love. I OUGHT to think he is absolutely fantastic--kind of like I ought to adore Andre Norton. De Lint writes fantasy. His novels always sound totally fascinating. Etc. Etc. Etc. But I can never get into his stuff. It isn't lack of ability on his part, just a lack of author/reader empathy.

Dickens: I don't object to people calling Dickens a great author. And I can respect his need, as a working writer, to produce thousands of words on demand (fill the space!). But I find his work almost unreadable. He produced great stories that make good movies (an author like Dickens IS what movies are for).

Dostoevsky: One Christmas holiday I was stuck in the Detroit airport for over 12 hours. It was a horrible experience. I ended up buying Crime & Punishment from the bookstore; I figured I could get through a fair amount in 12 hours. And I did. And I got home and put it down and never picked it up again. I won't argue about its classic designation. I just got to the point where I couldn't understand why it couldn't end. Which was how I felt about being stuck in the airport, so I'm sure there's a Pavlovian emotional connection here.

Donaldson, Stephen: Stephen Donaldson was, at least in my memory, the next biggest thing after Tolkien's paperbacks hit American bookstores. I know that there were Thomas Covenanter books about our house when I was a kid, and I read at least one. Unfortunately, Almost-Tolkien doesn't interest me, especially since Tolkien is just about the only World fantasy author I tolerate (I have read one of Eddings' series). In general, I prefer more relationship-oriented tales.

Doyle, Sir Arthur Conan: Ah, the creator of Sherlock Holmes! I intend to write more about Doyle in a later post. For now, I will state that the Sherlock Holmes' stories are true classics. I recently listened to The Hound of the Baskervilles read by the marvelous Simon Prebble. It is one nifty adventure story with great tension and atmosphere; Doyle sure knew how to combine detection with action (possibly one reason that Holmes-out of all the fictional detectives--is so repeatedly translated into film and television).

Dreiser: I read Sister Carrie for the previous A-Z list. I gave it a positive review. Eh. I haven't read anything by Dreiser since. However, I've always been glad I read Sister Carrie because it enabled me to pick up on a reference in a Law & Order: Criminal Intent episode. In one of her confrontations with Goren, Nicole Wallace gives him a hint about her true identity by referring to the "George Hurstwood Foundation." George Hurstwood is an embezzling main character in Sister Carrie. Since Renaissance Man Goren has read Sister Carrie, he picks up on Nicole's clue. The first time I watched this scene, I was so proud of myself: See, knowing literature is worth something; it enables you to pick up references in pop culture!!

Duane, Diane: I'm a big fan of Diane Duane's YA and adult literature although of her adult literature, I prefer her Star Trek stuff to her contemporary fantasies. I particularly like the way she tackles the Classic Trek characters. I feel like her stories are more than recitations of events: her characterizations give us more insight into Spock, McCoy, Kirk et al's personalities and she delivers solid, believable interactions. I feel like I am reading about Star Trek characters, not some other characters with Star Trek names.

Durrell, Lawrence: Gerald Durrell is technically non-fiction, so I'm not addressing his hilarious books My Family and Other Animals and Beasts, Birds, and Relatives here. Because Lawrence Durrell is his brother and because Larry was a huge support to Gerry throughout their lives, I've tried (at least twice) to give Lawrence Durrell's fiction books a read. Alas, they are not my type of thing.

Du Maurier, Daphne: Of course I read Rebecca! I haven't read anything else by Du Maurier, but Rebecca is good; the B&W movie is good; the PBS series is good. I can't recommend anything else by this author, but Rebecca is worth a read.

Dumas, Alexandre: I read the non-one-billion-pages version of The Count of Monte Cristo for book club. It was okay--though not the kind of plot that interests me all that much (however, I was recently pleased to grasp the book's thematic use in Person of Interest: as a teacher, returning-for-vengeance Elias assigns this book to his students).

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