I and J are for Imaginary Juxtoposition

What can I say: I like cheesy covers!
How else was I going to tackle "I" and "J" in the same post?

Irving, John: John Irving is a great example of why censorship is unnecessary. When I was growing up, one of my brothers had The World According to Garp on his bookshelf. I decided to read it. There was a general feeling in the house that it would be over my head and contain material inappropriate to my age. Nobody stopped me. I read three pages and got so bored, I put it down.

There's a lot to be said for NOT making things "off-limits."

Irving, Washington wrote the classic "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow." However, for scary atmospheric literature, I prefer his New York City-based tales, including "The Devil and Tom Walker."

Ishiguro, Kazuo: I read Remains of the Day for my first A-Z list. It's good.

Jackson, Shirley wrote the short story "The Lottery." I hate it. Here's why.

James, Eloisa is a romance writer of extremely clever books. She belongs to that class of writers of erotica romance, a genre that still occasionally gets scoffed at, who are extremely well-educated--Ph.Ds in English history and everything. James's books resemble Restoration Comedies, clever dialog included. Consequently, although I think she is one of the most talented genre romance writers on the market, I don't read a ton of her stuff: it tends to fall more into World than Character romance. That said, her pay-offs are always amusing.

James, Henry is one of those authors I tackled in college. He's good if somewhat wordy--though not as impenetrable as Joyce (see below). He wrote the utterly bizarre but immensely clever "Turn of the Screw." I recommend it. It has a literary gloss, so a reader can feel very intellectual--it's also sick, twisted, and scary, so a reader can just enjoy the fun!

James, P.D.: Mystery writer of another broody detective, Dagliesh. I quite like her Cordelia Gray series. She wrote a non-fiction book about mysteries which I don't recommend since I found it rather disappointing, being a rehash of stuff written by other mystery critics. For thoughts about mystery fiction, I recommend Dorothy Sayers instead.

Jeffries, Sabrina is a romance/erotica writer. I have mixed feelings about her books. On the one hand, I quite like the problems she sets up, including a kind of Daddy Long Legs novel where the heroine is, unbeknownst to herself, writing the man she jilted several years earlier. And her plots always pay-off psychologically at the end. On the other hand, sometimes her characters do the dumbest things . . . She skates the line between problems-caused-by-real-needs-and-wishes and problems-caused-because-person-A-forgot-to-tell-person-B-some-simple-thing-that-has-resulted-in-massive-misunderstandings. *Sigh.*


Anjelica Huston: From The Witches.

Jewett, Sarah Orne: For years, I associated Sarah Orne Jewett with that-stuff-you-have-to-read-in-high-school, specifically "The White Heron." However, in recent years, as part of my New England Mythology and Folklore class, I delved into her Country of the Pointed Firs. I recommend it! She's early modern with clean, fresh prose--not late modern when everyone got a little too jaded.

And there's the juxtaposition.
Joyce, James: What can one say about James Joyce? He is what he is. Setting aside his writing, which I don't care for (I get tired of reading about drunks), he did write a novella "The Dead," upon which the movie The Dead is based. The movie is beautiful. I've seen it about four times. I'm never sure what it is about. I'm not even sure whether it is depressing or not. But it stars Anjelica Huston in glowing magnificence. I like her in The Witches better, but in The Dead she kind of blows your mind.

Joyce, Rachel wrote The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry, one of the books read by my bookclub. It is a worthwhile read!

I'm saving Diana Wynne Jones for the children's list.

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