S is for School Books and Others

Saberhagen, Fred: I've read numerous books by Saberhagen. My favorite is The Dracula Tape, a retelling of Dracula from Dracula's point of view. While remaining faithful to the original text, it provides a refreshing (and very funny) view of events from the "villain's" eyes.

Sansom, C.J. is the author I read for the first A-Z List.

Sayers, Dorothy: Classic Golden Age author. I'm a fan. I've written elsewhere about how I feel Wimsey compares to other detectives. In sum, I think Sayers created a complex and aging character who changes naturally over the course of the novels while remaining fundamentally himself. Sayers also did a translation of Dante's Divine Comedy. The translation itself is okay. Sayers' notes are fantastic.

Shaara, Michael: I read Killer Angels, which I wrote about here.

Shakespeare--The A-Z list doesn't cover playwrights, but I had to include Shakespeare and Shaw (see below). Call me bourgeois but yes, Shakespeare's works are as incredible as a million schoolrooms force students to believe (of course, forcing them to believe is a useless approach; that doesn't mean Shakespeare isn't one of the greats!).

Shelley, Mary. Yup, I've read Frankenstein! It's nothing like what B horror movies have led people to imagine. I'm not saying it's better because frankly, the novel is kind of wordy. Only, it's more crazed-child-comes-after-its-mother than huge-scary-monster-wrecks-the-planet. More Turn of the Screw, less Godzilla.

Shaw, George Bernard: I'm a fan of Shaw's work although I'm not a fan of his politics. He was one of the dumb intellectuals who got all cute about Stalin back in the day. His work is smarter than the man. I was lucky enough to see Trevor Nunn's production of Heartbreak House starring Vanessa Redgrave, Felicity Kendal, and Paul Scofield when I did a Theatre in London program in 1992. The play also starred Oliver Ford Davies though I didn't appreciate that at the time. I did appreciate Felicity Kendal playing a character completely unlike Good Neighbor's Barbara. Amazing production.

Shute, Nevil: My mom recommended Trustee in the Toolroom for our book club. It was a good read and produced a good discussion!

Simonson, Helen: Major Pettigrew's Last Stand. Another bookclub book and quite enjoyable.

Soltzheitsyn, Aleksandr: I read Cancer Ward in high school as one of my voluntary-reading-day choices. I have no idea why, but I did, and I finished it.

Stein, Garth: The Art of Racing in the Rain is one of the best contemporary fiction books I've read. Another bookclub book!

Steinbeck, John is the author of one of the few books I didn't bother to read in high school. Generally speaking, I was the kind of kid who always read the assigned book. But I'd already been forced to consume The Pearl. When it came time for The Red Pony, I couldn't bring myself to care whether it hurt my grade or not to not read it, so I didn't read it, and I have no regrets. (The Pearl and The Red Pony are quintessential examples of how it is easier to teach tragedy than comedy--lazy teachers.)

From Stalky & Co.: would make a good manga!
Stevenson, Robert Louis: Stalky & Co. is high on my list of amazing books I am so thankful I've read!

Stewart, Mary wrote suspense romance novels with a literary tone. They are quite good. I've read a number.

Stoker, Bram: Author of Dracula. The first part of this book is better than the second. I remember the first time I read the first part, sitting in my sister's house in Washington. Suddenly I realized that it was near midnight, no one else was awake, and there were tree branches scrapping the windows (really!). Ooooh. I got shivers and ran off to bed.

Stout, Rex: I prefer the A&E Nero Wolfe movies to the books. However, Stout's The League of Frightened Man contains the best passage of a narrator reacting to an attack that I have ever read. Whenever I read the passage--told from Archie's point of view--I ache for Archie's painful discombobulation. Astonishing!

Swift, Jonathan: Gulliver's Travels is such a dreadful book that the last time I taught an on-line literature class (in which it was required), I switched it out for Stevenson's Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Gulliver's Travels is NOT a story. It is a travelogue full of ironic and satiric references that modern readers find completely irrelevant--and it doesn't have the sheer, shivering terror and alarming nightmare imagery of Dante's Inferno (another book with irrelevant satiric references); Gulliver's Travels doesn't drag you along by the sheer force of the writer's poetic genius; Gulliver's Travels merely makes you want to slap Swift.

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