It's been quite a while since I last joined a literary blog hop, and I must say that I've missed them. It's so fun to play with an intriguing question for bibliophiles and see what everyone has to say. This week's "Top Ten" is a particularly fun question and one I've certainly considered before. It changes from time to time, but these are the Top Ten Authors I'm Dying to Meet:
1. Salmon Rushdie - His work is so fascinating and absolutely on the cutting edge of postmodern literature. I would just love to hear him lecture or even talk specifically about Midnight's Children. I'm sending him straight to the top of my list because he is still alive, and I would like to think that there's a miniscule chance he could come across this somehow and invite me to a lecture. It could happen...
2. Fyodor Dostoevsky - I know, I know; can't I pick someone else? Why is it always Dostoevsky? Because it just is. I am sorry for the repetition, and I considered leaving him from the list, but I find him absolutely fascinating and would love to have a personal encounter with that brilliant mind.
3. C.S. Lewis - In addition to loving Narnia as a child, I have grown to have such an enormous respect for this man. In many ways, I feel like he has mentored me over the years, and I would love to make that a personal mentorship, preferably back in Oxford over a couple of pints of British ale. Aaahhhh....
4. F. Scott Fitzgerald and/or Ernest Hemingway - I'm sure a lot of people are mentioning these guys, but for good reason. Not only are they wonderful authors of books I love, but they lived every writer's dream: they mingled in the cafes and bars in Paris with the most brilliant artists of their time, living as ex-pats and critics. So if we could meet, I would generously agree to meet them on their own turf.
5. Oscar Wilde - Oh man, how great would it be to sit down with Wilde? I would bring a notebook and pen to write down every witty remark he would effortlessly shoot off. I just imagine that our conversation would weave seamlessly between hearty laughter and serious discussion.
6. James Joyce - Maybe if I spent some time with Joyce, his brilliance would be so powerful that it would unavoidably sink into me a little bit. He had such an incredible wealth of literary knowledge and an inhuman ability to speak/write at a dozen levels at once. I would probably not understand half of our conversation until I was able to deconstruct it throughout the following week.
7. Mary Wollstonecraft - You know, this one is a little funny because I doubt I will actually write out my thoughts about her work, A Vindication of the Rights of Women, but she is a very influential author for me. Her work is not perfect, and I would have liked to see her push the issue even a bit further, but it was monumental for its time. She clearly had no lack of confidence or courage, and I am sure I would benefit from spending time with such a woman.
8. Aphra Behn - Speaking of strong women, I would love to sit down with Aphra during Restoration Theater. But unlike chatting with Wollstonecraft, Aphra would probably be bawdy and raucous and hilarious. She fearlessly set the stage for all female writers to follow and gave Dryden a run for his money. Oh, and did I mention that she was also a spy for the British government?
9. Nikolai Gogol - I have a strange feeling that a conversation with Gogol might be similar to one with Wilde. However, I picture Gogol with a much dryer sense of humor and perhaps a more direct critique of whatever is on his mind. I would especially like it if he could introduce me to some of his friends, but maybe that's cheating the fantasy a little bit.
10. Mark Twain - There's a lot of pressure on the last choice of the list, but I think Twain would be so fun to talk to. I think we could meet near the Mississippi River over a plate of crab legs, and I would soak in a million little stories and anecdotes from him. Sounds good to me!
You know, I was at dinner with a group of friends one time and we tossed around a somewhat similar question: "If gender didn't matter, which author would you marry?" It turns out that this is a much more difficult question because so many of my favorites were tortured artists with really screwed up personal lives. I'm still working on coming up with the best answer for that one...