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Monday Reading: The Spark Blogfest-I : Book that Made Me Realize I’m Doomed to be an Author

Hosted by Christine Tyler, the Spark Blogfest talks about what inspired us as fiction writers into following our creative writing obsession.

She has asked a series of 3 questions, and I answer the first one today( and the last one on the 26th August, Friday).

Christine’s question is:

What book made you realize you’re doomed to be an author?

There are so many books that have inspired me over the years, made me itch to start writing books of my own. When I first read the Sherlock Holmes series by Conan Doyle, I wanted to start writing. When I read Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s One Hundred Years of Solitude, I wanted to write like him. Ditto for The Elephant’s Journey by Saramago, Paula by Isabel Allende,  Sula by Toni Morrison, and The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood. I read Emile Zola’s Nana, Flaubert’s Madame Bovary, and they had me spellbound. I read short stories by Anton Chekov, by Maupassant, by Somerset Maugham, by Alice Munro, Ali Smith and countless other masters of the genre and they had me in thrall.

But there are a few books that I credit with pushing me into writing:
 The Old Man and the Sea  by Ernest Hemingway, The Complete Works of George Bernard Shawand Gitanjali by  Rabindranath Tagore.

Hemingway’s book is a powerful universal story of an individual against all odds, and I loved how Hemingway sculpted the story with such economy and skill.

 Shaw’s works, which I read as a teenager, encouraged the cynical observer that every writer needs to harbor somewhere within.

I read Rabindranath Tagore’s work (including his wonderful short stories), again as a teen, and the message, power, and musicality of his work has stayed with me.

Thanks, Christine, for hosting such a wonderful blogfest, which made me think back on all the books I’ve read so far.

 It was interesting also to sort out the books that spurred me into writing. Given that I started writing in my thirties, it is remarkable that I came across all these three books as a teenager. Writing is a process of sedimentation, of fermentation, and then of renewed inspiration—I understood this today in a much more direct way than I ever have before.

Thanks for coming with me on my journey of reading, and writing. The Spark Blogfest-II will come your way this Friday!

Also,  I’m letting Amlokiblogs go into blogfestting mode, and this Wednesday I would be participating in the Favorite Summer Reads Blogfest. Lots of great books to be won at this one, so if you haven’t yet, sign up now!

Damyanti Biswas

Damyanti Biswas is the author of You Beneath Your Skin and numerous short stories that have been published in magazines and anthologies in the US, the UK, and Asia. She has been shortlisted for Best Small Fictions and Bath Novel Awards and is co-editor of the Forge Literary Magazine. Her literary crime thriller series, the Blue Mumbai, is represented by Lucienne Diver from The Knight Agency. Both The Blue Bar and The Blue Monsoon were published in 2023.

I appreciate comments, and I always visit back. If you're having trouble commenting, let me know via the contact form, or tweet me up @damyantig !

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  • Lovely books. Out of the ones you mention, Gabriel Marquez was definitely one of my most influential. 100 Years of Solitude was so fresh and bizarre. I would hope it influenced my writing 😀

    Thank you so much for participating with such thoughtful posts!

  • Great list! Hemingway made me look at writing differently. He's a master.

  • M Pax says:

    A lot of great works on your list. Madame Bovary was a great read.

    Lke the header. I just took some photos of berries like that.

  • Damyanti says:

    Thanks, everyone, for your lovely comments….and I've visited all your blogs, both the first-timers here, and the regulars 🙂

  • Brianna says:

    A lot of great inspiration! Thanks for sharing!

  • Shared it on twit and FB and such.

    It's funny that you and Li were doing this, and then I only found it first through hers.

    I posted all three answers in one, as I'll be busy the rest of the week:

    Talk to you Friday night.

  • Mark Noce says:

    Wow, I love the books you listed as inspirations! I'd definitely include most of those myself, probably with Lawrence Durrell, Tolkien, and Kim Stanley Robinson in addition. Great post!

  • I'm not too sure about the answer to that question. Too many books, and a very active imagination combined made me want to write:) Influences as a kid were definitely Enid Blyton, Tolkien… and then towards Georgette Heyer, David Eddings…hmmm Dragonlance, the Death Gate Cycle…Mary Stewart, all those regency romances… which were fantasy basically:) oh, of course, fairy tales! all fairy tales, illustrated and not, retold or old-school. definitely fairy-tales in all their forms did it for me.

    And u know, the more I think about it, I knew I had to write when I felt disappointed by the books on offer around me at the time – I guess I thought I had some stories in me that would entertain me more than what I could have read at the time. lol delusions of grandeur anyone?:D

    Okay, off to check your A to Z ebook, which looks absolutely fantastic btw! I'm sure the writing will be equally delicious:)Ciaos:)

  • eeleenlee says:

    I didn't know you like Hemingway but now that I do, yes some of your phrasing reminds me of his.

    Hope the writing is going well, and btw congratulations on the 'A-Z' ebook- so proud of ya!

  • I came to writing in my 30's too. I love that all the books we read have an accumulative effect. After so many years we realize we've been inspired all along. Lovely post 🙂

  • Wow, that's a lot of inspiration. =D Awesome.

  • Sylvia Ney says:

    Those are some great books! I'll look forward to your interview tomorrow. If you still want to send me your book and are interested in my guest posts, you can contact me: writinginwonderland(at)gmail(dot)com

    Happy writing!

  • -E- says:

    finally, a writer-blogger with some taste!

  • li says:

    Hemingway was a big influence on me as well – always loved his spare writing style.

  • Summer Ross says:

    I don't remember the book that made me want to write- I've just always wanted to do it. great authors though!

  • Tara Tyler says:

    excellent list! why didnt i love sherlock holmes! so many wonderful books and authors out there =)