Serving up this steaming pile of
Celebrity Gossip
Gay Politics
Gay News
and Pointless Bitchery
Since 1995

Authors with a nice way with words

I love reading a well written books eith clever phrasing, elegant words use, i just don't know where to start. With so many avid readers here, can yall recommend books or authors who really know their way with words? I'm starving for some fun word play.

by Anonymousreply 10503/15/2019

Not elegant but I always loved Stephen King’s descriptions. Horrifying yet made me giggle at the same time.

by Anonymousreply 103/08/2019

Andrew Holleran. “Dancer From the Dance” is exquisite.

Vladimir Nabokov, Joseph Conrad, Evelyn Waugh, Kazuo Ishiguro, Truman Capote also come to mind.

by Anonymousreply 203/08/2019

Anything by Andrew Holleran. He writes beautiful prose. There are times when you have to reread a sentence or a paragraph over and over because the writing is so exquisite.

Start with 'Dancer from the Dance' and 'In September, the Light Changes: The Stories of Andrew Holleran'.

by Anonymousreply 303/08/2019

British writer Tessa Hadley has a stunning way with words.

by Anonymousreply 403/08/2019

Read the Patrick Melrose Diaries. The prose style (especially in the first two books) is remarkable. More or less contemporary too. I also really like Martin Amis (his bullshit macho failings notwithstanding).

by Anonymousreply 503/08/2019

Michael Chabon -- I don't always like his subject matter (or plotting) but he has a very distinct prose style.

by Anonymousreply 603/08/2019

An old answer but a reliable one: F. Scott Fitzgerald. His prose is elegant and precise. Compare his writing to the bold yet clumsy writing of Hemingway (speaking of macho failings).

by Anonymousreply 703/08/2019

Philip Roth. And a big "NO" for the Patrick Melrose Diaries from this reader.

by Anonymousreply 803/08/2019

A big YES for St. Aubyn's Patrick Melrose novels. Fantastic writing and very funny, but dark. R1, turn in your library card immediately.

by Anonymousreply 903/08/2019

Philip Roth is kind of a douche, but his prose is excellent. American Pastoral has some truly well-written passages.

Annie Proulx also has some gorgeous prose in her works.

Gabriel Garcí­a Márquez - especially One Hundred Years of Solitude

by Anonymousreply 1003/08/2019

I'm a big fan of Alice McDermott. "Charming Billy" was the book of hers I read (I was hooked) and I really loved her most recent novel "Someone".

by Anonymousreply 1103/08/2019

Another vote for Waugh. Also Le Carre, Dickens, and Shakespeare.

by Anonymousreply 1203/08/2019

+1 on Holleran, Roth, McDermott, and Chabon, to which I will add Anna Quindlen. Yes, I know she's the Frauiest Frau in Frauington, now emeritus, but she sure has a way with a sentence. Her nonfiction is much better than her fiction IMO.

by Anonymousreply 1303/08/2019

Elizabeth Bowen

by Anonymousreply 1403/08/2019

Pat Conroy

by Anonymousreply 1503/08/2019

Larry McMurtry.

by Anonymousreply 1603/08/2019

Zora Neale Hurston. Start with THEIR EYES WERE WATCHING GOD.

by Anonymousreply 1703/08/2019

Nonfiction but an amazing mastery of words: Conrad Black. Yes, a contentious, right wing figure. But his bio of FDR is written so eloquently, you will want to raise your game verbally.

by Anonymousreply 1803/08/2019

Anything by Flannery O'Connor.

John Steinbeck: "East of Eden" and "Of Mice and Men."

F. Scott Fitzgerald: "The Great Gatsby."

by Anonymousreply 1903/08/2019

N one writing today uses the English language more beautifully than Mark Helprin. His new book, "Paris in the Present Tense," is a masterpiece.

by Anonymousreply 2003/08/2019

Graham Greene was a master wordsmith.

by Anonymousreply 2103/08/2019

Fitzgerald is a good one.

by Anonymousreply 2203/10/2019

A little on the lighter side: Fannie Flagg

by Anonymousreply 2303/10/2019

I'll say.

by Anonymousreply 2403/10/2019

+1 Dickens. I almost constantly chuckle through his works.

by Anonymousreply 2503/10/2019

Joe McGinnis - Fatal Vision. This book is about Jeffrey Macdonald . The Green Beret doctor who murdered his wife and two daughters. He had the Irish gift.

by Anonymousreply 2603/10/2019

Jane Gardam, Jane Austen, Charles Dickens, Edith Wharton and Somerset Maugham

by Anonymousreply 2703/10/2019

Edmund White is a keen social observer and memoirist with an agile prose style.

by Anonymousreply 2803/10/2019

George RR Martin. His descriptions of sex are embarrassing but with one sentence he can express so much sadness and misery. His dialogue is also great.

by Anonymousreply 2903/10/2019

William Saroyan tends to be forgotten but is a wonderful prose stylist.

by Anonymousreply 3003/10/2019

Holleran - meh. Good stories and relatable - but I don’t think of them as poetic.

St Aubyns Patrick Melrose books though have so many unique turns of phrase and insight that I love - though the darkness is not quite as uplifting as Holleran.

Edmund White can be insightful - and always relatable. But I’ve never found him particularly poetic. More of a “churn ‘em out” kind of writer geared towards selling books and marketing.

by Anonymousreply 3103/10/2019

James Gould Cozzens had a unique prose style that nevertheless became increasingly diffuse as he grew older, even if he was still thrilling to read.

by Anonymousreply 3203/10/2019

Holleran? Meh? What’s your idea of beautiful prose, R31?

by Anonymousreply 3303/10/2019

F you all. I try my best.

by Anonymousreply 3403/10/2019

I also came here to mention Fitzgerald/Gatsby. John Banville can write a helluva sentence; The Sea is tremendous. On a lighter note, Douglas Adams had fun with thoughts and language.

by Anonymousreply 3503/10/2019

Eudora Welty "one writer's beginnings", Carson McCullers "Heart is a lonely hunter" , almost all Ross McDonald. Totally agree about Fiztgerald particularly "The crack up", Oscar Wilde "De profundis". I feel guilty about it but i like a lot Alexis Hall "Glitterland" for the writing style.

by Anonymousreply 3603/10/2019

T.C. Boyle: intelligent, descriptive, and witty.

by Anonymousreply 3703/10/2019

A long-ago writer with an ear for vernacular: Ring Lardner (the sportswriter/playwright/reviewer). Also, Raymond Chandler.'s prose makes me feel that I'm reclining in the backseat of a large, old-style, luxury automobile.

by Anonymousreply 3803/10/2019

PG Wodehouse, Terry Pratchett, Ursula Leguin

by Anonymousreply 3903/10/2019

Agree with Banville as a beautiful writer. A lot of the Irish authors seem to have great turns of phrase. Don Dellilo is often unique. Like James Baldwin too.

by Anonymousreply 4003/10/2019

"Mystic River" by Dennis Lehane is a page-turner and engrossing.

by Anonymousreply 4103/10/2019

Thomas Hardy.

Non-fiction: Churchill ("History of the English-speaking People").

by Anonymousreply 4203/10/2019

Hardy, yes! His fiction is better than his poems.

by Anonymousreply 4303/10/2019

The author has to be an artist with a gift for prose or I won't read it. Most writers type like a computer.

by Anonymousreply 4403/10/2019

For non-fiction, Nathaniel Philbrick's "In the Heart of the Sea." A whaling boat gets wrecked by a whale (inspiration for "Moby Dick"), the whalers pile into separate, smaller whale boats. People get hungry, cannibalism ensues.

by Anonymousreply 4503/10/2019

Vladimir Nabkkov’s “Ada”.

And the man’s first language was Russian. He had an astonishing grasp of English, his wordplay is divine.

by Anonymousreply 4603/10/2019

^^ Nabokov ^^

by Anonymousreply 4703/10/2019

Virginia Woolf, Annie Dillard, Toni Morrison (esp. Beloved), Lawrence Durrell, Henry Miller, Joyce, Faulkner, Rilke, Donne, Gerard Manley Hopkins (Harry Ploughman might be the gayest poem ever), Thomas Mann, Proust...

by Anonymousreply 4803/10/2019

Jesus, so many writers from last century.

Alan Hollinghurst, The Line of Beauty. His sent ences are so lovely you can taste them.

Anne Patchett, Commonwealth; also, State of Wonder by her.

Another vote for Edmund White.

by Anonymousreply 4903/10/2019

Gabriel Garcia Marquez. Exquisite.

by Anonymousreply 5003/10/2019

Shouldn't they all by definition?

by Anonymousreply 5103/10/2019

R51 No.

by Anonymousreply 5203/10/2019

Elegance does not equal poetic.

by Anonymousreply 5303/10/2019

Up one for Line of Beauty. Nice prose and wonderfully evocative of the era.

by Anonymousreply 5403/10/2019

Pat Conroy fits into this category:

[italic]My soul grazes like a lamb on the beauty of the indrawn tides.[/italic]

As does Anne Rice.

They are both marvelous at beautiful, lush prose, as opposed to someone like Hemingway whose prose is tight, sparse and almost athletic.

by Anonymousreply 5503/10/2019

Pat Conroy can come across as mawkish but does have some nice turns of phrase.

by Anonymousreply 5603/11/2019

Conroy's a guilty pleasure for me -- his stuff is overwrought and overwritten, but I love it anyway.

by Anonymousreply 5703/11/2019

John Updike

by Anonymousreply 5803/11/2019

Non-fiction but a glorious read: Landmarks by Robert Macfarlane.

"For years now, the British writer Robert Macfarlane has been collecting place-words: terms for aspects of landscape, nature, and weather, drawn from dozens of languages and dialects of the British Isles. In this, his fifth book, Macfarlane brilliantly explores the linguistic and literary terrain of the British archipelago, from the Shetlands to Cornwall and from Cumbria to Suffolk, offering themed glossaries of hundreds of these rare, deeply local, poetical terms, organized by such geographical terrains as flatlands, uplands, waterlands, coastlands, woodlands, and underlands. Interspersed with this archive of place words are biographical essays in which Macfarlane writes of his favorite authors who have paid close attention to the natural world and who embody in their own work the huge richness of place language—from Barry Lopez and John Muir to Nan Shepard, J. A. Baker, and Roger Deakin. Landmarks is a book about the power of language and how it can become a way to know and love landscape, from a writer acclaimed for his own precision of utterance and distinctive, lyrical voice."

by Anonymousreply 5903/11/2019

Ellen Meloy’s nonfiction work is lovely. Read “The Anthropology of Turquoise.”

by Anonymousreply 6003/11/2019

James Baldwin, Edith Wharton, Steinbeck, Zadie Smith. I'll think of more. Whether fiction which all these are, or non fiction, I like someone who is conversational in style and who is a good storyteller. Someone who can convey an world, or describe a character with a single phrase. Someone who can paint a picture for me.

by Anonymousreply 6103/11/2019

Salvatore Scibona -- he hasn't written too much and isn't very well-known, but he should be. "The End" was art.

by Anonymousreply 6203/11/2019

I'm partial to Willa Cather.

Thornton Wilder's "The Bridge of San Luis Rey"is a beautifully written book.

by Anonymousreply 6303/11/2019

I don't think anyone has mentioned E.M. Forster--I especially liked "A Passage to India." Colm Toibin writes beautifully (without John Banville's extreme flourishes). Jean Rhys wrote strange and compelling novels--all of them so sad. "Wide Sargasso Sea" is probably the best. Penelope Fitzgerald--the first one I read got the Booker, "The Blue Flower." Ruth Rendell was a great writer of simple and economic prose, unpretentious, yet completely suited to her subjects. I agree with Le Carre. Genre novelists don't get the attention they deserve. Used to be a huge DeLillo fan but the novels after "Underworld" haven't been as good, so I stopped reading him.

by Anonymousreply 6403/11/2019

Nabokov’s Collection of Short Stories - Exquisite.

by Anonymousreply 6503/11/2019

Rilke, and I must say that I am a fan of Joan Didion's sparse and well edited non fiction.

by Anonymousreply 6603/11/2019

And fuck, I must say that Olive Kitteridge has some wonderful passages as well.

by Anonymousreply 6703/11/2019

I have never read anyone whose writing style was as exquisite as in Truman Capote's "In Cold Blood". It is my all time favourite book, next to "Master and Margarita" by Mikhail Bulgakov.

by Anonymousreply 6803/11/2019

EB White.

by Anonymousreply 6903/11/2019

I haven't read [italic]In Cold Blood[/italic] but I did read some of Capote's short stories including the Thanksgiving and Christmas memory narratives and the writing is indeed exquisite.

by Anonymousreply 7003/11/2019

David Mitchell

Italo Calvino

by Anonymousreply 7103/11/2019

A nice way with words? No one beats George Eliot.

by Anonymousreply 7203/11/2019

I nominate Marcel Proust in the admirable translation by C.K. Scott Moncrieff, decorated war hero and gay.

by Anonymousreply 7303/11/2019

Saul. Bellow. Read Henderson the Rain King immediately.

by Anonymousreply 7403/11/2019

Robert Penn Warren: All the King's Men. Exquisite writing. Take your time.

by Anonymousreply 7503/11/2019

Try the Gormenghast Trilogy by Mervyn Peake. He has a way with words.

by Anonymousreply 7603/11/2019

Terry Pratchett was great, rest his soul. His earlier Discworld books are wonderful.

by Anonymousreply 7703/11/2019

William Trevor

Brilliant Irish novelist and short story writer.

by Anonymousreply 7803/11/2019

For delicious writing that captures the true eccentricity of southern turns of phrase, the short stories of Bailey White are wonderful. (She was the gravelly-voiced first-grade teacher from south Georgia who used to read some of her stories on NPR in the 90s. ).

Second the love for the poetic prose of Holleran, and I'm so glad someone brought up "One Writer's Beginnings" by Eudora Welty, in which she writes so beautifully about her upbringing in Jackson Mississippi.

Some sentences from Running with Scissors by Augusten Burroughs are exquisite, although the book itself was uneven.

by Anonymousreply 7903/11/2019

^^^ about his mother's southern accent , which stood out in the northern town he grew up in:

"Other people sound flat to my ear; their words just hang in the air. But when my mother says something, the ends curl.”

by Anonymousreply 8003/11/2019

E F Benson’s “Mapp & Lucia” novels, Dawn Powell, Barbara Pym, Gore Vidal’s History novels, Nancy Mitford, and the greatest of all, John Kennedy Toole’s “A Confederacy of Dunces”—simply magnificent.

by Anonymousreply 8103/11/2019

I need to read John Kennedy Toole again. Everyone says how good he is. Rest his soul.

by Anonymousreply 8203/11/2019

Nabokov, hands down.

by Anonymousreply 8303/11/2019

Dear God, no to E.M. Forster and Robert Penn Warren. Ghastly writing.

by Anonymousreply 8403/12/2019

Anthony Trollope and Anthony Burgess

by Anonymousreply 8503/12/2019

Kazuo Ishiguro

The Remains of the Day

gorgeous prose

by Anonymousreply 8603/12/2019

Susan Orlean, The Library Book.

by Anonymousreply 8703/12/2019

Great one R86. I have to drag out my copy. It's been a long time.

by Anonymousreply 8803/12/2019

Steinbeck: The Pearl. A perfect, classic book.

by Anonymousreply 8903/12/2019

Another vote for Larry McMurtry. I don’t like westerns, but Lonesome Dove was a great read.

by Anonymousreply 9003/12/2019

Joe Keenan's three novels are very gay, spectacularly witty and his way with words will stop you on every page to laugh: "a woman so rich she ovulates Faberge eggs" still cracks me up.

Also: when one character pretends to speak no English and then is confronted by a Spanish speaker: "he started to babble in a language that could only be described as Desperanto."

by Anonymousreply 9103/12/2019

For those Anthony Burgess fans these are the opening words of Earthly Powers: "It was the afternoon of my eighty-first birthday, and I was in bed with my catamite when Ali announced that the archbishop had come to see me."

by Anonymousreply 9203/14/2019

Another vote for F. Scott Fitzgerald. That’s just a matter of being well read.

The author I really want to bolster with another vote is Truman Capote. He’s just fabulous. His short stories are great and even the compiliation of his letters is a fun read. Yesterday I picked up a beginning book to gardening by fabulous socialite/swan C.Z. Guest and I was pleasantly surprised to see that Truman wrote the introduction. It was enchanting.

by Anonymousreply 9303/14/2019

For great writing from the Yiddishkeit storytelling tradition: Isaac Beshevis Singer.

by Anonymousreply 9403/14/2019

Fitzgerald. This passage when Gatsby first kisses Daisy...

"He knew that when he kissed this girl, and forever wed his unutterable visions to her perishable breath, his mind would never romp again like the mind of God. So he waited, listening for a moment longer to the tuning-fork that had been struck upon a star. "

by Anonymousreply 9503/14/2019

R95 And this one:

“We walked through a high hallway into a bright rosy-colored space, fragilely bound into the house by French windows at either end. The windows were ajar and gleaming white against the fresh grass outside that seemed to grow a little way into the house. A breeze blew through the room, blew curtains in at one end and out the other like pale flags, twisting them up toward the frosted wedding cake of the ceiling--and then rippled over the wine-colored rug, making a shadow on it as wind does on the sea.”

That image has never left me, after first reading Gatsby 25 years ago.

by Anonymousreply 9603/14/2019

Anything by Angela Carter.

by Anonymousreply 9703/14/2019

It is a testament to Nabokov’s genius that he could make a vile character Humbert Humbert tolerable. In “Lolita,” the vivid imagery of the narrator’s childhood tryst with his first love, Annabel, is achingly beautiful.

by Anonymousreply 9803/14/2019

*like Humbert Humbert.

by Anonymousreply 9903/14/2019

Nabokov's "The Stories of Vladimir Nabokov" or Beryl Markham's "West with the Night" -

The use of metaphors by the respective authors are gorgeous -

by Anonymousreply 10003/14/2019

Jodi Picoult

by Anonymousreply 10103/15/2019

[quote] Kazuo Ishiguro The Remains of the Day gorgeous prose

Fuck him. That book is boring as fuck.

by Anonymousreply 10203/15/2019

R86 I read Ishiguro's The Unconsoled twice. What a strange and seductive novel. I know it has attracted some negative reviews , but I think it's well worth reading. I read The Remains of the Day many years earlier but it didn't leave me with as great an impression.

by Anonymousreply 10303/15/2019

I just started The Unconsoled a couple of days ago but thought of giving up after the first 20 pages. I know many smart people consider it brilliant but it just seems so dense....

Remains of the Day was my first Ishiguro and I loved it but I've heard that each of his books is dissimilar to the others.

Your encouraging words make me want to keep going now, r103. Thanks.

by Anonymousreply 10403/15/2019

Over the years I've had many dreams (nightmares) that have replicated the experiences encountered by the protagonist in The Unconsoled.

by Anonymousreply 10503/15/2019
Need more help? Click Here.

Yes indeed, we too use "cookies." Don't you just LOVE clicking on these things on every single site you visit? I know we do! You can thank the EU parliament for making everyone in the world click on these pointless things while changing absolutely nothing. If you are interested you can take a look at our privacy/terms or if you just want to see the damn site without all this bureaucratic nonsense, click ACCEPT and we'll set a dreaded cookie to make it go away. Otherwise, you'll just have to find some other site for your pointless bitchery needs.


Follow theDL catch up on what you missed

recent threads by topic delivered to your email

Become a contributor - post when you want with no ads!