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    Orc in the Playground
     
    DwarfClericGuy

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    Default Looking for English-writing authors, writing about personal experience

    Hey guys,

    I'm from a non-English speaking country and mostly I read in my own language, but I have decided to improve my English a bit by reading proper-level English authors.

    But!

    Many text-related things in English bore me, so I decided to ask here about (hopefully) classical authors who write in English and could also fill my gaps of English writing classics. I'm basically looking for authors, similar to Knausgard or Ferrante. Personal, visceral.

    Got anything along this lane for me? And they need to be famous, so I can get them in my local library.

    thanks :)

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    Ogre in the Playground
     
    Lvl 2 Expert's Avatar

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    Default Re: Looking for English-writing authors, writing about personal experience

    Could you explain a bit more? I'm sure a lot of people will instantly understand what you mean by a classical author, but maybe a few of us who didn't study the same school of book buffery can still contribute something if we know a bit better what you're looking for. You're looking mostly for modern/semi-recent realistic novels? Anything else that could be a hint?
    The ultimate OOTS cookie cutter nameless soldier is the hobgoblin.

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    Pixie in the Playground
     
    Imp

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    Default Re: Looking for English-writing authors, writing about personal experience

    Try Down and Out in Paris and London, by George Orwell. It's a vivid, well-written account of absolute desolate poverty.

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    DwarfClericGuy

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    Default Re: Looking for English-writing authors, writing about personal experience

    Quote Originally Posted by Lvl 2 Expert View Post
    You're looking mostly for modern/semi-recent realistic novels?
    Good question, Mr. Expert :) It is indeed quite close to what you suggested - I'm basically looking for authors, writing about THEMSELVES, their own life experience. Bukowski might be anoter such writer that I might reccomend to myself. To be completelly sincere, even I am a bit unsure of what am I looking for. I just want to go as far from "made up stories" to as close to "personal writing" as possible. You did read up my two links?

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    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    NinjaGuy

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    Default Re: Looking for English-writing authors, writing about personal experience

    I don't know if by "personal experience" if you mean writing of a directly real experience (that is, an autobiography), or a writing based on a real experience, which can also include fiction.

    Kurt Vonnegut's Slaughterhouse-Five, is a satirical fiction novel based loosely on the author's own experience (during the Allied bombing of Dresden). He has an autobiography also published called Fates Worse Than Death.
    Joseph Heller's Catch-22, is another satirical fiction novel based on the author's own experience as a bombardier (also during WWII), but is also a great introduction to American idiomatic expressions and anachronisms. The novel's title itself has entered the English language describing certain logic puzzles and concerns of behavioral psychology.

    Some older works:
    Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness, novella based on the author's own trip to Africa in the late 1800s
    Oscar Wilde's The Picture of Dorian Gray

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    Orc in the Playground
     
    DwarfClericGuy

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    Default Re: Looking for English-writing authors, writing about personal experience

    @Vogie
    Great suggestions ... with a note :D As I was browsing the titles myself, I also noticed Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness. I also noticed, Conrad's English was his third or fourth language :D made me worry a bit :P

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    Troll in the Playground
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    Default Re: Looking for English-writing authors, writing about personal experience

    ' On the road' by Jack Kerouac
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    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    NinjaGuy

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    Default Re: Looking for English-writing authors, writing about personal experience

    Quote Originally Posted by Pinjata View Post
    @Vogie
    Great suggestions ... with a note :D As I was browsing the titles myself, I also noticed Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness. I also noticed, Conrad's English was his third or fourth language :D made me worry a bit :P
    That is correct - he was born in the Russian Empire, into what is now Poland, and also spoke French. However, he started learning English in his twenties, and was considered a master of English prose by the time he wrote Heart of Darkness in his 40s. His own biographers have stated that he is considered an "English writer who grew up in other linguistic and cultural environments" which gives his English a very cosmopolitan feel, instead of a solidly British one.

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    Ettin in the Playground
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    Default Re: Looking for English-writing authors, writing about personal experience

    Travels with Charley in Search of America, by John Steinbeck, is an account of a road trip throughout America in the 1960s, starting in New England and eventually finishing in the Deep South. His tone is lighthearted to begin with, and gradually becomes more serious as he encounters attitudes and social conditions that still reverberate today.

    Jumping the Line, by William Herrick, is a very interesting memoir from someone raised in New York in the early 1900s, and who went to fight in Spain during that country’s civil war. Much of the narrative involves a young man’s journey from naive idealism to an experienced understanding of how the world works.

    Rocket Boys is an outstanding memoir by Homer Hickam, who grew up in a West Virginia mining town and was inspired by the dawn of the space age. He and his friends designed and flew their own rockets, and that earned him a scholarship which led to a career as an engineer with NASA. The book is now sold under the title October Sky, which is the name of the movie adaptation, but Homer Hickam claims that "Rocket Boys” is the title he prefers.

    They're all excellent reads, but of the three I found Rocket Boys to be the most personally inspiring.

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    Firbolg in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Looking for English-writing authors, writing about personal experience

    I See by My Outfit by Peter S. Beagle

    The Kid from Hoboken. An Autobiography by Bill Bailey.

    Sailing Alone Around the World by Joshua Slocum

    Two Years Before the Mast
    by Richard Henry Dana

    Not memoirs, but damn fine novels informed by the realities of the time:

    The Grapes of Wrath


    and

    In Dubious Battle both by John Steinbeck
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    Default Re: Looking for English-writing authors, writing about personal experience

    Personal AND visceral?

    First thing that comes to mind is William S. Burroughs' "Junkie"
    Sylvia Plath's "The Bell Jar" is a semi-autobiographical novel, as is J.G. Ballard's "Empire of the Sun" and I'd highly recommend both of them, but those are told more as novels and less as firsthand accounts.

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    Titan in the Playground
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    Default Re: Looking for English-writing authors, writing about personal experience

    I'd recommend The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz. It's by a decent margin one of the most visceral novels I've ever read. Anything by Diaz is going to be pretty great though. His books aren't non-fictional, and I don't think they're precisely based on real stuff, but it's close enough for government work, y'know? Guy's a literal genius.

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    Dwarf in the Playground
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    Default Re: Looking for English-writing authors, writing about personal experience

    Not really what you could call a classical novel, but Quartered Safe Out Here by George MacDonald Frasier is a visceral and well-written account of the novelists' own experiences in the Burmese campaign of World War 2.

    Humorous, dark in places, and with a lot of thought put into it, and I feel very well explores the character of the British soldier.
    Last edited by Sinewmire; 2018-01-04 at 05:56 AM.

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    Default Re: Looking for English-writing authors, writing about personal experience

    Wild Swans by Jung Chang.
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    GreataxeFighterGuy

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    Default Re: Looking for English-writing authors, writing about personal experience

    The Innocents Abroad Mark Twain

    Memoirs Ulysses S Grant

    Ball Four Jim Bouton

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    Dwarf in the Playground
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    Default Re: Looking for English-writing authors, writing about personal experience

    Quote Originally Posted by Gastronomie View Post
    Wild Swans by Jung Chang.
    I'd second that, it's both historically fascinating and utterly compelling.

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    Default Re: Looking for English-writing authors, writing about personal experience

    Jack London's Star Rover.

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    Default Re: Looking for English-writing authors, writing about personal experience

    Angela's Ashes
    The memoir of Irish-American author Frank McCourt, about growing up in New York and Limerick. Including lots of grittiness, poverty and alcoholism.
    I liked it.
    Last edited by Iruka; 2018-01-16 at 11:50 AM.

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    Firbolg in the Playground
     
    Planetar

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    Default Re: Looking for English-writing authors, writing about personal experience

    Quote Originally Posted by Pinjata View Post
    Hey guys,

    I'm from a non-English speaking country and mostly I read in my own language, but I have decided to improve my English a bit by reading proper-level English authors.

    But!

    Many text-related things in English bore me, so I decided to ask here about (hopefully) classical authors who write in English and could also fill my gaps of English writing classics. I'm basically looking for authors, similar to Knausgard or Ferrante. Personal, visceral.

    Got anything along this lane for me? And they need to be famous, so I can get them in my local library.

    thanks :)

    Try Company Commander :The Classic Infantry Memoir by CPT Charles Macdonald, USA, (ret.). He writes about his personal experience leading Company I from the Battle of the Bulge through the final liberation in 1945. I think it'll be gritty and visceral enough for you. It's also entirely nonfiction.

    You can also try The One That Got Away , by Cris Ryan, SGT (Ret.) . He was part of the SAS when the operation he was part of got cocked up, so he walked home through 180 miles of desert.

    Respectfully,

    Brian P.
    Last edited by pendell; 2018-01-16 at 01:16 PM.
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    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    NinjaGuy

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    Default Re: Looking for English-writing authors, writing about personal experience

    I can't believe I forgot:

    Catch Me If You Can, by Frank Abagnale, Jr.

    Such a good book, and the movie was very true to it as well.

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