Famous authors and/or other artists that you're just now getting into

What authors or artists have you heard referenced or praised many, many times, but have only recently just started reading/seeing/experiencing?

Mine is H.P. Lovecraft. I like horror, and I like authors like Edgar Allen Poe and Stephen King, but it never really occurred to me to read Lovecraft. I think I mostly regarded his work as “the Cthulu mythos and very little else” and never bothered to inquire further into the matter. (I’ve never been interested in Cthulu; I feel like all the pop culture references and parodies have ruined it for me.) But I kept seeing his name pop up in places I wouldn’t have expected (such as some of my favorite horror tropes, like Nothing is Scarier), and thought “eh, okay, might as well give it a shot.”

So I found his entire collection of works online and read The Case of Charles Dexter Ward. When I first started reading, I thought “ugh, purple prose,” but I kept reading, thinking perhaps it might get better.

Fast forward two hours, and I’m sitting in front of my computer saucer-eyed and resisting the urge to crap my pants.

I actually saw the twist that Curwen had come back to life and killed Ward to assume his identity coming from a mile away…but the story was so utterly terrifying that it didn’t matter. I was hooked. And even the purple prose didn’t bother me after awhile, because Lovecraft is so damned good at it. Victorian authors did not use descriptive, flowery language this masterfully.

So what are your recent discoveries? Remember, this has to be well-known authors and artists, ones that you’ve seen and read about, but resisted for one reason or another.

(And, Lovecraft fans…should I read the Cthulu stuff? I don’t really care for creature horror, but his storytelling is so good that I might just have to give it a shot.)

I’m 50 years old, and as of one year ago, I had never read anything by either Jane Austen or Dick Francis.

I have become a huge fan of both, in the meantime.

Someone compared my lyric-writing style to that of W. S. Gilbert, and I’d been meaning to get around to checking out Gilbert & Sullivan for decades. So I read through their entire oeuvre and listened to the melodies on the Internet within about two weeks. Now I’m looking into the background. Ah, had I only better researched the songs when MAD ran their never-reprinted “A Day With JFK” parody…!

This is silly, because I’ve been reading Kafka since forever, but since getting my written German into high gear in the last few years, I’ve been into him in a big way (in addition to above reason, it’s that my life resembles a hell in some ways).

More serious answers: George Eliot and WM Thackeray. TE Lawrence.

The Uncanny X-Men.

Long story short: my sister loved them, I hated her, therefore they must have sucked.

Robert Ludlum.

I’m reading the Scarlatti Inheritance and am really enjoying it. Next stop is the Boune series - I’ve seen the films but I know the books are quite different (not least because they are 30 years old).

Definitely. It isn’t “creature horror” at all – it’s sustained mood and suggestion, like his other writing. Also, the recent film adaptation of it is worth watching – one of the very few Lovecraft film adaptations that is.

(Nitpick: it’s “Cthulhu”. The second "h’ is silent.0

I started a thread a few weeks ago about my guy: 16th Century French writer and thinker Michel de Montaigne- wonderful thoughts on life and how to live it.

Not now, but almost 15 years ago I picked up The Best of Cordwainer Smith, and was floored by J.J. Peirce’s introduction and the Timeline in the front. I’d read the stories Scanners Live in Vain and The Ballad of Lost C’Mell in anthologies, but didn’t realize that they were part of a consistent Future History (or were even related). After I read that book, I got the other Cordwainer Smith anthology Del Rey put out at the same time (wisely refusing to call it The Second-Best of Cordwainer Smith), and looked up the rest of his stuff. I’ve since bought NESFA Press’s anthology of the complete Smith stories, and have read Norstrilia. (A couple of years ago many of his stories were published again in a large-format paperback). His stuff is fascinating and impossible to pigeonhole. As a diplomat who lived in China and took much inspiration from Chinese literature, he reminds me of mystery writer Robert Hans van Gulik, but is very different i style and subject matter.
definitely worth reading, if you haven’t encountered him before.

Agreed - I stumbled onto Cordwainer Smith through an anthology and chased down a Best Of book - really enjoyed it. Same with Alfred Bester and stumbling onto The Demolished Man and The Stars My Destination…

Lucky you- I was required to read his Essays at Columbia, and am grateful for that.

One of us! Dick Francis is one of my comfort reads.

Mine doesn’t exactly fit the OP’s question, but I think it’s close enough. I’ve just recently become a huge fan of nonfiction, so I’ve been playing catchup with a lot of highly praised books like Gödel, Escher, Bach or The Omnivore’s Dilemma, or Mary Roach. Whee!

Of course I’ve read Madeline L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time, but none of her other books. I recently got a bunch of them at the library book sale. She is absolutely fantastic!

Don’t laugh.

The Beatles.

Sure I’ve probably heard every one of their singles on the radio through the years and my wife bought “1” and “Love”, but with the exception of the re-release of “Sgt. Pepper” on vinyl about 20 years ago I had never sat down and listened to a complete album released by the Beatles when they were together.

Wanted to see what all the hoopla was about. They’re pretty good.

Meh - they’re okay.

(my favorite band)

The Beatles, also.
I am loving “English Tea” by Paul McCartney. It’s delightful…

Well, technically the human tongue can’t properly pronounce it anyway, so spelling is probably moot, but I stand corrected anyway. :wink: :smiley:

And I’ll give it a shot. I figure even if I don’t care for it, there’s tons of other stuff to choose from.

I have read at least two L’Engle works, but it’s been years. And I read them at a time when I couldn’t properly appreciate them, so I might give 'em another read.

I struggled for years to read a Tolkien book. The dude just spends so much time describing the topography of the land that I glaze over. Not just hills and valleys, but fords, gullies, washes and other geographical words that I’m not 100% sure on.

I began to love the way he describes violence- stuff like cleaving the head of an orc in twain. Yes, it’s gross but he makes it sounds classy.

I read all those maybe six or seven years ago - amazing stuff. I need to find whatever the hell I did with that huge Cordwainer Smith anthology and finish it, because I still had maybe a quarter still to go.

About a year ago I gave Jane Austen a try and am sorry I didn’t do so earlier.

Ahh… HPL in a nutshell. :slight_smile:

The awful inevitability of his stories, the looking ahead and seeing the terrible outcome that awaits… that’s the real source of the horror. I’m sure every HPL an has their own favourites, but I’d cheerfully recommend The Colour Out of Space, the eponymous The Call of Cthulhu itself, and my own personal favourite The Shadow Over Innsmouth. :eek:

As to the OP: I’ve just started reading the WWII books written by Stephen Ambrose. D-Day and part of Band of Brothers so far, and have several more on the bedside table.