The Man and His Mirrors

Henric C. Jensen - artwork by Sanna Jenesen - used with permission

The Scribe - Artwork by Sanna Jensen © 2010 - used with permission

I live in Sweden with my wife and my dog, in a world very much inhabited by the beings and concepts of my writing. Born in the 60’s I blatantly refuse to grow up and am helped in this by my ADHD. I have written more or less constantly since I learned to read and write. Prose for school, like compositions and essays, poetry for my own sanity, political essays and debate articles for the good of humankind and I even wrote a dramatic piece once. I carried it around in a large manila envelope, adding to it, editing it and then one day I lost it – by leaving it on the empty seat beside me on the subway…250 pages of dramatic fantasy lost forever… Except for a few freelance articles for local newspapers I have never published anything. Unless of course blogging counts as ‘publishing’.  I’ll read any kind of fiction except Romance, religious fiction and Shakespeare in the original language or form. Same goes for Homer. Of course I have my favorite genres – in order of preference:

  1. Fantasy
  2. Science Fantasy
  3. Science Fiction
  4. Suspense
  5. Historical Fiction
  6. Adventure
  7. Satire
  8. Political Fiction

My favorite authors are, also in order of preference (note that a few share a position):

  1. Marion Zimmer Bradley, Dean R. Koontz
  2. Stephen King, Mark Twain
  3. Susan Cooper, Ursula Le Guin
  4. Terry Brooks, Mercedes Lackey, Katherine Kurtz
  5. Eoin Colfer
  6. Faye Kellerman
  7. Patricia Cornwell
  8. Karen Miller
  9. H.C, Andersen
  10. David Eddings
  11. Vibeke Olsson
  12. Astrid Lindgren, Roald Dahl, Eva Ibottson
  13. JRR Tolkien – who makes to the bottom of this list only because of The Hobbit – he should have stopped there…

And then some whom I don’t know where to place

  1. Isaac Bashevis Singer
  2. Chaim Potok
  3. Anita Diamant
  4. Anita Goldman
  5. Marek Halter
  6. Jonathan Swift
  7. Richard Bach (who makes it only because of  Jonathan Livingstone Seagull)
  8. Ernest Hemingway (he gets on the list only because of his masterpiece: The Old Man and the Sea)
  9. Jack London (who makes it onto the list only because  of The Call of the Wild and White Fang)
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4 responses to “The Man and His Mirrors

  1. Maria Angela Grow

    I am a bit confused: you say you will not read religious fiction, but you list Singer and Potok, in whose writings Jewish religious themes are very much present, and Tolkein, who definitely included religious themes in his writngs, though in a subtle way, even in the Hobbit. This is not a criticism, but just a desire to understand your meaning. By the way, I know you are fluent in English, but have you enough Greek to even read Homer in the original? I didn’t get a lot of choice: In school, I had to read Shakespeare. Also since I took 2 years of Latin and was in a humanities track, I wound up reading a lot of ancient Greek and Latin in good translation: Plato, Aristotle, parts of the Iliad andthe Odyssey, Sappho, Lysistrata and other such plays….Have to confess that I only was assigned a couple of Scandanavian short stories and only in an elective course. I did read more on my own as a teen. I still remember one story in which a baby kicked off it’s blanket and froze to death. But I read a lot of other stuff that was very good. I suppose I tried to remedy my deficiencies by trying to read lit from different parts of the world, even wading through all of Mann’s Magic Mountain, unabridged, except for the chapter in French, as I know no French, but was given the jist when I asked one of my hs teachers, who knew French, to help me. But at this time in my life, with so much pain, I tend to be lazier in my reading habits.

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  2. Maria,
    i understand your confusion – i will not read xian fiction:) and i will not read either Homer or Shakespeare in verse i have no problem with the stories they tell, in fact i love Garfield – i could not read Homer in Greek.

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  3. I am a bit confused: you say you will not read religious fiction, but you list Singer and Potok, in whose writings Jewish religious themes are very much present, and Tolkein, who definitely included religious themes in his writngs, though in a subtle way, even in the Hobbit. This is not a criticism, but just a desire to understand your meaning. By the way, I know you are fluent in English, but have you enough Greek to even read Homer in the original? I didn’t get a lot of choice: In school, I had to read Shakespeare. Also since I took 2 years of Latin and was in a humanities track, I wound up reading a lot of ancient Greek and Latin in good translation: Plato, Aristotle, parts of the Iliad andthe Odyssey, Sappho, Lysistrata and other such plays….Have to confess that I only was assigned a couple of Scandanavian short stories and only in an elective course. I did read more on my own as a teen. I still remember one story in which a baby kicked off it’s blanket and froze to death. But I read a lot of other stuff that was very good. I suppose I tried to remedy my deficiencies by trying to read lit from different parts of the world, even wading through all of Mann’s Magic Mountain, unabridged, except for the chapter in French, as I know no French, but was given the jist when I asked one of my hs teachers, who knew French, to help me. But at this time in my life, with so much pain, I tend to be lazier in my reading habits.
    +1

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  4. Sheba,
    My definition of ‘religious fiction’ runs along the lines of contemporary/modern Xian fundamentalist fiction – I used ‘religious fiction’ as an euphemism. Also, I do not consider the Jewish religious elements in Singer and Potock’s writing as ‘religious’, but as *Jewish* (meaning culture – being Jewish is being part of a people, not a religion). Neither of those two could have written ‘true’ from their perspective without those elements, just as an Irish Roman Catholic could not write ‘true’ from their perspective without what has sadly become three separate concepts (spirituality, ethnicity/society, culture) when they are actually one concept – people-hood :D.
    As for Homer – no I do not have enough Greek to read him in original; I have TRIED to read him in Swedish and English – and what throws me is not the ‘story’ – but the fact that it’s written in verse. I had a discussion with my wife about this (and Shakespeare), and it all boils down to my ADHD – there are simply too many ‘distractions’ within the actual text for me to make sense of the whole while I am reading. BBC has produced several shows of Shakespeare’s various plays, using the original text (verse), and once I have the visual aid to go with the dialog I enjoy the rhythm of the verse :) I assume that the same would be true for Homer.
    I know that most of HC. Andersen’s production can be found on-line – both in Danish and in English translation, in case you are interested.
    I hope that your pain does not interfere to much with your reading.
    Hugs,
    Henric

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