|Bought at the Waterloo Bridge second-hand book market|
Twenty eight writers talk about the books that influenced them (in 1974). Most of them mention having started off with Treasure Island; one or two mention it in order to say they've not read it. Shakespeare is mentioned only positively; Dickens, Chaucer and Hardy get more of a mixed reception. Two people I hadn't heard of, Ivy Compton-Burnett and the Greek poet Cavafy, are praised by many. Also mostly praised are many I had heard of: Proust, Conrad, Lawrence, Austen, Waugh, Plato, Freud. I should have read Bookmarks with a memo pad in hand to note down authors and books, but as it is I take away the general reminder to keep reading, broadly and well. And the knowledge that nobody agrees on everyone. Except Shakespeare and Proust in French.