Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Blogging A to Z: O is for Joyce Carol Oates

Welcome to the Blogging From A to Z Challenge!

My theme for 2013 is Influential Women Authors.

My definition of influential is any author, classic or modern, who has inspired writers, readers, or the larger scope of culture. Some are personal favorites, or have special meaning to me.

What this list is not: a list of the most influential writers of all time. Rather, this is a collection of influential writers, corresponding with each day's letter.

For the full list of participating blogs, click here.

J: Joyce Carol Oates

image: Goodreads
Even if you haven't read her books, most likely her name is familiar. Oates has been nominated numerous times for the National Book Award, which she won, the Pulitzer Prize, and other distinguished awards and recognitions including Oprah's famous book club.

She's been publishing short stories and novels for fifty years--and still going--about everything from families with distinctly American themes like The Gravedigger's Daughter, to a fictional account of Marilyn Monroe's life in Blonde. She's written about killers, and she's written for teens. It's amazing how she has defied categorization; where many authors stumble in branching out to varied subjects and genres, that is simply what she does. In short, the woman is amazing.

She has a new novel out, The Accursed, set at an American university in the early 20th century. The best website I found for her is linked from the University of San Francisco, there is a whole site dedicated to educating others about her work and her influence on literature, including a really great breakdown of her fiction, short stories, and non-fiction (oh yeah, she writes that too).

Have you read her work? Which book is your favorite? Which would you recommend?


  1. I read Blackwater (I believe that was the title - it was a very long time ago!) back in college, and I also got the chance to meet Ms. Oates in person before she gave a talk at the school. :)

  2. I am getting to this blog late in the challenge but I am pinning it so I can go back and read all the posts. I have read many of these books and am familiar with the authors. Still, I am always looking for books recommended by others.

    BTW, thanks for the post on my Completely California blog. I do believe that everyone who has gone through Needles has broken down there.

  3. I've been meaning to read her work. Like you said, I've certainly heard of her!

    Writing Through College

  4. I'm embarrassed to admit I've never read Oates. Hmmm, sounds like I'm missing out - thanks for the info! Blonde sound intereresting and how can something called The Gravedigger's Daughter NOT be interesting? THANKS!!! Keep 'em coming!

  5. It's so neat that you're mentioning Joyce Carol Oates here because I met her last month when she was giving a talk at a local bookstore to promote The Accursed. I even got a picture with her after she signed my books! (And I blogged about my experience too.)

  6. I have a fuzzy memory of my parents going to see her speaking in the early Eighties. They had a lot of her books, so I knew the name growing up, even if I hadn't read her books. I might've read some of her short stories, but I can't recall if I've ever read any of her novels.

  7. I've never heard of her :(

  8. I knew you'd include Oates here! She is one of my favorite authors. Some of her writing can be somewhat strange but her style is meticulous and she knows her writing stuff. My favorite book of hers? I liked both We Were the Mulvaneys and The Gravedigger's Daughter. I've also read two of her memoir works, A Widow's Story and Blue Nights, both good for those writing memoir, both somewhat depressing and heavy as they deal with her husband's sudden death and her daughter's death two years later, respectively.


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