Author Addiction: Roald Dahl

author addiction

It’s the first Monday of the month and we’re back with Author Addiction! This is a monthly feature here on Of Dragons and Hearts and on A Fool’s Ingenuity, Becky’s wonderful blog. You can also check out my previous editions with Rainbow RowellJill ShalvisJane Austen, Robin Hobb, Tessa DareSarah MacLeanLaini TaylorVictoria (V. E.) Schwab, Sarah J. Maas, and Jennifer L. Armentrout.

This will be the last Author Addiction post for a while. No, don’t cry, Becky and I are just out of common authors to write about so we each picked a freebie for this month. But we decided to collaborate on another monthly feature in 2016 – we’re currently discussing details (it’s all very hush-hush … by which I mean that we haven’t thought of a name yet). Anyway, stay tuned for something new and fresh in January and enjoy our last fangirly moments.

It’s ROALD DAHL’s turn for me – my favourite author of children’s books. I know Becky is writing about Neil Gaiman, so go check out her post (I liked Stardust and The Graveyard Book but haven’t read any of his adult stuff so I can’t do an AA post about him, sadly).

srcek

matilda-roald-dahlI usually start these Author Addictions by saying how I encountered the chosen author. With Roald Dahl (1916-1990), I simply have no idea. I think it must have been my mom picking up Matilda or James and the Giant Peach at the library. And then she read them aloud to my brother and me, it was our nighttime ritual for years. Anyway, these were all translations, of course, and we slowly worked our way through The WitchesThe BFG and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. I was a bit older when we read Revolting Rhymes, which is a collection of fairy tale retellings (poems, really) and it’s great.

My all-time favourite is still The Witches. It’s absolutely horrifying and if you have a young kid at home you might wait until s/he’s about 10 to read this. I don’t know. But I did love it as a kid and I loved it later when I re-read it. And it features a great relationship between a boy and his grandmother, who’s an amazing old lady. In fact, Dahl’s books have no shortage of great female characters – both young and old. Matilda and Sophie (from The BFG) are great girl characters with actual agency!

skin-roald-dahlI am currently slowly working my way through the originals of Dahl’s works – being a translator means I’m always curious about how the translations compare to the originals. I finished The BFG a couple of days ago and I have to say I don’t envy the translator who did this one. I’ll have to check out a copy of the translation and look at it now, but I remember enjoying it very much as a kid. It’s full of made-up words, wrong uses of set expressions and horrible puns – it must be a total pain in the ass to translate even though it’s really quite a short text.

Later on, when I was at the university, I also picked up Dahl’s short stories for adults. Now if you know how trippy, revolting, and fantastic his children’s books get, you multiply that by a hundred and add some murder and dark humor, you get these wonderful tales. I read Skin first, but Kiss, KIss is also great. I think I managed to read most of his short stories, in fact, I was quite obsessed with them for a while. I wish I could write like that.

srcek

Ahh, so what makes Roald Dahl’s writing so wonderful? I think it’s a combination of a wicked sense of humor, total disregard for authority figures, and a good dose of craziness. I think you have to be sort of nuts to write stuff like that – but in a good way, you know? :) I know I’ll be reading his books to my kids – when they’re old enough.

I don’t usually talk about the writers’ lives outside of their writing but here’s a fun fact about Dahl: he was a pilot in the British Royal Air Force in World War II.

If you’re not into reading children’s books (though his really aren’t your usual kind-hearted fairy stories), I highly recommend you pick up his short stories for adults because they are amazing.

Don’t forget to check out Becky’s post! :)

srcek

Have you read any of Roald Dahl’s books? Or watched the movies, perhaps?

Who’s your favourite childhood author? 

I’d love to hear from you! :)

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  • Nicole Hewitt

    I actually never read Dahl as a kid – I encountered him when my son read him in school. He loved Matilda, so I picked it up as well, and I was so glad I did!! I’ve read a few others, but I should make an effort to make my way through them all!

    Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction

    • I’m glad your son had to read Dahl in school – it’s a sign of teachers being bigger than their egos, I think (Dahl has a horrible attitude towards teachers, I think) :) If you haven’t read The Witches, I highly recommend it!

  • I know I read The Witches when I was maybe 9, but I think that’s the only Roald Dahl book I’ve read. I’ve always meant to try Matilda and/or Charlie and the Chocolate Factory since both movies are so great. I’m sure I will at some point since I like reading books that movies are based on. Those adult short stories also sound interesting!

    • Matilda is wonderful, it’s second on my list of favourites. But yeah, his short stories for adults are pretty badass, so I’d definitely give them a try if I was you.

  • I adore Roald Dahl, too. So much! He’s one of my favorite authors for sure. My favorite is Matilda, but I love The Witches too. And James and the Giant Peach. And really all of his. The only ones I haven’t read yet are the Charlie ones.

    • Yeah, Matilda is a close second for me, I just always enjoyed the scary aspect of The Witches (which is interesting because I dislike scary stuff elsewhere). The Charlie ones aren’t my absolute favourites but they’re still good, especially the first one.

  • I have finally gotten around to reading this and now I want to dig out all of my Roald Dahl books. I always forget he wrote books for actual adults and that he wasn’t just a children’s writer. Whenever anyone mentions his name I instantly think children’s books, I remember he wrote some poems where he retold fairytales and they were hilarious, they were my first experience of fairytale retellings. At school we had world book day and one of those poems was featured in this free book we all got and I remember that was when I officially fell in love with Roald Dahl after reading about Red Riding Hood having a wolf skin fur coat because she’d pulled a gun and shot the wolf. It’s a classic.

    I have to say, I had never thought about the issues with translating Dahl’s writing but it would be a nightmare wouldn’t it? He makes up words and doesn’t write in a normal way but makes things up as he goes along. It’s what makes him so magic and original and why he will always be an author people love, no matter what age you’re at.

    Also, can I just say I keep attempting to think of a title and it’s not going well. I hate naming things, it’s so hard. I’m stuck with the word trope and names that sound too similar to TTT so then I’ve been trying to think of other names for Tropes and bookish themes and it’s not going well. Any idea of what theme we should start off with as well? Should we go a well known romance theme like bffs to lovers or fake relationships or so we do something different?