The Andrew Klavan Symposium
Section I – Opening Remarks
Section II – Dialogue
Dear Jon, Alec, Fred, and Chris,
Throughout this dialogue you have each referenced other authors who have influenced you and who have reminded you in some way of Andrew Klavan’s work. Alec brought up C.S. Lewis, Fred invoked Thomas Sowell, Jon brought Augustine and monk-poet Thomas Merton into the dialogue, and Chris quoted the prophet Isaiah.
For many years I’ve been in the habit of list-making regarding books, authors, films and all sorts of subjects. And I don’t intend on breaking that habit anytime soon, in fact I’m doing the opposite: encouraging you and other writers to assemble lists too. In particular: who are the authors and books who most inspire you today? Which writers and titles are akin to weapons in your armory? Whose ideas and storytelling techniques do you adapt into your own?
After we conclude this dialogue about Klavan’s memoir with one final post each, I challenge each of you — and all readers are invited too — to submit your lists of key authors and books. (Submissions@LibertyIslandmag.com please.) I restarted this project last year with my “Essential Authors” series at my “Travel, Art, and Book” blog and now I’m expanding the dialogue at Liberty Island. Anyone is welcome to join in the discussions of influential authors and their most valuable books. Who are the essential authors for you and which of their books cannot be missed?
As a place to begin the debate, I present the above image. When we moved into our new home in summer 2015 it didn’t take me long to figure out what items to feature in a display case built into the wall: my collection of autographed novels and non-fiction books. There’s only room for 9 titles to be visibly displayed across the three shelves, but others sit behind them, for a total of 23 books in the case (not all of the titles in my autographed collection, but the cream of the crop…) Here are the authors included in the above photo, with links to highest priority texts, and a few comments about why they are so valuable and inspiring to me.
1. James Wasserman
Recommended Reading To Begin:
- The Egyptian Book of the Dead: The Book of Going Forth by Day: The Complete Papyrus of Ani Featuring Integrated Text and Full-Color Images
- The Secrets of Masonic Washington: A Guidebook to Signs, Symbols, and Ceremonies at the Origin of America’s Capital
- The Temple of Solomon: From Ancient Israel to Secret Societies
- In the Center of the Fire: A Memoir of the Occult 1966-1989
- The Slaves Shall Serve: Meditations on Liberty
- The Templars and the Assassins: The Militia of Heaven
It’s now been about 15 years since I’ve been an open mystic, occultist, and quiet practitioner of magickal rituals. During this time I’ve read plenty of books on these subjects and in my humble opinion the very best author alive today writing on them is Wasserman. Nobody is better at presenting the historical development of the mystical traditions with more solid sourcing and better arguments than him. Wasserman is also a key influence in what I’ve described as “Biblical Occultism.”
2. Andrew Klavan
Recommended Reading To Begin:
I initially kicked off this series of highlighting authors with this post here, explaining why Klavan had become such an important creative influence. I recommend his books to all the novelists I work with and am studying his body of work. I also credit Klavan with inspiring my recent passion for Raymond Chandler’s novels.