I bought a book by Andre Dubus on the weekend and spent the train trip home wondering how to pronounce his name. "Dub-us"? "Do-boos"? Turns out it's "Duh-byoose" (thanks, Google). Armed with this information I can now wade into any conversations about Andre Dubus that might crop up at dinner parties or on the bus, confident that I'll at least get his name right. Now all I have to do is find somebody who wants to have a conversation about Andre Dubus.
Whilst searching for Dubus-pronunciation assistance I came across a post at The Millions which features a fairly comprehensive list of hard-to-pronounce literary names. The only revelatory pronunciation listed is that of Donald (and, presumably, Frederick) Barthelme, which is apparently "BAR-tuhl-mee" rather than the more prosaic (and sensible) "BAR-thelm". Other than that I appear to be pronouncing most of the listed writers' names correctly, or close enough. (I'm still not sure if it's "kut-see" or "curt-see".) I was also pleased to see that mispronunciations I once employed are apparently common. For years I said "woad-house" rather than "wood-house", "thuh-row" when it's actually "thuh-roo", and "bore-jez" when it is, of course, "bore-has". I still don't know how to pronounce "Goethe", but neither does anybody else. "Goat" seems to get the point across.