Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme for bloggers who like books and lists. It's awesome and is graciously hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.Because I like to make a bigger and hairier deal out of everything, I found myself perplexed by this week's topic. What does favorite authors really mean?? There are authors whose work I adore and I've read a ton of their books but their books haven't really made an impact on my life besides giving me joy. Then there are a handful of authors whose books I adore and though I've maybe only read 2 or 3 of their books, I've walked away feeling wiser or more aware of life's truths after reading them. I feel like they both deserve a place don't they? So I think I'll list some favorites from both categories.
They share a couple of characteristics: 1) If I haven't already I'd like to at least try everything they've written and 2) I've liked, if not loved, everything I've read by them. They are first and foremost authors I enjoy reading. There is nobody like Proust or Thomas Mann on here (I've actually not read either - perhaps they are delightful!).
The Impact Authors
1) C.S. Lewis
I'm pretty sure I've read all of his fiction and dipped my toe into his non-fiction. The Chronicles of Narnia was a treasured favorite of my childhood and while I'm not a religious person I am fascinated by religion and I think Lewis deserves some of the credit for that. Reading Narnia first as a straight set of adventures and then when older picking out all the symbolism and allegory kept me completely spellbound. I loved how well these books worked as both
2) Dorothy Dunnett
For me, reading her books is like being completely immersed in a different time and place. I feel like I come out understanding exactly what it was like to live in 16th century Europe. She is the historical fiction writer that all others must live up to in my book.
3) Lois McMaster Bujold
She's the SF&F writer that everybody seems to forget about. She writes equally well in both genres and her emphasis is always on character which I think is why I love her so. Many of her books leave me feeling happy AND contemplative and I love that. She may not be as ground-breaking as Ursula K. LeGuin or C.J. Cherryh but she is quietly writing some of the best character-driven fiction out there.
4) Edith Wharton
I hesitate to put her on this list because I've only read her major works - Ethan From, The Age of Innoncence, House of Mirth and The Buccanneers - but I love how she writes and how brilliantly her stories dissect the society of her time. I find her books incisive while also completely mesmerizing. She also is a complete genius at writing interesting, complicated characters.
5) Jane Austen
So Austen does the same thing as Wharton but with a sly wit that makes every part of my brain smile AND she manages to give them all a happy ending. I wish there were 30 more Austen novels and I would devour them all and feel like I had a better grasp on human nature after each one
The Fun Crowd
6) Georgette Heyer
She wrote regency romances in the first half of this century and did so, so delightfully that she made me fall in love with the romance genre again ;0). I've read 16 of her books and positively adored at least 15 of them. I finally had to stop mainlining her books because I needed a few in reserve for when I needed to be infused with a little joy.
7) Agatha Christie
I could read Agatha Christie books on a constant loop and be pretty happy about it. I like the era her books are set in and the mysteries are usually bar none.
I need to re-read the Aubrey and Maturin series because it gives me such joy and gave me the never-to-be-fulfilled yearning to be part of a British Man-O-War's crew circa 1800. Seriously. Weevilly biscuits and all. Especially if Stephen Maturin was along and we could geek out about Natural History and I could convince him that he didn't need to kill EVERYthing. And if he actually looked like Paul Bettany.
9) Mary Roach
She almost went in the impact group because her first book Stiff changed how I think about non-fiction. Since reading it, she is on my immediate read list for everything she publishes. I'm tempted to break into her house just to read all her notes (Just kidding! sort of.). In all her books she tackles subjects that are somewhat taboo and handles them with a balance of humor and respect that must have been difficult to master. It is obvious that she finds much joy in all her subjects and it's completely contagious. Don't think you are interested in the gastro-intestinal system? Read her latest book, Gulp, and you'll discover that you are completely fascinated by it!
10) Garth Nix
I love his imagination and am really bummed that I've read most of his major works. His YA is inventive and interesting and his characters so easy to get behind. I'll read anything he puts out.
Well, that's ten. I think if you asked me to make this list tomorrow it would likely be different. Some of these will be favorites for my whole life while others are likely just favorites for right now. I will probably look at other's lists and completely regret that I didn't include another ten authors that are my REAL favorites:). But it's getting late so I better stop dithering....