My favorite authors have, of course, changed over the years. When I was ten it was Lloyd Alexander for The Prydain Chronicles, which I’ll be rereading in May as part of a Middle Grade reading challenge. In Junior High it was Andre Norton, though rereading two of her books this year has made it harder to remember why, Susan Cooper and Anne McCaffrey. Going into High School, Anne McCaffrey and Katherine Kurtz. At least, those are the ones I remember. There were others, but I inhaled books and paid little attention to who the authors were unless they were in a series.
As an adult my reading slowed down, practically halting in my thirties as life became a bit overwhelming and then, in my mid thirties I went back to school to earn a degree and then teaching certification. Five years of assigned readings, some of which I still adore or hate to this day, stripped me of the ability to read for pleasure. So the following list really formed in the past two to three years, as reading has again become one of my primary leisure time activities.
This is the standard I use to determine a favorite author:
- Do I want to read everything he/she has published, even if the storyline doesn’t quite appeal to me?
- Have I read at least 3, preferably more, from this author? If a series author, have I read more than just one series?
- Am I anxious for more? Am I willing to/have I reread books by this author?
- Will I actually spend money to own physical copies of this author’s books?
Jasper Fforde tops the list. I began with the Tuesday Next series on audiobook (fantastic way to experience them, by the way, as the narrator has a lovely voice and accent), followed by the two Nursery Crimes novels and the (for now) standalone Shades of Grey. I have also read his YA Last Dragonslayer series, though they are my least favorite of his writing. Shades of Grey, which is also excellent on audiobook, is my stand-out favorite and I have been anxiously waiting for the second book of the planned trilogy (heavy sigh). Jasper Fforde books are brain candy, sheer enjoyment but still challenging in a fun way. There are literary references that I get right away, some that take me a bit, and I’m sure I haven’t noticed them all.
Gail Carriger is also a favorite, and her three Paranormal Steampunk series are all such fun. Her writing is constantly amusing and just such fun, even though I had an aversion to paranormal when I read the first book, Soulless. I’ve even bought the manga of the first three Parasol Protectorate books. I travelled an hour – IN RUSH HOUR TRAFFIC – to see her on tour for her latest novel, Prudence.
D.E. (Dorothy Emily) Stevenson wrote delightful middle-brow women’s fiction. First published in the 1930’s (a decade out of which have come some of my favorite books, which I really should blog about at some point), my favorite novel of hers so far is Miss Buncle’s Book, which is a book about a book and the effect of its publication on the author and the townspeople she based the story on. A majority of her books are out of print, but I have a standing order at a local used book store (which is much more reasonable than anywhere online) for any D.E. Stevenson books that come in. I’ve gained two Mrs. Tim books so far, though they are later in the series and are sitting in wait for the earlier entries.
In Inspirational Romance, I have two favorites – Melissa Jagears and Karen Witemeyer. Both integrate faith without preachiness into their stories, their protagonists are always likable, the conflicts just enough to keep the plot moving along, and provide just enough humor (especially Karen Witemeyer). This is a genre I am trying to expand when it comes to favorites, but most have not quite measured up to these two.
If I were to take away the requirements of having read more than three or more than just one series by an author, the list would be much longer. This requirement naturally precludes some amazing authors who have not yet published multiple books or those that I somehow have not read more than one book from (like Margaret Atwood – how have I only read one book by her? Granted I’ve read it several times, but still…). So here are a few possible contenders for the list (in no particular order, and not all-inclusive):
Marissa Meyer – The Lunar Chronicles
Ben H. Winters – The Last Policeman series
Rod Duncan – The Fall of the Gas-Lit Empire series
Chris Wooding – The Tales of the Ketty Jay series
Catherynne M. Valente – Fairyland series
Hannu Rajaniemi – I’ve only read The Quantum Thief, but I have books two and three on my shelf and I anticipate loving them while feeling like my brain has been overloaded and my intellect stretched as I did with the first. And he has a short story collection coming out soon…
So this was a bit of a ramble, and I’m sure the list of contenders would be longer if I looked at my GoodReads history rather than my physical bookshelves. I guess this could also be a “fair warning” list of authors that will pop up continually on this blog.
Have you enjoyed books by any of the authors mentioned? What do you think of the requirements listed above? Do you have a favorite author that fits these requirements?