A Novel Introduction
As a teenager, I developed my peripheral vision to near perfection. I could expertly take the bus, walk, eat, type and deftly traverse crowded high school hallways without directly looking at anything. Why did I do such a thing? Because my face was always in a book.
I constantly read back then. So I should have had a ready answer when I was recently asked by a publishing company representative "Whose your favorite author?"
What a wonderful question! I feel that knowing what an author reads is one way of getting to know them and their own writing. Which is why the representative asked me the question, I'm sure. But I stuttered and blustered for a moment because I have many favorites and some of them are not well known. I finally replied with Orson Scott Card and Jane Austen and the representative and I both felt pleased with the outcome. But since that interaction, I have been asking myself the question over and over again and have accrued quite a list.
Since I have the luxury of this blog and the time now to wax long on my favorite authors and books, I will endeavor to introduce myself - via novels.
Orson Scott Card - Most of the authors I will list are not my favorites for their whole body of written works, but for just one of their books, or a particularly lovely trilogy. In fact, when people ask "Whose your favorite author", I almost always reply with a list of books instead.
Orson Scott Card definitely falls into this category. But this one book of his, this Goliath of literature, has stayed at my #1 favorite since I read it as a 16 year old. Ender's Shadow. If you haven't read it, please do so. Some books I read for fun. Ender's Shadow I read to reconnect me with life and humanity.
Jane Austen - Because .... Jane Austen. :)
Megan Whalen Turner - For her superb The Thief Trilogy, a mastery of subtle plot twists and foreshadowing that keeps you re-reading her books just so you can catch and wrap your mind around all the trickery. A delicious delve into a Greek inspired culture and mythology.
Clare B. Dunkle - For her The Hollow Kingdom Trilogy , which takes you into a world of goblins and magic and has you rooting for the pluckiest and most lovable of heroines.
Holly Black - For her dark, modern faerie tales. The gritty, coming-of-age, magic dusted novels have been favorites from the moment I discovered them. Tithe, Valiant and Ironside have given me an appreciation for the dark things, the naked-truth things, the real-life things, all wrapped up in glamour.
Markus Zusak - For the unique, stunning descriptions and heart-rending characters of The Book Thief. Yes. Without a doubt, one of the most marvelous literary forays.
Sigrid Undset - More recently, this author (a Scandinavian Nobel Prize winner) has informed me of the ugly truths, the deep rages and the flawed, brave humans of old Norway. If you've ever read Wuthering Heights, Sigrid's books will strike a familiar chord. Her chilling, fascinating novels remind you that sometimes you don't get the happy ending, especially when you've made poor life choices. My favorites are Gunnar's Daughter and The Axe.
There are a multitude more books on my shelves that I love and have loved for years, but these are the authors and books that I think of the most when someone asks "who" and "what". I'm sure they have all shaped my own writing in some way, and I only hope to do as well.