Who is your favorite author, and what sets him or her apart?Who is your favorite author, and what sets him or her apart?

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herappleness's profile pic

Posted on

My favorite writer is Oscar Wilde. I am not sure why. but he explains it best when he says that he has put his talent into his works, but his genius into his life. That genius eventually operated against him, but nevertheless I can tell you that I am very obsessed with everything Wilde.

As far as non-fiction writers, I am an Antonia Fraser fanatic.

kmcappello's profile pic

Posted on

I get this question a lot, and answering it is always a little daunting.  How do I choose?!  I like bullgatortail's strategy of breaking it down by type of writing, so I'll try that:

Favorite playwright: Shakespeare.  His work is still original, arresting, and hilarious, and it is sheer joy to read aloud.

Favorite poets: Jane Kenyon, Lynn Emmanuel, Sharon Olds, Mary Oliver. As a poet myself, I look to these women for inspiration.  They use language in strong new ways while still remaining accessible.

Favorite novelist: Margaret Atwood.  Her novels are gorgeous and intoxicating.  They read like guilty pleasure books yet still manage to generate interesting questions.

shaketeach's profile pic

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I respect and love many writers for various reasons but my all time favorite has to be, hands down, William Shakespeare. 

It doesn't matter how many times I see a play or re-read one, I always discover something I'd never seen or heard before.  His plays are like an onion.  Peel back a layer and there is another layer and so on.

His universality speaks for itself.  There is not a human condition that he doesn't reveal.  There is not a major literary theme he doesn't explore.  His characters are rich, diverse, and very human.

His use of lanaguage is masterful.  He manages to give each character an individual voice and skillfully mixes verse and prose as the situation requires.

If I could have only one book on a desert island, it would have to be The Complete Works of William Shakespeare.    

susan3smith's profile pic

Posted on

I'm from the South, and I think no one captures the crazy and paradoxical nature of this region better than William Faulkner.  His complex characters ARE disturbing but also humorous as told with Faulkner's dry wit.  Lately, though, I really like Cormac McCarthy. I am enjoying tracing his evolving style from the poetic All the Pretty Horses to the terse No Country for Old Men.

linda-allen's profile pic

Posted on

I have favorite authors, not just one. My all-time favorite would have to be Jean Plaidy/Victoria Holt/Philippa Carr (she wrote under all three names). She deserves the credit for turning me into a reader, first with her Victoria Holt mysteries, then with her Jean Plaidy historical fiction, and then with her Philippa Carr romance novels. I have read every book she wrote.

Currently, I have three favorite authors: Alison Weir, whose nonfiction reads like fiction. I was delighted when she started using her knowledge of Tudor England to write historical fiction. James Rollins, whose action/adventure books are great entertaiment. And Charlaine Harris, just because (everybody needs a trashy romance now and then).

mwestwood's profile pic

Posted on

There is something about the novels and poems of Thomas Hardy that appeal to the melancholy temperament in some of us....something magical about his narratives...the most wonderfully constructed sentences in such poignant tales.  He transports his readers into his Age and his imagined world. Our hearts extend into the pages of Tess d'Ubervilles and share her plight under the Imminent.

ktmagalia's profile pic

Posted on

I'd have to say Mark Twain.  I never tire of his wit and way of looking at the world.  I very often find myself alluding to one of his characters, or stories, and sometimes falling back on one of his many famous aphorisms. I never tire of reading his words or discussing his ideas.

kiwi's profile pic

Posted on

I have several writers whose work I return to for teaching and for pleasure. Steinbeck and Hemingway are never out of my 'current reading' book pile as both of them have a tightness of expression and a wealth of understated emotion. Daphne du Maurier is there too - particularly Rebecca due to the fascinatingly evil Mrs Danvers.

My light reading is Jodi Picoult. Some may sneer and dismiss as popular fiction but the situations and characterisation have me in tears EVERY time.

dastice's profile pic

Posted on

I say Steinbeck as well.  His writing is something I experience with my entire body.  When reading Of Mice and Men, for example, I had what felt like a rock in my stomach for the entire book.

William Faulkner and Chuck Palahnuik also cause that uncomfortable feeling for me.

Alexandre Dumas is another favorite.  I feel like I'm in a thrilling fantasy world when I read his novels.

lynn30k's profile pic

Posted on

Probably Steinbeck. He just seems to speak to the experiences of everyday people in a way that continues to be true, and creates such memorable characters.

bullgatortail's profile pic

Posted on

My favorite playwright is William Shakespeare, and my favorite poet is E. E. Cummings. Edgar Allan Poe is absolutely my favorite short story writer, and his poetry is also superb. Ernest Hemingway ranks very high because of both his novels and terrific short stories. Jerzy Kosinski is also another favorite; I've read all of his novels. Honorable mention goes to William Faulkner, John Steinbeck and Joseph Heller.

clairewait's profile pic

Posted on

It is extremely difficult to pick out one favorite, but I would say that David James Duncan would be pretty high up on any list I came up with.  His novels and short stories are really powerful in my mind.  If you look at "The Brothers K," it is a funny, heartbreaking, and eye-opening story about a family that includes things that I think are real and remind me so much of the dynamics within my own family and I think Duncan has an uncanny ability to write in such a way that you feel those emotions and the events in a way that most authors fail to do.

I also have to admit really enjoying Tolkien's works from the Symmarillion to the Lord of the Rings and the Lost Tales, pretty much all of it.  Who else produced an entire world with so much detail and so much poetry?

I too cannot pick a favorite author, but The Brothers K is one of my favorite books.

I almost never hear anyone outside of the northwest talk about it (I grew up in WA state, but am currently displaced all the way in NC).

auntlori's profile pic

Posted on

I enjoy nearly everything I read for one reason or another (style, structure,  storyline), so I don[t really have a favorite author.  Instead, I have favorite books.  Looking at them, here's what I like and appreciate in an author:

1.  A narrator who is appealing and insightful (perhaps even accidentally), as in Leif Enger's Peace Like a River, Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird, or Blue Hole Back Home by Joy Jordan-Lake.

2. A narrative that causes me to reflect upon my own moral belief system, such as Austen's Pride and Prejudice or Bronte's Jane Eyre.

3.  Characters who are inspiring, perhaps because of their flaws (like John Proctor in Miller's The Crucible) or because they move me (as does Cyrano in Rostand's Cyrano DeBergerac).

Reading one author for any length of time just doesn't appeal to me; instead, reading great work by a variety of authors is inspiring and enjoyable.

amy-lepore's profile pic

Posted on

I love Shakespeare's language and the way he is able to connect with all sorts of people from all walks of life.  As far as living authors, I enjoy Philipa Gregory for her historical romance novels featuring characters from the Tudor dynasty and bits of true history mixed in with imagined details.

I also enjoy Diana Gabaldon's time travel books quite a lot.  They are set in different eras of history, and the research she conducts to be sure her history is correct along with the reality of the characters she creates is intriguing.

kapokkid's profile pic

Posted on

It is extremely difficult to pick out one favorite, but I would say that David James Duncan would be pretty high up on any list I came up with.  His novels and short stories are really powerful in my mind.  If you look at "The Brothers K," it is a funny, heartbreaking, and eye-opening story about a family that includes things that I think are real and remind me so much of the dynamics within my own family and I think Duncan has an uncanny ability to write in such a way that you feel those emotions and the events in a way that most authors fail to do.

I also have to admit really enjoying Tolkien's works from the Symmarillion to the Lord of the Rings and the Lost Tales, pretty much all of it.  Who else produced an entire world with so much detail and so much poetry?

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