1. esshesse
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    esshesse Member

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    Favorite Authors and Their Works

    Discussion in 'Book Discussion' started by esshesse, Jul 13, 2016.

    I'm creating this thread just so I might hopefully learn about a new author... I love literature and wisdom, and I like learning things from the books I read... learning about new perspectives, about history, from keen observations of great geniuses. Writers like Hesse... he is the gold standard for me. I tend to dislike long novels, and prefer short works that don't require too much attachment from the reader - I get bored very easily, but not always...

    What are your favorites?

    Here are mine:

    1. Hermann Hesse - Narcissus and Goldmund is his magnum opus in my view... Siddhartha a close second

    2. Par Lagerkvist - Just read Barabbas and am reading The Dwarf now. I enjoy his cynical and sparse style.

    3. Camus - The Stranger is really the only work of his I love. I also like his essays.

    4. Tolstoy - His short stories - I've never read his long novels. The later short stories are full of insight and compassion, especially the Death of Ivan Illych.

    5. Mark Twain - The Mysterious Stranger is wonderful. I tend to like darker subjects...

    6. Steinbeck - East of Eden literally changed my life and opened my eyes to many things that I'd never realized before.
     
  2. CrusherBrooks
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    CrusherBrooks Member Supporter

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    I actually never read very much until I started writing. I would recommend Stephen Hawking's "A brief history of time", and my interest in fantasy was sparked for the first time (at age 12) by Stephen King's "Firestarter". Stephen King is a pretty good one overall I'd say, "Gerald's Game" is a nicely nasty one, as is "IT". Actually "Thinner" might be his best work in my opinion. And no list is complete without (my nation's literary pride) "the Discovery of Heaven" by Harry Mulisch. So there you go!
    Stephen King: Firestarter, IT, Gerald's Game, Thinner
    Harry Mulisch: the Discovery of Heaven
    Stephen Hawking: A brief history of time
     
  3. Gazzola
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    Gazzola Member

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    I feel like a commoner when I see the authors you guys consider your favorites. Twain and Tolstoy? Hawking? Damn...

    1. Brandon Sanderson - The Emperor's Soul - An oriental medieval fantasy novela

    2. Jim Butcher - The Aeronaut's Windlass - An introduction to Butcher if you don't wan't to start with his 7 or 15 books series. It's Steampunk.

    3. Patricia Briggs - The Alpha and The Omega - Urban Fantasy. This is Brigg's secondary series, but I think it's better than her original one.

    4. Ilona Andrews - The Innkeeper Chronicles - Urban Fantasy with vampires from space. Also a secondary series which I consider better than the main one.

    5. Andry Weir - The Martian - Needs no intro right?

    6. Ian M. Banks - The Player of Games - It's Ender's Game for adults.

    And my guilty pleasure because this guy is a much less skilled writer them all the rest, but his two books were hilarious:

    6. Justin B. Shier - Zero Sight / Zero Sum - Urban Fantasy YA
     
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2016
  4. peachalulu
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    peachalulu Contributing Member Reviewer Contributor

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    1. Kathe Koja - Skin, Strange Angels, The Cipher - I love her offbeat style. Some of her sentences are out there but she's never boring. Blows Stephen King out of the water as far as I'm concerned for best horror.

    2. Nabokov - Lolita, Invitation to a Beheading, Transparent Things - he's so bizarre, his word play is amazing, and he manages to sustain a poetry feeling straight through a novel without stalling out the story.

    3. Norma Fox Mazer - Silver, Mrs. Fish, Ape and me The Dump Queen, her short story collections - first novelist that I read that didn't treat a child protagonist as something inferior - outside of Blume - but way better than Blume.

    4.Lygia Fagunda Telles - The Girl in the Photograph, The Marble Game - she's a Brazillian novelist. I've only got two of her novels but they are amazing. Her prose is incredible.

    5. John Collier - Fancies and Goodnights - I love his short stories they're fantasies but they don't take themselves too seriously they're very funny and offbeat.

    6. William Kotzwinkle - Herr Nightingale and the Satin Woman - he defies description and inspires me to write what I like regardless of genre.

    7. Tom Wolfe - The Electric Kool Aid Acid Test, his 60's/70's books, I am Charlotte Simmons - he's so jubilant and lively. I love his style.

    8. Shelley Katz - Alligator - I bought this with my usual horror haul but the read was quite extraordinary an actual thinking man's literary horror. Nice to see a writer take a formally run down idea - and breathe life back into it.

    9. Tom Metzger - Big Gurl - Strangest horror I've ever read. Taught me an odd pov ( an Amazonian mentally handicap woman whose burned doll is turned into a fetish object ) can be very compelling. Unfortunately I don't think the writer wrote anything else other than this.

    10. Joy Fielding - See Jane Run, Still Life - I can read her books like eating popcorn. Ditto Mary Higgins Clark. The pace is brilliant.

    11. Opal Whiteley - Opal - This is a vintage child's diary but the language is amazing.

    12. Tennesse Williams - his short story collection - I've always loved his movies but I was shocked at just how good he was with a short story.

    13. Graham Rawle - Woman's World - picked this up on a sale rack for two dollars. Haven't regreted it. The man wrote the entire story cut and paste style by clipping old phrases and words from vintage woman's magazines - brilliant!

    14. Angela Carter - The Bloody Chamber - took fairy tales to a whole nother level.

    ... I'll stop now.
     
  5. shaddix
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    shaddix richard simmons prodigy

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    I tend to read more poetry than I do novels. Hopefully this list is still of interest to someone.

    1. Edna St. Vincent Millay- This chicks like a rock star to me but most recently her poem "Song" has really stuck with me.

    2. Maya Angelou- "No No No No" Possibly one of the best American poems ever written in my opinion.

    3. Milan Kundera- The Unbearable Lightness of Being is a classic if you haven't already read it. I read my copy while on a 40+ hour greyhound bus ride and the experience was surreal.

    4. Eireann Corrigan- "You Remind Me of You" is a beautiful poetry memoir that brings me to tears every time I pick it up.

    5. Cynthia Rylant- Another collection of poems, "God Went to Beauty School" is more humorous than the previously mentioned pieces. I haven't read it since 11th grade but I still always tell people it's one of my favorite books because for some reason it's stuck with me.
     
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  6. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    Dostoevsky - The Brothers Karamazov. Perhaps the greatest novel.

    I second @peachalulu with respect to both Nabokov and Angela Carter.
     
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  7. esshesse
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    esshesse Member

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    Lol. Try the literature... it will be hard to go back to the other stuff... it's like acquiring a taste for shows like Breaking Bad then going back to Law and Order... hard to to :)
     
  8. esshesse
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    esshesse Member

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    Karamazov is the one I want to read. I read a lot of Dostoevsky when I was youn


    The only one of those I've read is Lolita. The Bloody Chamber sounds intriguing... I like fairy tales and I like the sound of it.
     
  9. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    Angela Carter was an amazing writer.
     
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  10. Selbbin
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    Selbbin I hate you Contributor

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    Hubert Selby jr. - Last exit to Brooklyn
    Charles Bukowski - Factotum and Women
    Truman Capote - Breakfast at Tiffany's
     
  11. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Ernest Hemingway - For Whom The Bell Tolls is one of my favorite novels. Hemingway was a master of capturing character in words, and the ragtag little band of peasant warriors in this novel of the Spanish Civil War have some shining examples among them. They include probably the greatest female character Hemingway ever created: Pilar, a force of nature if there ever was one. And you can't go wrong with his collected short stories, either. He wrote some masterpieces of the form.

    Anthony Burgess - A Clockwork Orange. Burgess was a master of language, and the dystopian-future teenage language he invents in this book is challenging, uncompromising, and very funny. Also, check out Burgess' magnum opus, Earthly Powers. It's a big, ambitious novel written in a virtuoso prose style. It's about an elderly writer, wealthy and notoriously gay, who much earlier in his life became the brother-in-law of the man who would become the Pope. It's fascinating.

    I echo what @esshesse said about John Steinbeck's East of Eden. Another of my favorite novels, beautiful and profound.

    The shorter poems of Robinson Jeffers. They're gorgeous, especially "Night", "Hurt Hawks", "Continent's End", "To The Stone Cutters", and some others. Jeffers also wrote some long narrative poems that function as poetic horror stories: "Roan Stallion", "Tamar", "The Women At Point Sur", and others. Jeffers was a unique poet, towering and powerful, and always philosophically challenging.

    Walt Whitman - Leaves of Grass. Arguably the most important poetry collection ever written in America. Whitman's poetic voice is shockingly original and personal. I especially love "Out of the Cradle Endlessly Rocking" and "I Sing the Body Electric" but just about everything in Leaves of Grass is unlike anything I'd ever read before.
     
  12. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    Our neighbor has a first edition of this book. He let me hold it, and I almost proposed to him. :love:
     
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  13. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    I thought found a first edition of Joseph Conrad's Victory in a used bookstore, but my hopes were dashed when it turned out to be a second printing from a couple years later. Still bought it .
     
  14. esshesse
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    esshesse Member

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    Francis Macomber... profound
     
  15. ReverieDays
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    ReverieDays New Member

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    My answer to this tends to change every few years or so, but I'd say Neil Gaiman has been my favorite author for awhile now. American Gods and Good Omens are two of my favorite books.
     
  16. 6th.
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    6th. New Member

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    Murakami / J.G Ballard / Hemingway / Vonnegut / Dickens
     
  17. Seraph751
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    Seraph751 If I fell down the rabbit hole...

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    My fave authors are:
    Kresley Cole: Sweet Ruin, and whole IAD series
    Dana Marie Bell: Steel Beauty and all of her books.
    G.A. Aiken: What a Dragon Should Know best, but I adore the entire Dragon Kin series
    Shelley Laurenston: Beast Behaving Badly best but I do thoroughly enjoy all of her books.
    Eve Langlais: Love all of her series, but if push came to shove and I would choose her entire, Welcome to Hell series
    S.E. Smith: Dust but I enjoy all of her series
    M.K. Eidem: Grim but I also enjoy all of her series.

    By the way, all of these authors are found in the Romance genre, however, these ladies are marvelous authors and also offer up many things to learn from in terms of their world building, character execution, uniqueness and in my opinion the ability to transport you to their world(s) as well.

     
  18. BayView
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    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

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    I can't keep a favourite author because when I find one I like and then read them until I'm completely sick of them or find one book that doesn't measure up and then quit, disappointed.

    I guess I need to find an author with only one book?

    I reviewed my Goodreads ratings for this (I only started rating there a few years ago, so it's not a complete record)...

    Hardly any five-star reads, and those that were there were mostly sentimental favourites rather than ones I'd want to argue were great.

    I think there's an issue because most modern stuff I'm reading as a writer, rather than as a reader, so it's harder to figure out how it would affect me if I didn't have that extra set of criteria.

    From stuff I read before I started writing?

    Jane Austen is pretty excellent. My fave is Persuasion, but I like most of her stuff.

    I loved Anne McCaffery's Pern books but am afraid to go back and read them as an adult. Same for SE Hinton and most of the other authors I devoured when I was younger.

    Shakespeare is kind of a cliche choice, but I love his words. Macbeth is probably my favourite.

    I remember falling into a bit of a Carson McCullers well when I was in university, but I can't remember exactly what I loved about her.

    Margaret Atwood, Timothy Findley (when I'm not throwing his books across the room b/c he's mean to demons and unicorns), Alice Munro when I want to be discouraged about life.

    Not a very coherent list, I'm afraid...
     
  19. theamorset
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    theamorset Contributing Member

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    There are so many greats. Dostoevski, Turgenev, J.D. Salinger(short stories), Eudora Welty, Katherine Ann Porter, Faulkner, Hemingway, Steinbeck, Salman Rushdie, Umberto Ecco, Vikram Seth and other authors from India, Mikhael Sholokhov(And Quiet Flows the Don), Ambrose Bierce, Conrad Aiken(Secret Snow, Silent Snow, or something to that effect).
     
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2016
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  20. Zorg
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    Zorg Member

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    Absalom, Absalom! by William Faulkner. It still maintains its power over the 80 years of its existence. Of all the American novels proclaimed to be the greatest, this one is probably one of the very few that deserve the title.

    The Master and Margarita
    - Mikhail Bulgakov. Good. Evil. Innocence. Guilt. Courage. Cowardice. Satan. Christ. Writers. Muses. And cats who drink vodka. Incredible.

    I still read Vonnegut quite a bit: Slaughterhouse, Sirens of Titan, Mother Night, Cat's Cradle... Something about Vonnegut and JG Ballard says that they knew what was going to happen in the world.

    Money / Times Arrow / London Fields / The Information by Martin Amis.

    Libra / White Noise / Underworld by Don DeLillo. Should be required reading for students.

    Thomas Pynchon - pretty much everything up until Bleeding Edge.

    I know Kerouac has a reputation for being a drunk (big deal!) and some tend to dismiss him because of it but his essays on writing were more sober and intelligent than anything else that his peers were producing.

    Sam Shepard has several collections of short stories that I find fascinating in their simplicity; he's an obvious influence on how I write.

    Space and time keeps me from listing others such as Salman Rushdie, Cormac McCarthy, Flannery O'Connor, Saul Bellow, Douglas Coupland, Jeffrey Eugenides...
     
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  21. SethLoki
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    SethLoki Unemployed Autodidact Contributor

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    I've seen Faulkner mentioned more than once here and feel pretty ignorant that I don't know much of him. There's an opportunity now though to read it (absalom @Zorg cheers) with out any prejudice nor contamination. If someone I respect champions a book, I cut away from reading their endorsements and get down to giving the thing a go. No blurb (I'm one for skipping a prologue too)—a mystery ride I guess. I'm the same with films too—I'll watch certain directors' offerings without so much as having any idea what they're about to be about.

    To the meat of this thread:

    Iain Banks (that gruesome read 'Song of Stone' especially)
    David Mitchell (Ghostrwritten for me outranks Cloud Atlas even though he himself thinks not)
    Flann O'Brien (Third Policeman (weird but wonderful))
    Kenneth Grahame ( WIW—Thankful he didn't kill his darlings)

    @theamorset you missed a comma after Vikram ;-)
     
    Last edited: Aug 22, 2016
  22. Sack-a-Doo!
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    Sack-a-Doo! Contributing Member Contributor

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    My favourites are:

    Michael Crichton
    Ken Follett
    Stephen King (although I don't like his 'yuck' factor)
    Isaac Asimov

    And other than King, I like everything written by them... although Follett got a lot better after 1985.
     
  23. Scot
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    Scot Active Member

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    I've not bothered reading anyone else's contribution to this thread, but my favorite authors are as follows:-
    Ian Banks: The Crow Road, Espedair Street, The Steep Approach to Garbadale, Stonemouth, and of course, The Wasp Factory.
    Ian M Banks (same guy): Any and all of his Culture sci-fi novels.
    Stieg Larsson: The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, The Girl Who Played With Fire, The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets nest.
    Patrick O'Brian: Everything he wrote!
    Charles Dickens: A Tale of Two Cities. (I think this has the longest opening sentence in English literature)
    Alexandre Dumas: The Count of Monte Cristo.

    There are many authors I rate highly, but the novels by those above are like old friends.
     
  24. OurJud
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    OurJud Contributing Member Contributor

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    I once heard Banks say, when being interviewed about The Wasp Factory, that whenever he felt the story drying up or found himself struggling, he would have the MC get a telephone call from his mentally ill brother, because they acted as filler and were easy and fun to write.

    It endeared me to him because he let us see that even published writers resort to filler from time to time (although he wouldn't have been a published writer at the time so I'm not sure it counts). Still true to say those fillers made it to print, though.
     
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