Crazy-for-Books.com and their weekly Book Party for bloggers and readers to connect and share their loves, and I decided to join in the fun!
This week's question: Tell us about some of your favorite authors and why they are your favorites!
Okay, I think I'll break this down into three parts, because I love too many authors to restrain myself!
My favorite Witchy author is Cate Tiernan. No question-- as you have probably noticed from my reviews of Sweep and Balefire. She is just incredible at world-building, character development, and suspense. Every word she writes rings true, no matter how fantastical the subject matter. I really hope that with Immortal Beloved and the Sweep and Balefire bind-ups, she finally gets the recognition she deserved 10 years ago. On the comics side of things, Matt Wagner has me absolutely enchanted (no pun intended) with his work on Madame Xanadu. I really hope the sales allow it to get the full 50-60 issue run it deserves-- or possibly even more!
My favorite non-Witchy YA authors are Tamora Pierce and Suzanne Collins. I first discovered Tamora Pierce in middle school, and Alanna, the girl who disguised herself as a boy to become the greatest knight of her realm, was a real inspiration to me. Tammy herself is also one of my heroes, being an outspoken feminist her whole life and writing unabashedly feminist works aimed at the girls who need the most empowerment. And due to the magical powers most of her protagonists exhibit, I am often tempted to review them here (and may yet someday!) Suzanne Collins I love simply because she wrote the last two books I just could not put down. I bought Catching Fire in the middle of studying for midterms because I could not possibly wait to find out what happened next.
Someone who could be included in both categories but deserves to be mentioned on her own is J.K. Rowling. She did the impossible and wrote not just one but seven books that virtually everyone from every walk of life read and loved. She grappled with some of the darkest aspects of the human condition in a way that still made you feel exhilarated to be alive and inspired acts of goodness in people far and wide-- Harry Potter fan charities go towards everything from promoting literacy to fighting genocide. She doesn't just deserve the Nobel Prize for Literature, but Peace as well.
Adult authors I love are Michael Chabon, Kurt Vonnegut, Susanna Clarke, Terry Pratchett, and P.G. Wodehouse.
Chabon wrote my favorite novel ever: The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay; he brought to life the most turbulent time of the 20th century (both geopolitically and pop-culturally) in the most beautiful prose, through the eyes of two Jewish cousins in Brooklyn--one a refugee from Nazi Prague, the other a gay polio survivor-- who find the perfect expression of strength in creating their own superheroes during the Golden Age of Comics. Chabon gave new dignity to the oft-derided word "escapist" and won a Pulitzer doing it.
Kurt Vonnegut is my personal guru. I cried for two days when he died. He used to say that everything you need to know about life is in The Brothers Karamazov. I say that everything you need to know about life is in the works of Kurt Vonnegut. Start with either Slaughterhouse-Five or Cat's Cradle. Proceed to The Sirens of Titan, Breakfast of Champions, and Deadeye Dick. Do NOT pass over God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater. Then read the rest.
Susanna Clarke wrote the only book I've ever read that I thought "I want this to be adapted into a Wagnerian song-cycle." A film could not do it justice. Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell combines Enlightenment-era science and philosophy with magic (creating the "gentleman magician"), Napoleonic-era conflicts of nation and empire, and every nasty aspect ever dreamed of England's faeries, written in impeccable Regency-style prose. The end result is an 800-page brick of a book that I would not let go of if I was drowning.
Terry Pratchett and P.G. Wodehouse are quite simply the two of the funniest writers in the history of the English language. Wodehouse came first, writing an astonishing 96 books in his 92 years of life, and even if you've never heard of him, you absolutely know his most famous creation: Jeeves. You are depriving yourself of much joy if you never read a Jeeves book. Written from the point of view of his employer, the bumbling and lovable Bertie Wooster, you will be bowled over with laughter over the absurd situations Bertie and his friends get into and will marvel over how Jeeves's magnificent brain gets the young master out of the soup! (BTW he is a valet, not a butler.)
Terry Pratchett, like nearly every British comedic writer post-Wodehouse cites him as an inspiration. Pterry (as his fans know him) started out merely satirizing fantasy tropes in his early Discworld books, but then he realized he could satirize everything . His "Witches" sub-series has a place of honor among the rest of our catalog because the cantankerous and wise Granny Weatherwax has good advice and warnings for magic-makers of all stripes (If you want to try them, the order doesn't really matter, but they are: Wyrd Sisters, Witches Abroad, Lords and Ladies, Maskerade, and Carpe Jugulum, followed by the Tiffany Aching books: The Wee Free Men, A Hat Full of Sky, and Wintersmith)
Maybe I should start a more general book blog too...