This week’s Top Ten Tuesday topic, hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl, gives me a chance to talk about my favorite authors. When I thought about which authors I’ve read the most, I decided to eliminate authors from this list that write books in series, because I may have read a lot of those authors’ works but they aren’t necessarily my favorites. I looked for writers that I’ve been reading for years and who write in a variety of styles and genres.
Here’s the list I came up with, and a few authors I’ve only read a few works by, but mean to read a lot more.
Margaret Atwood: Atwood has written so many great books, and her books are all really different. Many readers don’t realize the range of genres she writes in, from contemporary fiction (Cat’s Eye) to historical fiction (Alias Grace) to science fiction (Oryx and Crake). A recent favorite, and completely different from her other works, was Hag-Seed, about a production of Shakespeare’s The Tempest.
Barbara Kingsolver: I’ve read nearly everything she’s written, and I’ve been reading her books since I fell in love with Animal Dreams in college. Flight Behavior is a recent favorite, but if you haven’t read her early works, you’re missing out.
Maggie O’Farrell: I began with O’Farrell’s After You’d Gone, and I’ve loved all of her books except This Must Be the Place. I especially liked I Am, I Am, I Am, The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox, and Instructions for a Heatwave.
David Mitchell: I’ve read nearly everything by him, and I’m currently really enjoying his latest, Utopia Avenue. No one writes like David Mitchell. His books go all over the world and all over time. Two you may not have heard of are Black Swan Green and The Reason I Jump (written with an autistic teen). And Slade House is perfect gothic horror.
Louise Erdrich: She’s another author I started reading in college in the 90s, only she’s gotten even better over the years. She’s very consistent. The Round House is excellent, as is her recent novel The Night Watchman.
Kate Atkinson: a bit of an exception to my series rule, but she also has many non-series books. A God in Ruins is one of my favorites but I really like all of her books.
Thomas Hardy: Hardy is absolutely my favorite writer of classics, though I also love Jane Austen. I’ve read all of his well-known books and mean to read more of his lesser known. I fell in love with Return of the Native in my senior year of high school — Eustacia Vye is still one of my favorite literary characters.
Three more that almost made the list: Emma Donoghue, Isabel Allende, and Alice Hoffman.
This list is whiter than I would like, but it reflects authors I’ve been reading for years, and my reading wasn’t all that diverse until recently.
Finally, here are four authors I want to read more of:
Ann Patchett: I’ve read Commonwealth and The Dutch House, and loved both of them. I love her complicated, difficult characters and long family sagas.
Elizabeth Strout: I will certainly read everything she’s written. I’ve read all the Olive Kitteridge books but also loved Amy and Isabelle.
Neil Gaiman: I’ve read a lot by him already – Stardust, The House at the End of the Lane, Good Omens, Norse Mythology – but there’s still so much more to read.
Octavia Butler: I’ve read the two Parable books, and I loved Kindred and Bloodchild. She has a lot more that I’d like to read.
Happy Top Ten Tuesday! Which authors are your favorites?
I should prioritize reading David Mitchell. He is such a good writer yet I’ve only read a few by him. Thanks for visiting my blog.
David Mitchell is amazing, I’m always impressed with the complexity and scope of his books. Thanks for commenting!
I like the way you committed to non-series books. It’s always interesting to see the authors who draw you back over and over with more than just one specific formula. This is an impressive list, though I haven’t read any of these aside from the Bean Trees and Erdrich’s children’s book, Birchbark House.
Not that many people have read The Bean Trees – if you liked that one, I would definitely read some of her others, especially Animal Dreams, which was written around the same time. She writes about so many interesting places.
I feel like I should read more Atwood than I have….
Margaret Atwood is one of the few writers I’ll read every time she publishes something. Her earlier books are quite different from her more recent ones, but she’s always great.
I read a bunch of Kingslover books back in the day. I loved them. Glad to see she made your list.
Thanks for commenting! Her books are so great, and I like how different they are. I love her older books, Bean Trees and Animal Dreams. She’s always exploring some new concept or place. I still haven’t read her most recent book.
Do you have an Excel table for this statistic? I don’t know how I‘d figure out those numbers.
I guess, my take would look something like Le Guin, Tolkien, Robinson, Ballard, Stephenson. But then again, I might have missed some author slumbering in my shelves who I didn’t visit for years.
I decided not to go strictly by the numbers. I did scroll through my Goodreads list, sorted by author, but I went more by feel than by actual numbers, since my Goodreads list only accounts for about the last 5-7 years. In looking at other people’s lists, the author I missed was Stephen King, I’ve read quite a lot of his books (and he has a lot of them). Also I excluded series books, or Rowling, Briggs, Butcher, and a few others would have certainly been on my list.
Oh, I love Barbara Kingsolver’s books!
My TTT .
Margaret Atwood is on my “most read” list and Neil Gaiman is on my “must read more” list. I also want to read more Barbara Kingsolver.
Great choices! I love Margaret Atwood and Neil Gaiman too. I need to go back and read Louise Erdrich’s earlier books — I’ve read and really enjoyed her more recent novels.
Good list. Kingsolver is a big favorite of mine, too!
O’Farrell’s Hamnet is amazing!!! Enjoy!
I am very excited to read Hamnet, and I do love O’Farrell’s writing. I’m glad to hear you liked it.
Margaret Atwood is definitely near the top of my most-read list, along with William Faulkner (an early obsession of mine), Ann Patchett, Barbara Kingsolver, Ruth Rendell (fabulous and prolific British suspense/mystery author also writing under the pen name Barbara Vine), Stephen King, T.C. Boyle, Salman Rushdie, Ann Tyler, and Joyce Maynard. I’ll stop now–that’s ten!
I forgot about TC Boyle! He should be on my list too, I love his books. Stephen King should also be on my list. I’ve never read Rendell but I probably should. If I was including series, Anne Perry would be on my list.
Margaret Atwood made my list too! I’m excited to read Hag-Seed. It’s sitting on my TBR shelf right now.
I loved Hag-Seed! Though I have heard mixed reviews from others, it definitely isn’t her usual type of book. I hope you like it!
I really like Barbara Kingsolver, but have read more of her later works and not much from her time in the Southwest. I really need to go back to the beginning with her.
I have been meaning to read Hag-Seed for awhile now–love the premise. I have mixed feelings about Atwood–I like some things and loathe others.
Hardy – I have that same copy of Return of the Native. He is such an amazing writer that even though he deals with tragic figures, the writing is sublime.