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?