Ten Things Tuesday – March 29

29 Mar

Ten favorite writers:

1. Jane Austen. Sure, her conversations might be hard to follow sometimes, but once you get in that Austen frame of mind, she really is quite funny. Hers are the kind of books you can go back to, again and again, like old friends. Her female protagonists, while certainly preoccupied with love and marriage, are strong characters that you can really look up to. Women you can admire because they are complicated, real, and clever at outwitting the pressures of men and society are tops in my book. Or, in this case, Austen’s.

2. John Irving. No matter how many years it’s been since I’ve read one of his books, I still vividly remember them; they stick with you for a long time. He tells beautiful and heartbreaking stories that I just adore. A Prayer for Owen Meany has long been one of my all-time favorite books.

3. JK Rowling. The woman wrote some of the most creative, imaginative, and original books in the history of children’s literature. Coming from nothing, she relied on her own brilliance and talents to, first and foremost, spread her message of love and acceptance around the world, and second, make a life for herself and her children. That kind of genius only comes once in a lifetime. Lucky for us, it came seven.

4. Gabrial Garcia Marquez. His intricate stories are peppered with beautiful descriptions, making me wish I coud read them in the original Spanish. I’ve heard they are even more beautiful in this language. Any writer who manages to be eloquent in many languages is one I’ll gladly read. So far I’ve just read One Hundred Years of Solitude and Love in the Time of Cholera, so I need to get my hands on more of his work. His writing has an exotic, ethereal quality to it that I just love.

5. Ken Follet. He has a way of writing the most complex characters you’ve ever read. The evil ones are definitely evil, but also with sympethetic qualities. The good ones aren’t always entirely good. In The Pillars of the Earth and World Without End, the stories span many years and follow characters through the trials and triumphs of lifetimes. You root for the good guys, hate the bad guys, and in the end, good outweighs evil. Sure, it might take many years for it to ultimately triumph, but it always does. It reminds you that the same is true in real life; that it sometimes takes years for you to get what you want or deserve, but ultimately everyone gets there.

6. Brian Jacques. I can’t think of another writer who could make stories about woodland animals so interesting. It’s kind of a Watership Down meets Lord of the Rings, if that makes any sense. He, like JK Rowling, has created an entire universe that just comes alive, jumping right off the page. His Redwall series is more than 20 books strong, chronicling and overlapping the lives of the creatures living in the Redwall forest. It’s brilliant.

7. Antoine de Saint-Exupery. The writer of a childhood story with lessons most adults need to learn. The Little Prince is a story that everyone, no matter their age, should read.

8. Suzanne Collins. Besides Orwell, who else would write a series about a post-apocalyptic, dystopian society about children who must kill or be killed? It’s gruesome, yes, but brilliant. Brilliant in that slightly screwed-up, warning-to-society way.

9. Dan Brown. I might get some flack for this, but you can’t argue that his books aren’t exciting and thrilling. Not necessarily the upper tier of literature, per se. Probably the least like any other author on this list, but hey, it is my list. His writing, while based on fact (sort of), opens the debate for the possibility that history got it wrong. I don’t think he’s trying to necessarily be factual, but you have to admit it’s fascinating to consider all the things we’ll never know about the truth. It might not be Shakespeare but it sure is thrilling.

10. Rob Sheffield. It’s been a long time since I’ve been so emotional about a book, basically knowing the ending at the beginning. I laughed and cried so much while reading it. I vaguely remember some of the music and other things of the late 80s/early 90s that Sheffield writes about. Of course, being several years older than me, he has a much different perspective, but the feeling is universal. No matter when you come of age, the music you did it to remains part of your soul. The music has the ability to recall memories you thought long forgotten, and Sheffield gets that. More than anyone, he gets that.

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