The Broke and the Bookish runs this business.
What a question to ask someone. My top ten favorite authors? I can only choose TEN?? This is hard on so many different levels. I'm trying to separate the authors from specific favorite books. Do I list authors I like as people over others? I guess so. This is a game with NO RULES. These are authors who inspire me and whose writing styles I adore. This isn't a best to worst list, but it's vaguely in the order of how long I've been reading them.
Mark Z. Danielewski
Danielewski's books are everything I crave. Dark horror that comes in crazy experimental formats. House of Leaves rocked my world. If there's anybody pushing the boundaries of what books can be, it's him. Especially with his upcoming 27-volume project, The Familiar. Crazy.
I long to have a seance and marry Virginia Woolf's ghost. Orlando was a huge part of me discovering my love of books. Normally I like sparse writing, but Woolf's flowery language is actually the most beautiful stuff I have ever read. And her on-point feminism? Her on-point everything? SWOON.
I'm thoroughly obsessed with Lord of the Rings. I don't mention it much here on the blog, but it is ever present in my life. I have an enormous map of Middle Earth in my living room. I've taken an LoTR college course where I wrote 20 pages about elves. I've played a lot of the MMO, Lord of the Rings Online. The movies made me study CGI in school. I'm into it a little. People hate on his descriptions, but they are what I love most about him. Ugh, so good.
As my mother recently told her at AWP, Karen Russell is the "word goddess of my life." Her writing is absolutely stunning. Her plots are original and strange. Swamplandia! was my everything, but her short stories are also excellent. I have so many Karen Russell quotes written down in various places. So perfect.
I'm pretty sure Mieville knows me better than I know myself. I didn't KNOW that I needed a book about linguistics and aliens. But then he wrote Embassytown and it fulfilled basically all of my interests. I know that he is right up my alley in every way, so I need to read more pronto.
Miranda July is my manic pixie dream girl and I don't care. Luckily, for all of her indie and twee-ness, her stories are firmly grounded in the reality of human relationships. She touches on things that I normally don't even think about in moving stories. And she's really, really funny on top of it all. She's a filmmaker, actress, writer, and 1,000 other things. I'm so grateful that she blessed our forsaken world with her first novel, The First Bad Man.
I don't even know what to say. Toni Morrison is such an inspiration. I had to read The Bluest Eye in my Fiction I class, and it was the best choice that has ever been made by any institution. I didn't even know language could be used the way Morrison uses it. And her stories. Oh, she always gets me right in the heart.
Oh. Oh, Lydia. You are my writing inspiration. Your sparse prose yet heavily poignant prose. Your short stories that sometimes stray no longer than a sentence. Your restrain and skill amazes me. Everyone, do yourselves a favor and check out some of her tiny, amazing stories.
Ursula K. Le Guin
She is just so cool, you guys. I've read some of her short stories and I loved The Lathe of Heaven. If you're looking for powerful forces in science fiction AND feminism, look no further.
Maybe this is jumping the gun a little bit. Maybe this is getting engaged after three months of dating, but I AM AN ADULT, MOM, AND WE ARE IN LOVE. I recently read The Killing Moon and literally found nothing wrong with it. I was excited about fantasy for the first time since Lord of the Rings. And her new initiative, The Octavia Project? Helping girls from under-served neighborhoods in Brooklyn write SF/Fantasy? Amazing. I need desperately to read all of her other books.
Who are your all time favorite authors? What qualities do you look for?