Who are your favorite authors?

Who are they? Which authors do you prefer to read? Which books of theirs have you read?

I like the following authors:

John Irving - The World According to Garp, A Prayer for Owen Meany, The Hotel New Hampshire, Son of the Circus, Widow for One Year, and the Fourth Hand

Kurt Vonnegut Jr. - Cat’s Cradle, Slaughterhouse Five, Mother Night, Bluebeard, Hocus Pocus, Timequake, Welcome to the Monkey House, Player Piano, and Galapagos

Douglas Adams - Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy; The Restaurant at the End of the Universe; So Long and Thanks for All the Fish; Mostly Harmless; Life, the Universe, and Everything

Shel Silverstein - Where the Sidewalk Ends, A Light in the Attic, Falling Up, The Giving Tree, The Big O and the Missing Piece, Who Wants a Cheap Rhinoceros?

Nick Hornby - Fever Pitch, High Fidelity, How to be Good, About a Boy

Judy Blume - (old school, I know, but I still have her books) Are You There God, It’s Me Margaret; Then Again, Maybe I Won’t; Tales of a Fourth-Grade Nothing; Otherwise Known as Sheila the Great; Superfudge; Tiger Eyes; Blubber; Freckle Juice; The Pain and the Great One; The One in the Middle is the Green Kangaroo; Iggie’s House; Starring Sally J. Freeman as Herself; Deenie, It’s Not the End of the World; Just As Long As We’re Together; Forever; and Wifey

On a big Fitzgerald kick right now. The Great Gatsby, Last Tycoon, Tender is the Night, short stories.

i’m big on kurt v and douglass a too. i could go on and on but here are a few all-time faves, john updike, start with the rabbit series, john nicholls, new mexico trilogy a good place to start, neil stephenson, cryptonomicon was absolutely stunning, james michener, centennial or alaska perhaps the fave though they’re all consistently good, john lecarre for spy stuff, the george smiley ones my faves, jeff sharra a standout from the historical novels. a few honorable pulp mentions lawrence sanders’ mcnally series, john grisham the firm–most gripping pulp ever. tom clancy without remorse maybe second, could go on and on here :slight_smile:

Haruki Murakami (wild sheep chase, dance dance dance, norweigan wood, hard boiled wonderland and the end of the world, wind up bird chronicle)
Tom Wolfe (bonfire of the vanities, the right stuff, electric koolaid acid test)
Alice Walker (color purple, possessing the secret of joy)
Tom Robbins (skinny legs and all, still life with woodpecker, jitterbug perfume, even cowgirls get the blues, another roadside attraction)
Toni Morrison (beloved, song of solomon, jazz)
Kazuo Ishiguro (the unconsoled, remains of the day, an artist of the floating world)
Milan Kundera (unbearable lightness of being, the book of laughter and forgetting)
Amy Tan (joy luck club, kitchen god’s wife, bonesetters daughter, the hundred secret senses)
Maya Angelou (i know why the caged bird sings, poems)
Gabriel Garcia Marquez (a hundred years of solitude, love in the time of cholera)
Isabel Allende (house of spirits, eva luna, aphrodite)

Dickens (oliver twist, a tale of two cities, great expectations, old curiosity shop, christmas carol, david copperfield, etc)
Austen (pride and prejudice, emma, sense and sensibility, persuasion)
DH Lawrence (women in love, lady chatterly’s lover, sons and lovers)
Tolkien (the trilogy)
Tolstoy (for that matter) (war and peace, anna karenina)
Kate Chopin (the awakening)
Melville (moby dick, billy budd)
Hemingway (everything)
Kafka (the trial, metamorphosis)

there’s loads! :shock:
I keep thinking of more and more…

JP Donleavy
Roger Zelazny
Michael Moorcock
Tolkien (of course)
John Le Carr
Eiji Yoshikawa
Ammianus Marcellinus
Guy Sajer
Pierre Leuillette
Philip Caputo
Tim O’Brien
TH Lawrence
PG Wodehouse
George MacDonald Fraser
HP Lovecraft
William Hope Hodgson
F Marion Crawford

I don’t read that much fiction anymore, but between the ages of 17 and 25 I read almost nothing else. Among the writers of fiction I enjoyed the most were:

Edith Wharton (The Age of Innocence…Ethan Frome…The House of Mirth)

F Scott Fitzgerald (The Great Gatsby…Tender is the Night)

Vladimir Nabokov (Lolita…Palefire…Transparent Things)

Philipp Roth (Goodbye Columbus…Portnoy’s Complaint)

Gore Vidal (The historical novels…Kalki)

Saul Bellow (Henderson the Rain King)

William Styron (The Confessions of Nat Turner…Sophie’s Choice…The Long March)

H.G. Wells (The Island of Doctor Moreau…The Invisible Man)

Willa Cather (Death Comes for the Archbishop…My Antonia)

John Knowles (A Separate Peace)

Tom Wolfe (The Right Stuff (fiction? No, but highly imaginative)…The Bonfire of the Vanities…A Man in Full)

Robert Penn Warren (All the King’s Men)

Norman McClean (A River Runs through It)

Consider the above list how I felt about the books and authors when I first read them – I doubt I would find many of them as enjoyable now as I did then. I recently tried to reread Portnoy’s Complaint – which I first read when I was eighteen and found hilarious – and I was surprised by how dull I found it. Gore Vidal is another author best read when young and ignorant. His recent novels (Live from Golgotha) have bored me. But then I’m easily bored by fiction now.

For travel books, Bill Bryson and Paul Theroux. Tolkien for fantasy of course. Early Clark, Niven and Heinlein, and Robinson for Sci-fi. In addition to John Irving, I also think Sherman Alexie is one of the best writers around.

Like Cold Front, I have largely given up reading fiction but used to read it in great quantities.

I preferred authors whose work was not always finely polished or technically brilliant, but whose humanity and emotional/moral struggles were always visible through their writing, such as;

E.M. Forster (Howard’s End, A Passage to India etc.)
John Fowles (The Collector, The French Lieutenants Woman {I used to go to school in Lyme Regis and met Fowles once})

Both polished and fascinating are the works of these following so-called ‘Commonwealth authors’. The first two are particularly good story-tellers. Gita Mehta’s ‘Karma Cola’ is a collection of sharp, ironic and witty essays. Her ‘A River Sutra’ is a gentler work of fiction; a collection of interwoven stories with a spiritual theme and a philosophical conclusion.
Vikram Seth (A Suitable Boy; brilliant first two thirds although tails off rather after that)
Salman Rushdie
Rohinton Mistry
Gita Mehta

The author whose work I could most easily return to is the would-have-been Prime Minister of Peru, Mario Vargas Llosa. He is an ex revolutionary communist who made a turnaround and was subsequently criticised for being too right wing. The focus of some of his novels on political involvement would have bored me had it not been for his keen character observations and sharp humour.
My favourite book of his has to be one unrelated to politics, though; the masterful ‘Aunt Julia and The Scriptwriter’ (Tia Julia y el Escribidor);
amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/de … 0?v=glance
With humour he combines the story of a journalist who falls in love with a distant aunt, with that of a genius radio soap opera scriptwriter who works so hard on so many different serials that he becomes confused and mixes up the themes and characters; every other chapter of the novel is an episode from this scriptwriter. I never tried to read it in the original Spanish; I don’t think my command of that language was good enough anyway. (If it wasn’t before, it certainly isn’t now; my Spanish has been overlaid with Mandarin and I sometimes have dreams where I try to talk to Spanish friends but end up talking Mandarin).

I am rather lazy. In the same way that I rarely listen to classical/western art music but get a lot from it whenever I do, I rarely read now or read before the ‘classics’. Those that I did were mostly because I was compelled to because they were set texts for school and university. I was particularly impressed and moved by Thomas Hardy’s ‘Tess of the D’Urbervilles’.

I found Huxley’s ‘Brave New World’ depressing and much preferred the optimistic ‘Island’.
I went through a Kerouac phase- ‘The Dharma Bums’ was one of my favourites.

Favourite authors and titles:

William Gibson (Neuromancer, Count Zero, Mona Lisa Overdrive, The Difference Engine, Idoru, Mirrorshades, various other articles, introductions and stuff co-written with others)

P.K. Dick (loads of short stories, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep)

Thomas Hardy (A Pair of Blue Eyes, Far from the Madding Crowd, The Return of the Native, Tess, Jude the Obscure, poems)

D.H. Lawrence (Sons and Lovers, The Rainbow, Women in Love, The plumed serpent, Lady Chatterley’s Lover, some short stories, A Study of Thomas Hardy)

Isaac Asimov (the Foundation novels, I, Robot, way too many robot stories)

Other fav authors: Jean Baudrillard, William Burroughs, J. M. Coetzee, Margaret Atwood, Neil Stephenson, Jane Austen, Henry Miller, J.G. Ballard. Also like a lot of Alien’s choices like Kafka, Kundera, Tan, Murakami.

I hope including poets, playwrights, and philosopher-poets is OK.

With the usual caveats about how this list is inadequate…

Peire Vidal

I’ve had the same experience with reading fiction as Coldfront and Joesax. Curious.

I also have a problem with linearity in that anymore I seldom read a book from the beginning to the end. Instead I jump around, eventually piecing together the whole work.

Just making a return to reading fiction, was off it for quite sometime. Earlier dalliances that stood out included Graham Greene (ok, very early as in just after Enid Blyton), Salman Rushdie, and any number of the writers that appeared in Granta through the eighties.

Been mostly non-fiction since and much of that about China.

Enjoyerd the Chinese classics, in translation and struggled through the classical. My favourites being various poems and ballads, Zhuang Zi, Si Ma Qian in addition to several ghost stories from the Ming and Qing.

However, just got hooked by an Australian writer, Tim Winton, (Cloudstreet, The Riders, etc), leaving me quite nostalgic for where I grew up.

Also just knocked over Formosan Odyssey which I enjoyed thoroughly.


Antoine De Saint-exupery

Edward W.said

Oh…if playwrights are allowed:


David Mamet (Glengarry Glenross, American Buffalo, Speed the Plow, Heist, House of Cards)
August Strindberg (Miss Julie, my all time fav play)
Steven Berkoff (Kvetch, West, East, Decadance)
Shakespeare (as adapted by me)
Moliere (Tartuffe especially)
Tennessee Williams (Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Glass Menagerie, Summer and Smoke)
Alfred Jarre (Pere Ubu)
Henrik Ibsen (A Doll’s House)
Eric Bogosian (Drinking in America, Pounding Nails…)
Christopher Hampton (Les Liasons Dangerouse)
Joe Orton (can’t remember the titles, but hey, look at the time of this posting)


John Irving (read every one of his novels)
Tom Robbins (Jitterbug Perfume in particular)
Timothy Findlay (Not Wanted on the Voyage, The Wars)
Douglas Coupland (Shampoo Planet, Generation X, Girlfriend in a Coma)
Mordecai Richler (Barney, Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz)
Trevanian (The Eiger Sanction, Shibumi, The Main)
Daniel Quinn (Ishmael)
Chuck Palahniuk (Fight Club, Invisible Monsters)

Non Fiction:

Nien Cheng (Life and Death in Shanghai)


Popo (I am completely kidding)

Entertaining Mr. Sloane!

:smiley: :smiley: :smiley:

Cranky, I’ve begun doing the same thing during the past few years. Is it a sign of getting old, of doing too much channel-changing while watching TV, or what? It’s not just with non-fiction, but with fiction, too. Funnily enough, I noticed myself doing it the other night while reading, “How to Read a Book.”

Re: favorite authors, I’m a big fan of George Orwell, but his essays and non-fiction work more than his novels.“Shooting an Elephant” - brilliant.

[quote]However, just got hooked by an Australian writer, Tim Winton, (Cloudstreet, The Riders, etc), leaving me quite nostalgic for where I grew up.

Are you a Perthonian then? I would list Tim Winton too on the strength of those two books, which are both fantastic, yet very different.


Cormac McCarthy (All the Pretty Horses, Crossings, City of the Plains, Blood Meridian)

Milan Kundera (The book of Laughter and Forgetting, The Unbearable Lightness of Being, The Joke etc)

Douglas Coupland (especially Girlfriend in a Coma)

Martin Amis (esp London Fields)

Jane Austen (esp Pride and Predjudice, but not Sense and Sensbility)

JRR Tolkien, CS Lewis and TH White

Umberto Eco (well, Name of the Rose and Focault’s Pendulum at any rate)


Not born there so I’m loathe to use the term sandgroper. They’re damned finnicky those West Aussies. I was treated the same as the migrant kiddies just for being born on the other side of Australia. Later lived for the most part in Sydney and (heaven help me) Canberra. Only just started to miss Perth and it probably has a lot to do with having read Cloudstreet. I used to live in Cottesloe (the setting for much of Cloudstreet).


Dr. Seuss (The Cat in the Hat, Green Eggs and Ham)

Nice to read a lot of familiar names :wink:

I’d almost forgotten about Tim Winton. An Australian friend of mine that I got to know at the uni in Tianjin gave “Cloudstreet” to me and I liked it so much that I took it back to Germany. I’m definitely looking forward to settling down in the (near?) future and have all my books in one place, not anymore split up between my grandparents’, my mum’s, my boyfriend’s and my own place here in Taipei.

One of my favorite writers right now is Amelie Nothomb, a young Belgian writer who seems a bit neurotic. One of her books deals with her childhood as a diplomat’s child in Japan. Supposedly, she didn’t speak for the first couple of years, so she describes how she saw her environment and how her environment saw that weird child. Another one describes the fights between diplomat children of different nationalities in Beijing’s Sanlitun in the 70ies. The third autobiographical one that I’ve read of her books describes her year as an intern in a Japanese company where she managed to degrade herself to the lowest of all jobs, cleaning the toilets. I keep buying her books at FNAC, and they’re funny and tragic and interesting.

If I had to pick my favorites of the past 10 years, I’d probably choose the two books I brought here even though I almost know them by heart:

Peter Hoeg: “Smillas Sense of Snow” - the only book I ever started again right after finishing the last page. I’ve lost count of the times I’ve read it. I think Smilla is the most fascinating woman I’ve ever read about.


Antonia S. Byatt: “Possession” - I’ve read the German version a couple of times. Haven’t started the English version yet which I got when the movie was playing here (which I was reluctant to see as Gwyneth Paltrow just wasn’t special enough and way too much known for the role of Maud Bailey whereas Jeremy Northam and Jennifer Ehle matched their characters very well imho). I liked the style of the book, the Victorian parts as well as the modern parts. And like in “Smilla”, there is loneliness and tragedy and mystery and love, all in one great book.


Great book…don’t ya just love that scene where she coaxes her lover into…well, don’t want to get as graphic as Mr Hoeg did…let them read it themselves…hehehehe…

Didn’t he also write Striptease?