Saturday, 7 June 2008

Favorite Authors Meme

Andi has tagged for a meme so all in a tiz to find out what I do! It was a good time for asking, as all my random word stories now have their own blog, soup and bread and an episode of Enterprise consumed and Dr Who two hours away.

1. Who’s your all-time favourite author and why?

Difficult one, it all depends! Well, how about having all or most of their books? By these criteria, Karen Armstrong, who I love for her refreshing take on Christian history, thought and faith, is a clear winner. Another contender is Ian Banks whose literature and SF is enjoyable for his imaginative use of Language and storyline. But then I have always enjoyed any book by Charles B. Handy, which attacks the assumptions of big business. Finally, I supposed I would have to put Bill Bryson at the top as I have and have read all but one of his books. Together, this gives a flavour of what I look for in authors, are they clear and innovative thinkers, imaginative, funny and readable!

Who was your first favourite author and why?

Easy, the one thing that I read repeatedly until I switched to SF as a Teenager was the Andrew Lang series of Fairy-Tales. As a journalist, poet, critic and historian, he made a reputation as one of the ablest and most versatile writers of the late Victorian and Edwardian period. But his reputation remains because of the twelve-book series of fairy tale collections, especially as he used foreign-language sources, giving many of these tales their first appearance in English. I just go to the central library in Leicester and work my way through them in a cycle, over and over again. Yet, I haven’t seen or read any of them in well over forty years. That they have never been out of print shows the quality of the writing.

3. Who’s your most recent addition to your most favourite authors and why?

John Barth. I read The Sot-weed factor, which is one over the top 18th century style romp, breaking all the narrative conventions and a hilarious re look at the Thanksgiving Myths. I also read the Tidewater Tales, which are the sailing adventures of a yuppie couple told over a fortnight through a whole raft of genres. He has to be the post modernist American author.

4. If someone asked you who your favourite authors were right now, which authors would first pop out of your mouth? Are there any you’d add on a moment further reflection?

Yes this lot!

Kobo Abe, Walter Abish, Nelson Algren, Martin Amis, Poul Anderson, Isaac Asimov, Paul Auster, William Blake, Lionel Blue, Alain de Botton, David Boulton, Bill Bryson, Italo Calvino, Julia Cameron, Michael Chabon, Raymond Chandler, Gideon Defoe, Bart D. Ehrman, Felipe Fernandez-Armesto, Jasper Fforde, E.M. Forster, Stephen Jay Gould, Ursula K. Le Guin, Dashiell Hammett, Tim Harford, Ted Heller, Bohumil Hrabal, Panos Karnezis, D.H. Lawrence, Laurie Lee, David Mitchell, Blake Morrison, Haruki Murakami, Ryu Murakami, George Orwell, Elaine Pagels, Jeremy Paxman, Mervyn Peake, Terry Pratchett, Philip Pullman, Edvard Radzinsky, David Rakoff, J.K. Rowling, Geoff Ryman, Louis Sachar, Saki, David Sedaris, Aleksander Solzenitsyn, John Shelby Spong, Olaf Stapledon, James Thurber, Sandi Toksvig, J.R.R. Tolkien, Vernor Vinge, Evelyn Waugh, Jiri Weil, Edward M. White, P.G. Wodehouse, Emile Zola

Now as I understand the rules, I now have to link this back to the person that tagged me and then tag at five others. I have chosen these lucky people at random to tag.

Becky’s Book review

Out of the blue

Steven Laura

Fantasy Books

Out the loop


  1. Excellent list, John . . . Excellent. And Now I have to check out Andrew Lang, fairy tale enthusiast/amateur that I am. Thanks.

  2. John, this post took me back - The Red Fairy Book and all the other colours I read when I was a child. I borrowed them from the library and couldn't get enough of them! I must, must look for them again.

    Karen Armstrong is one of my favourites too. She writes so well and so honestly.

    I see you have the same problem as me when it comes to favourite authors - there are so many. Some of yours are my favourites too - and some I haven't heard of and some I have heard of but have never read. What a lot to think about - great post.


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