Tuesday, February 26, 2013

8 Authors I'd Read Anything By

We've all read one-hit wonders, and authors who we only sporadically connect with. But, who are your go-to authors? The ones who, the minute you see the name on the cover, you put the book at the top of your reading pile?

It takes a lot for an author to achieve that kind of loyalty from me. As I looked over my virtual shelves in preparation for this post, I realized that I am incredibly picky. Many authors have wowed me with one or two of their books, and failed to grab me with the rest. Still more are on my "Must Read More By This Author" list, and could very well be added to me Auto-Read list eventually.

I was going for a Top Ten Tuesday list but I only came up with four authors who are still alive and writing. So, I cheated and added some dead people. Hey, you never know what might be discovered in a drawer in somebody's relative's basement. That got me to 8.

number 1 Ron Carlson

Carlson was one of the first topics I ever blogged about. I'm mystified as to why everyone isn't in love with this author the way I am. His novels are some of the few books I will happily re-read, his short stories are fabulous, and his book on writing is like have a kind professor as a next door neighbor.

My favorite novel of his is The Signal, though I loved Five Skies as well. Recently, Carlson came out with a book of mostly poetry, called Room Service. I am forcing myself to read it slowly, so I can savor it, because who knows when his next work will come out. The man's busy teaching and being a next door neighbor and stuff, after all.

2 Michael Cunningham

Cunningham is most famous for The Hours, but I've actually enjoyed his other books more. He has an insightful understanding of human nature and a beautiful way of writing about it.

His 2010 book, By Nightfall, is on my bookshelf right now and I'm not sure why it's taken me so long to get around to reading it.

3 Barbara Kingsolver

Okay, I haven't loved every Kingsolver book I've ever read--The Poisonwood Bible left me dissatisfied--but her batting average is still pretty darned high. I finished most of her books before I started blogging, but this year I read and loved Flight Behavior. Kingsolver is also known for non-fiction. The only one of those I've read is Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, a memoir of the year she decided to eat only local foods. It had that combination of readability and new information that I look for in a nonfiction book, and it inspired me to eat more local foods in season.

number 4 John Green

Ironically, I've been working myself up to tackling the cancer story in The Fault in Our Stars for over a year. And yet, I know that I'll read it--even though I dread reading a teen cancer story that's going to make me cry--because it's by John Green. That's why he's on this list.

Now for the dead ones.

5 Maurice Sendak
 There are no words.

Block Number 6 Laura Ingalls Wilder

As a child, I read every single one of her books, and I read them again in adulthood. If anything by Mrs. Wilder was uncovered, even if it were directions for building a sod home, I'd pick it up before you could say "Watch out for the leeches."

number 7 William Wharton
I discovered Mr. Wharton when we went to see the movie Birdy, in 1984. Oh, how I loved that movie. When I found out there was a book, I immediately devoured it (not knowing that it had won the National Book Award for Best First Novel) and then I read everything else written by him as the years went by. As a twenty-something, back when a card catalog was still a piece of furniture with index cards, I'd habitually check the W section of the library bookshelves just to make sure there wasn't a new one out. He didn't write very much, though, and he died in 2008. I'm hoping  there's an unpublished manuscript in a drawer somewhere.

pool ball - number 8 J.D. Salinger

Oh, J.D.
He was a one-book wonder, but what a book it was. I'm one of many readers who would love to read the man's other works. Rumor has it there are as many as ten manuscripts that Salinger never saw fit to publish. Maybe one day we'll get to read them.

Those are my 8. For many more top ten lists, check The Broke and the Bookish.


  1. I'm reading my first John Green book right now and all I can say is, "Wow!"

  2. Yes! "Wow!" about covers my reaction to my first John Green book, too.

  3. In my family we are also partial to Sendak's In the Night Kitchen. We just love those banned books, LOL! I've started but have yet to get back to John Green's The Fault in Our Stars.

  4. I adore In the Night Kitchen. "I'm in the milk and the milk's in me!"

  5. Okay, I feel decided uneducated here. I've never even heard of Ron Carlson or William Wharton. And I have to hang my head in shame and admit that I just never loved the Little House books. I've never read anything by Michael Cunningham, despite having people tell me I *must* read The Hours. But on a positive note, I ADORE John Green. And hooray for Maurice Sendak. And while I've only read one of Kingsolver's books (essays), I loved, loved, loved it! Oooh, and quick question--does that mean you didn't like Franny and Zooey and Nine Stories? I've never read them because I'm so afraid that they can't possibly live up to Catcher in the Rye...which of course is a really stupid reason to not read a book. Okay Debi, time to stop babbling and go check out Ron Carlson on the library website...

  6. Debi, I really really hope you'll read something by Ron Carlson and tell me what you think! It's rare that I come across anyone who knows of him. It astounds me that he's not super famous.

    For a long time I didn't like reading short stories. I should read Franny and Zooey and Nine Stories now that I've gained an appreciation for the genre.

  7. Salinger definitely isn't a one book wonder! Even if he only wrote one novel he has such great other work! Try Raise High the Roofbeam Carpenter or the books Ali mentioned. So good!

  8. Sorry, dear commenters! I deleted Disqus and now it looks like all your lovely comments were made by me. How silly.

  9. Five Skies has been sitting on my shelf for years now! I need to get to it this year. Barbara Kingsolver is an amazing non-fiction writer. My favorite book of essays from her is Small Wonders.