This week’s prompt is all about authors we just can’t resist. Those authors on our auto-buy lists, the ones whose new books we literally count down to, and whose books we devour like a starving man attacks a box of jelly-filled doughnuts. These days my efforts to read widely have meant less diving into a particular author’s work, but in the past I have been known to work my way through every single book an author has ever written. Here are some of the authors I’ve read the most books by:
The first Irving book I read was A Prayer for Owen Meany. I read this in my second-to-last year of high school, and while it was a challenging read, by the time I got to the end I couldn’t stop. I devoured The World According to Garp and The Cider House Rules over the following few months, and continued reading his work after high school with A Son of the Circus and The Fourth Hand.
Though The House of the Spirits is Allende’s best-known work, my introduction to her books was Eva Luna. I discovered her at a time when I was fascinated by Latin American literature – magical realism was something new to me, but that I found intoxicating. I proceeded to read as many of her books as I could get my hands on, enjoying each more than the last. I’ve still got some of her books I haven’t yet read stockpiled for a particularly rainy day.
Marquez is, of course, a literary giant. But I had a hard time befriending his books. It took me several tries to make it more than 100 pages into One Hundred Years of Solitude (in no small part because of the frustration of trying to keep so many characters with the same or similar names straight!), but when I finally managed to break through that tough beginning, I was hooked. Like Allende, he created vibrant, visual literary landscapes that come to life around you as you read – and characters to match.
I think the first Crichton book I read was The Andromeda Strain. I was fascinated by the science (fictional as it was) behind the story – an interest that would later lead me to read voraciously about both AIDS and Ebola. But the writing was also easy to get into and kept up a great pace – the same authorial strengths that made Jurassic Park (my next of his books) such a difficult book to put down.
But despite his talent for thrilling fiction, my favourite of Crichton’s books has to be the autobiographical Travels. It covers his foray into medical school, but also many other unique adventures that were fascinating to discover. (The Great Train Robbery wasn’t bad either.)
As a child I devoured the Adrian Mole books – the hapless hero was amusing, constantly getting himself into the most unlikely scrapes, and yet infused with some pretty gritty reality. Set in a poor neighbourhood during the Thatcher years, there’s no shortage of depressing detail. I think that’s what I love so much about the Adrian Mole books – that you can find whatever you are looking for in them. Light entertainment, mishaps, social commentary, even some overcoming of steep odds.
Of course my introduction to Rowling was Harry Potter. But if you’re counting re-reads, I would have read more Rowling than any other author on this list. Harry Potter’s world is one I frequently feel the need to re-visit, and never seem to grow too old for. I hope that never changes.
Bryson’s books were the first travel memoirs I ever read, and though I’ve been an avid fan of the genre ever since, I have rarely encountered any that matched his in entertainment, humour, and a spectacular array of quirky and interesting facts.
I grew up on Roald Dahl’s books – my parents read them to me, and as soon as I was able to, I began reading them by myself. I loved every single one of his novels, and I’m looking forward to reading more of his adult fiction.
Though I didn’t know the term at the time, Tom Robbins’ work was my first experience of what I consider to be magical realism – more often associated with Latin American writers like Gabriel Garcia Marquez. His stories are fantastical, over the top (in a good way) and full of vibrant colour.
Coupland is a local author – in fact, he grew up in the same part of town where I’ve made my home. So it stands to reason that I would find a lot of familiarity in his work. And yet, though the scenery may be familiar, his imaginary world is completely different. This overlaying of the unfamiliar and outlandish over the familiar is, I think, what has kept me coming back for more. He’s an author who takes risks with his writing. Sometimes these risks fall flat, but other times they are sheer brilliance. If nothing else, you can never accuse him of playing it safe.
There are many other authors I’ve read extensively, but these are the ones that I not only read a lot of, but that had a real impact on my mental landscape. I’d love to know which authors made your list – share some of your top picks in the comments!
Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly link-up feature hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Every week TTT has a different topic, and everyone who links up has to create a link of ten items that fit that topic. To see past and upcoming topics, go here.