Monday, February 25, 2013

Top Ten Authors That I'd Put On My Auto-Buy List

The Broke and the Bookish invites us today to share our top ten authors--authors we love so much that we would buy anything new they wrote, no questions asked.  Here are some of mine:

Irene Nemirovsky
Russia and France in the early twentieth century are the vividly evoked backdrops of her stories about family, maternal, and romantic relationships and histories.  Most of her books seem to have strongly autobiographical elements, and it's hard to read them without her own tragic life in the back of my mind.

Primo Levi
This author wrote very eloquently about his experiences in Auschwitz, but he also wrote many collections of short stories, which are wonderfully humane and creative.  I've read what is available in English in the US, but there are more not published here and/or untranslated that I'd love to get hold of.

Jared Diamond
An anthropologist who wrote the fascinating Guns, Germs, and Steel, Collapse, and The Third Chimpanzee.  His new book, The World Until Yesterday, is out in hardcover, but I'm waiting for the paperback.

Vikram Seth
Not only would I, but will I, order his next book as soon as it comes out:  he is rumored to be writing a sequel to A Suitable Boy.  Can. not. wait.
Isak Dinesen
Dinesen's stories are layered, often one inside another.  Her themes are usually gothic, occasionally supernatural.  Her settings are always moody, storm-swept, nineteenth-century Europe.  Almost everything I love to sit down on a gray day with.

Ursula LeGuin
One of the very few fantasy/sci fi writers I enjoy.  Her Lavinia is an especial favorite of mine.  Her novels usually explore themes of displacement and alienation, of societies widely separated in time and space.  Not every one of them works for me, but they're unfailingly interesting and I would always try a new one.

Edward Said
A Palestinian-American professor at Columbia University who wrote passionately but by no means uncritically about the Palestinian people, their history, and the suffering and choices they now face.  He has been described as their most powerful voice.  Both eloquent and scholarly. 

M. R. James
He wrote the kind of ghost stories which I consider absolutely perfect--the kind often called "cozy."  Often with a scholarly setting or narrator, and a ghost with its origins in forgotten antiquity.  Gently creepy and sometimes amusing.  There isn't one I didn't enjoy and I only wish there were more coming.

Jane Austen
My first love in classic literature.  I've read all of her books, a few many times.  Her razor-sharp observation of her social class, seasoned with dry wit, is a pure pleasure to read.


  1. I'm so glad Said is on your list! I've enjoyed what he's written. You have a great list and am checking out a few listed (Levi, Diamond).

    Jessica @ Literary, etc

    1. Yes, Said was wonderful. He reminded us that the Palestinian people have a history and a vibrant culture apart from the events of the last 50 years. And do check out the others--I love how memes like this help us all find new authors to enjoy.

  2. I am so obsessed with Jane Austen! I'm reading Pride and Prejudice right now and I'm in love :) Great list :)

    Here's my Top Ten!

    1. There's nobody quite like her, is there? And she makes it look effortless.

  3. I so hope Vikram Seth is writing a sequel to A Suitable Boy, I will be counting down the days to the release of that one!

    1. Wiki says it's to be published in 2013 and titled A Suitable Girl. Amazon doesn't have it yet. I'm waiting!

  4. Oh dear. I've heard of most of your authors but haven't read anyone except Jane Austen. Looks like I have my work cut out for me!

    Thanks for stopping by my list. :)

    Shelver @ Bookshelvers Anon

  5. Yes, Jane. *sighs* And I have read a few things by Primo Levi, but not his short stories. I'll be on the look out for those.

  6. Carlos Ruiz Zafon and Du Maurier is probably the top 2 on my auto buy list :)