- Books, Literature, and Writing
My Top Five Favorite Authors
A top five list of favorite authors is obviously not going to be an objective one. Everyone looks for something different in an author; no one’s list is better than anyone else’s. The authors I have chosen as my five favorites are all extremely celebrated authors and who often cause great debates in universities around the world. I do not make this list to appear elitists. There are truly authors I consider to be my favorites. I have read most of their works and have enjoyed them for years.
That being said, I also love a good “chick-lit” novel by authors like Sophie Kinsella and Helen Fielding. I also have a weakness for the “Cat Who...” books of Lillian Jackson Braun and the Hamish MacBeth mysteries of N.C. Beaton. For a time, I read my way through Star Trek novels and considered Peter David to be one of my favorite authors. If I were to list all my favorite authors, it could probably fill a small volume.
So, without further ado, here are my top five favorite authors:
While on the surface, the writing of Jane Austen often sounds old-fashioned and stuffy to some, nothing could be further from the truth. She has a very satirical and almost sarcastic view of life in 18th century England and especially of the class of which she herself was a member of. While her heroines almost always end up marrying the man of their dreams, Austen herself never married. She was a bit of a pioneer; a woman of her class actually working for a living was almost unheard of.
My favorite novels of hers are Pride and Prejudice, Sense and Sensibility, and Persuasion.
James Baldwin was an African-American author; son of a minister. He was also gay and ended up moving to France, where he died. His novels give us a graphic view of what life was like for a young black man in the middle of the 20th century in America. The language he uses is both graphic and poetic, often at the same time.
My favorite novels of his are Giovanni’s Room, Go Tell it on the Mountain, and If Beale Street Could Talk.
The novels of Kurt Vonnegut are some of the funniest American novels of all time. Yet, most of them have a serious and often tragic story to tell. His most famous novel, Slaughterhouse-Five, came about from his being a German prisoner-of-war in Dresden during the allied bombing of that city in World War II. Most of his novels have a science fiction element to them.
My favorite novels of his are Slaughterhouse-Five, Sirens of Titan and Breakfast of Champions.
Although William Shakespeare is often among the least understood and most hated author by high school students, he remains the most famous playwright in history. I didn’t come to appreciate Shakespeare until I was well into my adult years. His plays never fail to get right to the heart of human emotions and motivations. Most of our drama since then has been based on Shakespeare’s themes.
My favorite plays of his are Hamlet, Midsummer Night’s Dream and Othello.
It seems that you either love James Joyce or you hate him. Many see him as being overrated and elitist. What I love about James Joyce is his use of language. Even in his autobiographical novel, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, he experiments with and plays around with language. The best way to read James Joyce is aloud, and then you get the full force of his extraordinary talent with language.
My favorite novels of his are A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, Finnegan’s Wake and Ulysses.
I hope you share some of my enthusiasm about these great authors. Why don’t you comment and let me know who your top 5 favorite authors are. Happy reading.