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My Top Five Favorite Authors

Updated on June 22, 2011

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:

Jane Austen

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

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.

Kurt Vonnegut

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.

William Shakespeare

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.

James Joyce

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.

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  • ameliejan profile image

    ameliejan 5 years ago from Alicante, Spain

    I love James Joyce and enjoyed Slaughterhouse-Five very much.

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    Oyewole Folarin 5 years ago from Lagos

    Ekenzy, do you have what it takes to be like them?

  • ekenzy profile image

    ekenzy 6 years ago

    this is good. I wish to be like them some day.

  • ltfawkes profile image

    ltfawkes 6 years ago from NE Ohio

    Quite an eclectic group you've chosen. So it goes . . .

    L.T.

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    Crazdwriter 7 years ago

    Another great hub, UW. Sadly I have read two of the five you have listed. Love Shakespear but no offense hate Jane Austen...too dry for my tastes. I might have to check out the other three though and see what they are like. :-)

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    Winsome 7 years ago from Southern California by way of Texas

    Thanks for the great hub Uninvited (Although since I am inviting you to visit I may call you InvitedWriter :)

    Anyway, have you considered Orson Scott Card's Ender's Game?

    I too am a fan of Jane's books (Addicted to the BBC Pride & Prejudice DVD Collection as well) Which living writer do you think has the closest to a Shakespeare-like vocabulary?

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    Adrian Walker 7 years ago from Magnolia, AR

    Heart-warmed to see Baldwin on your list the silence amongst thinking people in America about this truly great writer is staggering.

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    philip carey 61 7 years ago

    Good to see people reading the classics. I don't find enough time to read, but when I do, I tend toward the classics. I'm reading Lolita now. Controversial, but no one can twist a sentence quite so beautifully as Nabokov.

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    Michele 7 years ago from Reno, Nevada

    Love the list. My daughter and I are avid readers. We are both big Austen fans. I don't think I could come up with a list of my favorites it would take me forever and it depends on my mood. Just finished 3 books in two weeks: Wicked, The Lost Symbol and The Road.

  • Uninvited Writer profile image
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    Susan Keeping 7 years ago from Kitchener, Ontario

    Yes it was.

    I also liked his The Midwich Cuckoo

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    megs78 7 years ago from quebec

    yeah, i think thats it. I read that in grade 6 i think. I LOVED it. Was that the one about the kids with telepathy?

  • Uninvited Writer profile image
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    Susan Keeping 7 years ago from Kitchener, Ontario

    I read Day of the Crysallids when I was younger, it was by John Wyndham. (I had to look that up :) )

    Scary story but excellent.

  • megs78 profile image

    megs78 7 years ago from quebec

    Has anyone read 'The Crysallids'? Can't remember the author, but what an amazing novel. My 5 favorite authors would have to be; Bodie Thoene, Jeremy Jenkins and Tim Lahaye, Jack Whyte, Wilbur Smith...I could keep going, but I won't :) good hub

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    Susan Keeping 7 years ago from Kitchener, Ontario

    I agree, Poe deserves to be in the top lists :) But, then again, so many others also deserve to be there. It is hard to get it down to just 5. I picked ones who I have read all of, or most of, their works.

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    housedad 7 years ago from New York

    An interesting, but safe list as few could argue with the choices. I cannot do "top" lists ... but somewhere in any writing list E.A. Poe must reside.

    jfx

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    Susan Keeping 7 years ago from Kitchener, Ontario

    Thanks for commenting Ron. It's great to talk to men who like Jane Austen :)

  • Ron Mariano profile image

    Ron Mariano 7 years ago

    Yes, I have read Pride & Prejudice in high school. Jane Austen indeed was a great author, we loved analyzing her novel and excerpts from her other pieces. My favorite is Alexandre Dumas, Charles Dickens, and John Steinbeck. Great hub!

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    Susan Keeping 7 years ago from Kitchener, Ontario

    Okay Nellie, I'm moving to Cambridge :)

    So many of the greats are dying off. I have to cultivate some new favorites :) Surely there are some writers today who can replace those urbane, intelligent men and women?

    Great list DynamicS, East of Eden is definitely one of my favorite novels.

    Julie-Ann, Tolkein is alright :) I have only made it through the Hobbit, I have tried to read Lord of the Rings several times...

  • Julie-Ann Amos profile image

    Julie-Ann Amos 7 years ago from Gloucestershire, UK

    Thanks for answering my question! I have just one word to say to you, young lady:

    Tolkein

  • DynamicS profile image

    Sandria Green-Stewart 7 years ago from Toronto, Canada

    uninvited writer, nice list of authors. My favorite authors are Chinua Achebe's Things Fall Apart, E.R. Braithwaite's To sir with Love, East of Eden by John Steinbeck & Shakespear's As you Like it.

    Thanks for taking me down the memory lane of High school & College reading...

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    Nelle Hoxie 7 years ago

    One of the reasons I love living in Cambridge, MA and on Cape Cod is the huge number of interesting people that live here or visit on a regular basis. I was hanging out in a local bookstore one night many years ago and Vonnegut came in with Norman Mailer and John Updike. It's sad to think that they're all gone now. I really do think the world is a little less smart and urbane without them. I said hi and tried not to pass out and then just sort of listened to their chatter until the bookstore closed.

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    Susan Keeping 7 years ago from Kitchener, Ontario

    Wow, what a great memory. That is hilarious. You certainly have had touches with greatness :)

    Of my favorite authors, I met James Baldwin. It was just a signing of one of his books (which turned out to be his last) and I was too intimidated to anything more than "hi" :)

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    Nelle Hoxie 7 years ago

    Kurt Vonnegut lived in Barnstable, MA which is the town next door to where I grew up on Cape Cod. When I was in High School, he let Barnstable High School perform the first stage production of Welcome to the Monkey House. I went to the performance with friends in the cast and later we were all invited back to his house for a cast party. He is actually one of my least favorite writers. And when he asked me what I thought of his writing, I'm afraid I was rather rude (although at the time I thought I was being rather intellectual). I cringe at the thought now, although he was rather good natured about my outburst. Wouldn't you know, I ran into him off and on for the next 30 years. If he saw me in a bookstore, he would peek over my shoulder and say something like, "So him you like!" I do miss his intellectual force. (By the way another fabulous hub.)

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    Barry Rutherford 7 years ago from Queensland Australia

    thanks for making me one of you favouirite hupage authors I'm chuffed ! :)

  • Uninvited Writer profile image
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    Susan Keeping 7 years ago from Kitchener, Ontario

    Great choices. I read House of Mirth in college, it was very fine. I read Crime and Punishment in my 20s, great writing but so, so dark.

    Thanks for sharing.

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    barranca 7 years ago

    Shakespeare aside, I like Melville, Dickinson, Whitman and Flannery O'Connor. Just now reading House of Mirth by Wharton which is a fine novel that is strong where Austen is weak. But any such list is deficient without mentioning Tolstoy and Dostoevsky.

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    Susan Keeping 7 years ago from Kitchener, Ontario

    Thank Dohn. Of course, I love Orwell too. I must have read 1984 at least 10 times and Animal Farm a couple of times. And, The Great Gatsby is on my top list of books, I adore it. :) I have also read a lot of Hemingway but he isn't among my favorites. I've read a few of his book but mostly because I was studying him. However, I really enjoyed The Moveable Feast. I collect books on the Lost Generation and that is probably the best book about that time.

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    dohn121 7 years ago from Hudson Valley, New York

    Okay, here's my top 5: Shakespeare, Shakespeare, Shakespeare, Shakespeare, and Shakespeare!

    Just kidding! Othello was one of my favorites too, but MacBeth and Romeo and Juliet (my short, the Absence of Aurora was inspired by both Othello and Romeo and Juliet) are aces for me.

    William Faulkner should not be ignored. I read a embarrassingly long essay on "As I Lay Dying" in college. My professor wanted me to publish it.

    Korea's Hwang Sun-Won taught me how to write like a gun was pointed at my face. He had what doctors would classify as OCD as a writer. His writing was never "finish."

    George Orwell is next. Animal Farm is one of the best novels of the 20th Century. J.D. Salinger's Franny and Zooey is another one of my favorites and so is Fitzgerald's Gatsby...

    And my all time favorite author? Ernest Hemingway. He's my hero and my inspiration to write. He's taught me so much about the written word and didn't even have to open his mouth. I have every single one of his works and then some. If I can write half as good as he did, I'll be twice the writer I thought I could be!

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    Susan Keeping 7 years ago from Kitchener, Ontario

    Great choices Amanda. I worked my way through the Cadfael mysteries and the works of John Steinbeck. And I've read and enjoyed Maeve Binchy and EM Forster (I read A Room with a View and Maurice).

    Packerpack, I read Davinci Code and it wasn't that bad. I haven't read any of his other works.

    Thanks for commenting and sharing :)

  • Amanda Severn profile image

    Amanda Severn 7 years ago from UK

    My list is quite a mix, with no overlap to yours at all, although I can see where you're coming from with Austin and Shakespeare. Mine would probably include E.M.Forster (Room with a View, Where Angels Fear to Tread, Maurice, and A Passage to India), Ursula leGuin (Earthsea Trilogy, Rocannons World, and The Lathe of Heaven), Ellis Peters (The Cadfael mysteries), John Steinbeck, and Maeve Binchy. Of course, if you asked me again tomorrow, the list might have changed. I'm quite fickle that way!

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    Om Prakash Singh 7 years ago from India, Calcutta

    I am enjoying Facebook so much. The moment you publish and update your link I get to know and here I come to read. i have been doing this for the past 5 hours. Enjoying it. Now I will not miss Hubs from my Fav hubbers. O yes you do rank hing in my list of fav hubbers here.

    Anyways back to topic, William Shakespeare is not doubt the best and then comes Jane Austin for me. However I have a completely different fascination for Mr. Dan Brown. You don't seem to like his work! Different people different taste!

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