Sunday, November 14, 2010

Dearest Authors

I so enjoyed a recent post about favorite authors by one of my favorite classy bloggers, Bevy at It's a Golden Day... I have been a bookworm for as long as my mama can remember, which is even longer than I can remember. I am always delighted to find new authors or books to read, or just to share opinions about books with like-minded (or not-so-like-minded) friends. That's one reason I often sacrifice perfectly good sleeping hours to finish books for either of the two book clubs I belong to, despite my barely having the time to finish the stacks&stacks of books I've chosen to read in my own "spare" time.


Anyway, you can imagine my delight when I reached the end of this post about favorite authors & saw that I had been tagged to blog about my own favorite authors! Yippee! I can't think of a better topic for a Sunday evening blog post, especially since last night was a meeting with my monthly Saturday night book club.

(It's the less-structured, wine-soaked one. My other monthly book club meets on Friday mornings & welcomes toddlers in tow. ;))

So, as difficult as it is for me to narrow my looong list of favorite authors down to fifteen, here goes...


*List your fifteen most favorite authors.
*Tag fifteen bloggers to list their fifteen most favorite authors.
*Let them know they've been tagged.

(These are *mostly* in alphabetical order, rather than in order of importance.)

1. God

As a Christian, there is no greater, more influential Book than the Holy Bible.

From my childhood beginnings in Sunday School classes at old Southern Baptist churches;
to my hunger to learn more about God & His will for my life, upon graduating high school;
to my reliance today upon what the Bible teaches about marriage, parenting, etc...

He never changes;
He is always the same.

I have a particular fondness for the books of I&II Corinthians, I&II Peter, Psalms, & Ruth.

2. Lisa Birnbach

What can I say? Perhaps this blog would not have its preppy inspiration, & it's possible I would not properly "speak" the preppy language, without The Official Preppy Handbook.

(Or at least not so "authentically," anyway...)

Although I am certain my mama can tell you she spotted my preppy leanings all the way back in elementary school, I think most Southern preps grow up in a somewhat different environment from that which is depicted in The Official Preppy Handbook. The South has its own ways, & that extends to its preppy ways. Without the original Handbook, it could have been years before I knew about playing squash or the Top Ten. ;)

(Well, you know...preppy Southerners are more likely to play tennis, & choose between Birmingham-Southern&Duke.)

& True Prep was absolutely worth the wait, & absolutely lives up to the hype!

3. Charlotte Bronte

Jane Eyre was the very first novel I can remember reading that left me in tears. No other book had moved me so emotionally before that I literally couldn't put it down & had to find out what happened to characters I had come to love. I read it as a teenager, without its being assigned for anything, after catching snippets of the old black&white film on television. My interest was piqued, so I obtained a copy of the book & immersed myself in the cold British halls of Lowood&Thornfield. Truly one of the finest happy (bittersweet) endings to be found in literature.

4. F. Scott Fitzgerald

Surprisingly enough, my favorite Fitzgerald novel is not The Great Gatsby, although I do love it dearly. My favorite is This Side of Paradise. To me there is something that seems somehow more tragic about it, or at least more deeply felt. & the biographies of Fitzgerald & his wife Zelda are fascinatingly tragic, as well.

5. Fannie Flagg

I couldn't even tell you how old I was when I read my first Fannie Flagg novel, but I can tell you it was probably "too young." My stepmama had read & thoroughly enjoyed Daisy Fay & the Miracle Man, & she had passed it along to my older stepsister.

(Who was probably at least *closer* to an appropriate age.)

My curiosity & voracious appetite for books led me to think I should read it, too. I remember that it took me a looong time to finish - in fact, I think I remember starting it once & giving up, then picking it up the following summer & plodding through it to the end. I was so proud of myself for reading that big ol' adult book. Although I'm certain there were probably some things in there I shouldn't have been reading about, what I remember best about it were

the creatively named characters,
the tales about the pageant circuit,
& the vivid depictions of Southern culture.

I should probably re-read it as an adult...I also enjoyed reading Flagg's classic Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe. I've selected her latest novel, I Still Dream About You, for one of my December book clubs.

6. John Grisham

Probably one of the foundations for my interest in the law profession, the works of John Grisham were my absolute favorite novels to read during the last couple years of high school, into the first couple years of college. I enjoyed quite a few of the legal page-turners, including:

& I actually thought the film versions of

A Time to Kill,
The Firm,
The Client,
& The Rainmaker

were quite good. The Runaway Jury was a good movie...but it had virtually nothing to do with the book of the same name.

Anyway, once I got to law school, all fictional liberties Grisham had taken in his depiction of the legal profession became abundantly clear. ;) I have yet to come across any portrayal of law school, or the legal profession, that can adequately prepare you for its reality!

7. Joshilyn Jackson

Although her most recent work, Backseat Saints, didn't feel up to her usual standards (in my, uh, humble opinion); Jackson's previous three novels are all stellar works of modern Southern literature. I highly recommend Between, Georgia; The Girl Who Stopped Swimming; & Gods in Alabama.

8. Madeleine L'Engle

As a child I loved the most famous of L'Engle's works, A Wrinkle in Time. I look forward to reading it again with my own daughter one day; & I think My Prince will also enjoy it, with its many scientific concepts. But years later, as a young adult in college, I realized that there are sequels to this book, so I re-read it & then proceeded to read all of its sequels. I found it all every bit as captivating as an adult, perhaps even more so. I also went on to read some of L'Engle's other fictional works, including:

L'Engle was an immensely talented writer, & I think many young readers today could benefit from a revival of her works. Her characters could certainly hold their own amongst the Harry Potters & Lemony Snickets of this generation.

9. Ayn Rand

Although many great authors have written works that have been inspirational & thought-provoking to me, I can think of no other author of fiction that has been so influential to my life. I was introduced to Rand during my freshman year of college, by a professor that also proved to be a great influence on my life. Unlike many readers of Rand's works, I actually began with Atlas Shrugged & read The Fountainhead afterward. During my college years, I read most (if not all) of Rand's works, both fiction&non-fiction. In fact, I absorbed myself in her works, sometimes obsessively.

There are many who dismiss Rand's philosophy because of her lack of religious belief. Certainly there is no one single philosophy I can honestly say I apply to all areas of my life. & because I do try to live a life guided by Christian principles, I obviously dismiss Rand's atheism as incongruent with my own beliefs.

However, when it comes to concepts of individual rights & political theory, I think Rand's philosophy is mostly spot-on.

(I am also a big fan of Aristotle, Edmund Burke, Friedrich Hayek, & John Locke. But no single work of theirs ever actually *changed* my life in the way that Atlas Shrugged did.)

10. Francine Rivers

At the end of my first full semester of law school, I was painfully aware that my Christmas break was going to be my last hope for getting any "reading for pleasure" done before the insane spring semester got underway. Since three of my regular law school lunch pals had insisted I had to read Rivers, especially Redeeming Love, I spent that Christmas break doing just that. & they were right! You have to read Redeeming Love, as well as the Mark of the Lion trilogy. All are fantastic.

My mama just finished the first two novels in Rivers' newest series, Marta's Legacy, & now those are also on my to-read list.

11. Dr. Laura Schlessinger

You may have been wondering if Dr. Laura would make the list. After all, I have blogged about her before. Quite frankly, I think she's fab.

(I think it's a shame that she's ending her radio show over a controversy that even a number of outspoken liberal &/or minority personalities were able to see was taken out of context. & it's a shame that the mainstream media only seems to encourage free speech for certain platforms...)

Anyway, I suppose her directness can be off-putting.

(But really, if you don't want to change anything about yourself, don't call a therapist on nationally syndicated radio, right?)

But her philosophy on family&marriage is fantastic...Analogously, I suppose Dr. Laura is to my domestic life, as Rand is to my civil life. ;)

12. Curtis Sittenfeld

American Wife is one of the best books I've read this year. Sittenfeld writes in a way that makes private people&places seem accessible&familiar - without feeling exploitative or really taking away from what makes them special. I suppose it's hard to explain, so I recommend you just read American Wife or Prep. I only wish Sittenfeld had a blog for us to follow!

13. Kathryn Stockett

I know, I know. She's only written one far! But The Help is that good. I anxiously await more works from this talented author. & I admit it, I'm kind of anxiously awaiting the film adaptation...I hope it doesn't disappoint!

(Though the book *is* always better, film adaptations can be good, too. ;))

14. Leo Tolstoy

War&Peace really is a masterpiece work of literature. Yes, it is colossal in length. But it is worth every page! So is Anna Karenina. & don't ask me to choose which one is my favorite. They are both exquisite for the same attention to detail in the creation of such flawed, lovable characters & the dramatic stages upon which their lives are set.

15. Edith Wharton

My favorites by Wharton are The Custom of the Country & The Age of Innocence. I love all of the depictions of early twentieth-century high society in the city. I am vaguely aware that there was a film adaptation of The Age of Innocence a number of years ago. I haven't sought it out because I tend to fall into the "the book was better" camp when it comes to these things, & it often seems to be even harder to skillfully adapt classic literary period pieces.

(Although there are, of course, film adaptations I love...when pressed, I usually still have to admit the book was better!)

Blogs I tag, by bloggers whose bookshelves I want to take a peek at...


  1. Thanks for sharing a wonderful collection of authors and their work ... Some I was already familiar with others I may have to consider them. You have certainly peaked my interest in
    Ayn Rand ... HHL

  2. I ADORE F. Scott Fitzgerald! What a fantastic list. Some of my favorites include J.D. Salinger, Jaclyn Moriarty, Jane Austen, and Meg Cabot.
    xo Josie

  3. Great list! I love most of them too, the ones I've not heard of I'll have to check out

  4. Ahhh...thanks!

    I am going to have to think about this one!!!! Give me a bit :) Right now the only thing I am reading are my work emails! Well...and blogs :)

  5. Thank you so much!!! You are too sweet!!! I'm leaving town in 2 days but I'll post it in a week when I get back!!!

  6. You are so sweet to include me in your fab are welcome to peek at my bookshelf, girlfriend! You should do a weekly post on others' bookshelves... ;) xoxo

  7. Edith Wharton is a fave of mine too! And Jane Austen gets me every time!

  8. So great to get to know you better. I have never read Jane Eyre, but I have picked it up a few times at the bookstore. I ended up getting another classic, Emma (Jane Austen), have you read that one?

  9. Great list.... You know I have never read Curtis Sittenfeld. Must!!!

  10. Great list - we share some favorite authors! Thanks for the tag...I can't wait to think up my own list! xoxo

  11. Great list, I too love to read and will stay up way past my bedtime with a good book. I just finished "Little Women" and loved it, cried and laughed the entire time. I like to read a little "fluff" from time to time and just finished "Heart of The Matter by Emily Giffin".

  12. Hi! Just wanted to drop a note saying that you WON my Marley Lilly Giveaway!!!

  13. You have inspired me to read American Wife. I have read Sittenfeld's Prep (wonderful) and The Man of My Dreams (less than stellar). Do to my poor experience with the latter, I passed on her latest. I'm only into the first chapter, but think I will enjoy it. Thanks!

  14. Just dropping in to say hello... looks like you have not posted since my last visit. Hope you are doing well, darling!

  15. This is a great list. Thanks for tagging me. I'm working on my list now. Have a super weekend.