Confession: I am a book club junkie. Not book club as in I get together with other people reading the same book and talk about it (although I’m open to that, if anyone wants to have one!), but in that I’ve joined pretty much every online book sales club known to man. I think I get this from my Mama. I remember having scores and scores of hardback books come in through the mail. Now that I have my own place, I’ve started purchasing only hardback books (and only purchase paperbacks if the hardback is out of print) and replacing my favorite paperbacks with hardbacks when I can.
To balance this, I want to point out that I don’t purchase books that I don’t think I’d want to keep forever…I use the library pretty frequently!
Last week I was looking through my books because I wanted to finish out one of my purchasing requirements this month and needed to pick what to get. I’ve found a book club that sells Stephen King books with their original cover art (even though not the original publisher, which would cost a fortune for his whole catalog) and I’ve done an okay job at getting these for a great price. While I was looking at which books I wanted to add to my collection, I started thinking about my favorite authors…
I love reading…LOVE it…and will usually attach myself to an author in the same way I get hooked on TV masterminds like JJ Abrams and Aaron Sorkin and want to watch everything they produce (and I completely forgive JJ for Armageddon).
So, questions for the day: Who are your favorite authors? Considering your favorite books, do you tend to gravitate toward a particular author, or more toward a subject matter (that might fill your faves list with many authors)? How do you choose what to read?
I’ll answer these myself:
Who are your favorite authors?
This is tough, because in my tendency to over-organize, I categorize authors. So, to answer this question, I’ll name my favorite contemporary, living authors: Pat Conroy, Stephen King, Tim O’Brien, Jodi Picoult, Ann Patchett, Tom Tryon.
My favorite book for the longest time was Conroy’s Beach Music; I think after reading his memoir My Losing Season it (MLS) became my favorite. Side note, I found this recent interview with Tim O’Brien while looking up information today. I believe that he and Stephen King capture the voices of men of their generation better than anyone else I’ve read.
Do you gravitate toward an author or subject matter?
I move more toward an author, although most authors do follow the same theme throughout their works. Two of my favorites, Patchett and (shockingly) King, have the most varied works, I think. Conroy can be counted on to give a Southern voice to his books, and O’Brien’s are always related to the Vietnam War & its veterans. Picoult has the smartest ‘chic lit’ out there. Tryon writes like an old Hollywood scriptwriter, everything is full of glamour and um…voluptuousness?…; if you haven’t read Harvest Home, you must read it NOW!
How do you choose what to read?
I usually switch between fiction and nonfiction (on an “every other” rotation), but I’ve been on a fiction kick recently. I can over-do it on a subject matter in nonfiction, which usually results in me not reading for a while, which is bad! I need to start balancing things out a little better.
I try to read anything and everything by my favorite authors and I even follow a “purchase before reading” policy with O’Brien, Picoult & King. With new books, I definitely judge a book by its cover. Sometimes clichés exist because they work!
My recommended reading list for anyone who loves to read:
Harvest Home by Thomas (Tom) Tryon (The scariest book ever. No doubt.)
The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald (It’s on every best books list for a reason…)
Skeleton Crew by Stephen King (Collection of short stories; more vivid, lingering images than anything else I’ve read)
The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver
My Losing Season by Pat Conroy
Beach Music by Pat Conroy
Atonement by Ian McEwan (Hate the characters actions but love the way they’re written = good writing)
Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison
East of Eden by John Steinbeck
The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien
In the Lake of the Woods by Tim O’Brien
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
Taft by Ann Patchett
Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer
The Dogs of Babel by Carolyn Parkhurst
Fathers and Sons by Ivan Turgenev
A Room with a View by EM Forster
*If you haven’t lived in the territory of Yellawood for long, you might not get this reference. Please, someone out there tell me you remember this commercial and this line comes into your head at least once every other week (like it does mine).