When approaching this topic I had two perspectives in mind;
- What authors do I enjoy who have a whole swath of work I need to get to?
- What authors NEED to write more books I can throw my money at?
Either way, I have the same outcome: I need to invent a time loop so I can relive Saturday mornings over and over again, so as to maximize my book intake ratio to my ‘having to be an adult and go to work’ ratio. I know, I know- it’s a complicated platform supported by algorithms that don’t yet exist, buttttt if someone could invent that right-about-now, that would be great.
Another caveat to my reading more books by authors that I love is my desire to diversify. It’s always good practice to try out new authors, and maybe find some new genres you didn’t know you loved. Though, I’ll be the first to admit this is not my strong suit- I often choose something comfortable and familiar over trying out a new thing (Hmm. This book about Magic and Adventure, or that Biography….?????!!!! Duh. Magic.)-though I should try to be a bit better about it. But, as my grandfather always said “Want in one hand and shit in the other, see which one fills up faster.”
So, nevertheless, my top 5 list is going to be a big pile of the same ole amazingness that I’m addicted to. Here are my (current) top 5 Authors I need to read more of:
Best known for his witty commentary on the highs and lows of life, David Sedaris is a treasure not to be missed. His eccentric family life, affinity for story telling, and (often) dry humor can induce bright eyes and smiles in any Scrooge. While he is well known for writing- he can also be heard on This American life, where he often contributes. His dry humor and delivery bring joy to the most ridiculous of situations-I recommend always listening to ‘This American Life’, but especially when Mr. Sedaris is contributing.
As for his writing, I often find that his books make for good travel companions; his writing flow makes it such that you can read it on the go, stop, and pick it up again whenever. Though I have read a few, I have a long way to go. He has written 9 books, and has contributed to other works ready to be consumed. So, for the foreseeable future, I’m going to load up on Comedy, and tote a smile along with my suitcase.
4. Bill Bryson
For those of you who have Wanderlust and are not familiar with Bill Bryson’s work, I recommend you stop what you’re doing right now and go buy one of his books immediately. He is a prolific Travel-Adventure author, who also knows a thing or two about history and science (see: A Short History of Nearly Everything). Much like David Sedaris his prose has pronounced witticism, and a flare for self deprecating humor. I have only read two of his books- A Walk in the Woods & A Short History of Nearly Everything – but from what I have seen, I’m all in. Almost all of his books are set on the road, dredging up my deepest desires to visit new places, every five minutes. He writes honestly and openly about his experiences, the people he meets, and his failed expectations. I am particularly excited to read some of his books covering England and his experiences there, as he called it home for many years. His Ex-Pat perspective will no doubt leave us in stitches, aching for an adventure of our own. I look forward to reading his whole collection (he has published over 20 books!), and stealing inspiration to write my own ridiculous tales of life abroad, and all around.
I first found Barbara Kingsolver in high school. Everyone was reading ‘The Poisonwood Bible’ (perhaps it was assigned? I don’t remember…) so I hopped on board. It was elegant, hard to read, engrossing, sad and different from so many other things I had read before. I loved it; I loved her voice. It is one of the sole reasons I decided to study Anthropology in College; I found the whole concept of immersing yourself in Culture fascinating. Though I didn’t grow up to live among a tribe in Africa, I have continued my study on culture through reading and engaging experiences. So many of her works are a study on humanity, in one sense or another. She focuses largely on Arizona and Appalachia (as she has called both those places home), and she offers up beautiful characters and captivating stories. She also has several non-fiction works, which are delicate and informative. In ‘Animal, Vegetable, Miracle‘ she gives all free spirits the notion that one can seek sustenance from the land, exist in harmony with family, and still live a cultured life. She certainly had me throwing away clothes, reading by candle light, and buying yeast to make my own bread. I find her works very moving; there is always so much heart behind the story, making it all too easy to get lost in the journey.
She has written 14 books (a mix of fiction and nonfiction) and I need to read them all! To be honest, I usually wait until I see one I haven’t read at a thrift store and pick it up, so maybe I’ll keep on the path. Looking forward to my next find, and diving deep into the heart of humanity.
2. Lev Grossman
Lover’s of ‘Beauty and the Bitch’ know that we love Lev Grossman. I think ‘The Magicians’ trilogy is going to be a part of Fantasy Pop-Culture for decades to come. It’s a beautiful story centered on broken, relatable characters. Their lives are tragically not fixed by the one thing they thought would make it better: Magic is real. Lev Grossman weaves his story with love, fear, sacrifice and homage. He blends themes and ideas we know and love from well known Fantasy tales (The Chronicles of Narnia, Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings), but does so in a way that he honors them, borrows from them, and spring boards into an original story.
He has a few other writing credits to his name, but has spent his primary existence as a writer working as a journalist- most recently with Time Magazine. He has an impressive career, and I am very excited to see where it goes next. He has the unfortunate duty to follow up a popular fantasy series: where will he go next? My hopes are that he has some other crafted Magical tales to tell, but I’d be happy with a book of essays or something of the like. Whatever he does, you can be sure the eyes of the world will be on him. He has a whole new set of fans thanks to ‘The Magicians’, the adapted TV show on the SyFy network. We’ll all wait with baited breathe until he publishes again- but in the mean time, BRB while I binge watch some Magicians and dream of Magic.
1. JK Rowling
So, unless you’ve been living under a rock for 20 years- you know a little about Jo Rowling. (listen to our upcoming HP Episodes and learn WAY more than you wanted to know!) She is the Mother of Modern fantasy for so many people; she brought magic to a whole generation of kids who grew up to voraciously consume other Fantasy as a direct result of her influence (It’s me! It’s me!). ‘Harry Potter’ is the best selling book series of all time, and will live on the become classics, influencing generations of children to come.
So. To say the least, it must be pretty intimidating to follow up on it’s massive success. She has since written one book under her real name-‘The Casual Vacancy‘ (Which every super fan has probably read [kinda good, a little boring, a little shocking, a little sad, very British])- and she has written a mystery series under her Pen Name Robert Galbraith – the ‘Cormoran Strike Series‘. I personally love this series so far, though it can be shocking at times (think body parts in boxes, arriving through the post). It chronicles a disabled Veteran turned PI who has become very broken. He lives on the edge of poverty, is famous adjacent, and also works alongside a beautiful broken woman- who helps keep it all together when he’s not looking. Needless to say, I am all caught up on EVERYTHING and I need more. I know patience is a virtue, but I live everyday in a daze hoping she pulls a Beyonce and drops a novel on us (SHUT UP AND TAKE MY MONEY). Looking forward to more Mystery books, and anything and everything she wants to send our way. Hoping she steps back into the fantasy realm – or maybe even a post-Potter Wizarding World book- but I can probably keep holding my breath.
So. Forever waiting for the next best Book,
By the way: