12. Your favourite authors.
I don’t make much of a secret of it when I love an author so there are a number of people on this list who need little explanation beyond that which is already given in other places around this blog:
1. Joanne Harris (apart from The Lollipop Shoes and Blackberry Wine I’ve loved everything I’ve ever read by this lady.)
2. Markus Zusak (if I thought there was anything more I could say to explain how much I love this man’s writing then I could. He’s a genius. If you haven’t read any yet then go and find one of his books. Now.)
3. Stephen King. I haven’t read a lot of King’s work, I only really discovered him a couple of years ago but I’m fast becoming a huge fan. I mean, he even managed to get a totally, utterly, unfeasible genetic concept past me and that, my friends, is hard to do. He creates epic stories such as The Stand and Desperation which are huge tomes full of human characters and unspeakable evil slowly revealed with an ever-present sense of fear and trepidation. He is a true master of suspense and yet unlike a number of other thriller writers I’ve encountered, never lets us down at the end.
And so to other authors who I may have been less vocal about:
4. Anne McCaffrey. I’ve never been a huge fan of traditional space books, I’m not that into futuristic machinery and weird alien races but I adore McCaffrey’s Dragonriders of Pern series. This series is set on Pern, many years in the future and yes, the humans who live there arrived in a futuristic space craft but since arriving their society has “regressed” to a state that is similar to Earth before the Industrial Revolution. With one major difference. Due to the constant threat of
Thread, a parasitic organism that falls from the skies devouring everything it touches; members of the planet are partnered with telepathic dragons and together they burn the Thread to ash before it touches the ground. The world McCaffrey created has a rich cast of characters and the novelty of the setting and the unique problem facing the planet drew me in from the first time I picked up a book. The first of the series (Dragonflight) was published in 1968 and 45 years later (2 years after McCaffrey’s death) Pern books are still being published by her son Todd. The series covers more than 2,500 years on Pern and my favourite time period will always be during the Ninth Pass as that includes the first books I read and so includes the characters I am most attached to. However it is a mark of what an immensely enjoyable world McCaffrey created that I still want to read books that cover other times and other people and learn as much about Pern as I can. Oh and another thing: McCaffrey loved the world of Pern so much that she named her house “Dragonhold-Underhill”. When an author cherishes their work to such an extent, it shines through in their writing.
5. Jon Ronson. Occasionally I’m tempted by a non-fiction book and most recently it was The Psychopath Test that caught my eye. This is basically a book in which Jon Ronson goes looking for psychopaths and debates whether or not he fulfills the criteria. It’s quite a light-hearted look at the world of madness, full of interesting anecdotes and amusing encounters which nonetheless raises some awkward questions about the way we see the world. But it’s not the book on the list, it’s Ronson himself and that is because (having since read his other books), I enjoy his brand of investigation, Ronson comes across as one of those undeniably affable reporters who manage to get people to reveal their secrets simply by being nice, and jolly. There’s a humour to his writing but he also manages to put across the more serious messages without coming off as preachy which is a winning formula in my book.
I’m sure there are more people who should be going on this list but these are the lucky few that my tired brain could come up with, it’s been a long week!