The topic of this Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, is Top Ten ALL TIME Favorite Authors. This has actually changed quite a bit over the past year or two. A few authors got demoted and I fell head over heels for some others. So I guess “all time” is really relative for me.
Also, there are not ten. I have some auto-buy authors not on this list, and I have some favorite debut authors that may move on to it as they (hopefully) write more. But to be an all time favorite is to be in rarefied company.
1. Lynn Flewelling
Lynn Flewelling is the first “grown-up” fantasy author I read. I still remember going into B. Dalton (oh my god–remember B. Dalton? I am so old) when I was a freshman in high school and walking out with The Bone Doll’s Twin based solely on it’s creepy cover. I’ve read her books more times than I can count, to the point where they just scream “comfort read” to me. Flewelling was the first author I read who wrote m/m romantic plotlines, and it was the first time I realized that I wasn’t weird for liking that. She was the first (only) author I ever dared write a fan letter to—and she EMAILED ME BACK. Fifteen year old me was starstruck. I think at the moment she is focusing on other things than writing, but I really do hope one day she writes more books, because I will be first in line for them.
2. David Mitchell
Like with Lynn Flewelling, I remember the exact circumstances of the first time I read David Mitchell, down to the texture of my bedspread. The book was McSweeney’s Enchanted Chamber of Astonishing Stories, the story was “What You Do Not Know You Want,” and when I finished, I closed the book and stared off into space for a good long while because I was wrecked. Mitchell is, quite simply, a master. No living writer is as good with words as he is.
3. Fyodor Dostoevsky
I had a very influential history professor who told me that Crime and Punishment was the best novel ever written, and so, for a time, it was for me. I’ve become more nuanced in how I judge things and learned to create my own criteria without relying so much on outsiders to influence my value judgments…but I still really love Dostoevsky. There is hope beneath his bleakness that will always appeal to me. (And I will never, ever forget reading Demons in an airport while waiting for a plane and having a conservative woman loudly berate me for devil-worshiping.)
4. Vladimir Nabokov
Another favorite Russian. I have not finished my survey of Nabokov yet, because I like to linger over his books and it takes a long time for me to digest them. He’s a master of language and wordplay.
5. Tana French
I read all five of Tana French’s books in less than nine months. I just vacuumed through them. Her grasp of language and characterization mixes with incredibly dense, twisty plots and makes magic.
6. N. K. Jemisin
I’m not reading nearly as much fantasy as I used to, especially longform. Of those authors I do read, Jemisin is hands-down the best. I love her worldbuilding and her characters
7. Courtney Milan
I still kind of can’t believe a romance author is on this list. But Milan’s books really changed how I look at that genre. They’re sexy and smart, they always make me laugh, and they’ve opened up a whole list of other writers and books to me.
8. Ludmilla Petrushevskaya
Oh, wait, you thought there were only gonna be two Russians on this list? Please. Petrushevskaya’s work is exquisite, and vital and raw, and I eagerly await each new translation.
That’s all I’ve got this week. There are plenty of authors who could make the list, and maybe will one day, but these are my desert island authors, the ones I wouldn’t want to have to live without.
Who are yours?