Authors that I love

So here is a list of the authors that I love and return to frequently for a break from crappy writers.

Evelyn Waugh – a male writer (yes, I know his name is Evelyn) who is a not an heir to the soap fortune as far as I know. He wrote amazing, satirical novels during the 20s,30,& 40s. His stunning ability to make fun of the rich and their lack of soul is timeless. He also cannot help but delve into issues of religion and society. Suggestions: A Handful of Dust, Vile Bodies, The Painted Veil.

Margaret Atwood – honestly she has some terrible novels but a lot of her writing is brilliant.  Suggestions: The Blind Assassin, The Handmaid’s Tale, Oryx and Crake.  Avoid unless you wish yourself  some painful reading: Surfacing. The Year of Flood.

– Iris Murdoch – seems to be mostly known for having Alzheimer’s thanks to the movie starring Kate Winslet.  She began publishing in the 50s and her last novel was published in the 70s.  Her ability to make all of her characters unlikable but somehow interesting enough that you keep reading is a rare gift.  Suggestions: The Black Prince, Under the Net (one of my favorite novels of all time), The Bell.

W. Somerset Maugham – another one of those grew up in France and England writers (I am just bitterly jealous). By 1914 he was widely read.  He was contemporaries with my other love, Waugh.  His writing is heartbreaking, without exception it is all heartbreaking, but also has some of the most memorable characters.  Suggestions: The Razor’s Edge (which I need to read again), Of Human Bondage, The Moon and Sixpence.

– Graham Greene- like Waugh, he converted to Catholicism and then struggled with that assumed Catholic guilt his whole life.  There is also this continual struggle with how God plays into our lives and what the consequences are. He started publishing his work in 1929 and didn’t stop until his death in the early 90s.  Suggestions: The Heart of the Matter, The Quiet American, The End of the Affair.

William Trevor – my Irish writer of choice.  His short stories are lovely, but his novels are even better (in my humble opinion) as they give him time to stretch his legs a bit.  A large collection of his short stories were just published this year and they are worth reading.  But “The Story of Lucy Gault” remains my favorite Trevor writing. Other suggestions: Felicia’s Journey, Death in Summer.

– Edith Wharton – okay, okay I know you are thinking “really?” but yes. She was a wonderful female author at the turn of the century when women really did not have a voice.  Her writing is important so that we can always understand the struggle of women during this time.  She was a contemporary of Henry James, but, in my opinion, was the far superior writer.  Suggestions: House of Mirth, The Custom of the Country, The Age of Innocence, The Buccaneers.

Carlos Ruiz Zafon – He is a fairly new author (for me anyway).  His writing is magical and dark.  He is Spanish and has a beautiful way of describing life in Barcelona through his characters. Suggestions: Shadow of the Wind (please, please read this book), The Angel’s Game.

– Gabriel Garcia Marquez – My life long dream would be to have a coffee with Marquez and just listen to him talk.  I remember finishing “A Hundred Years of Solitude” and just sitting, waiting to catch my breath.  This does not happen often with books (though it should) and when it does it is such a memorable experience.  Suggestions: A Hundred Years of Solitude, Love in the Time of the Cholera, The General in his Labyrinth.

Other Authors that should be mentioned: P.G. Wodehouse, Jane Austen (of course), All three Bronte sisters, Sarah Waters, Anthony Trollope, Kazuo Ishiguro, Wally Lamb, Booth Tarkington, F. Scott Fitzgerald, George Eliot, Elizabeth Bowen, Albert Camus and more…

12 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Jane Doe  |  October 20, 2011 at 12:20 am

    I love that Edith Wharton made your list & I love Edith Wharton. In case your interested in reading her biography, I did review it. I’m not trying to advertise myself just save you time or recommend it, one of the two. My favorite is “House of Mirth” but then I haven’t read “The Buccaneers” yet.

    Reply
  • 2. Emily C  |  October 20, 2011 at 6:23 pm

    It is so nice to hear from someone else who loves Edith Wharton. “House of Mirth” is much better than “The Buccaneers” but I still really liked it. Thank you for stopping by. Now I am going to check out your review of her biography.

    Reply
  • 3. Sarah Jane @ The Fit Cookie  |  January 2, 2012 at 9:23 pm

    I love classic works, like Jane Austen, George Eliot, Charles Dickens, Mary Shelley… I start a lot of books and never finish them! Sadly, I don’t have as much time to read these days. But your blog makes me want to read more!

    Reply
    • 4. Emily C  |  January 2, 2012 at 11:19 pm

      Finding time to read is always hard. I hope you can find more time to read in 2012 – that is my goal for myself. Thank you for stopping by.

      Reply
  • 5. Nella  |  January 20, 2012 at 9:10 am

    I love Margaret Atwood’s writing, as well as her poems. I’m afraid university put me off George Eliot – we had a dreadful lecturer. Sarah Waters and Kazuo Ishiguro are also favourites of mine.

    Reply
  • 6. Julie Christine  |  March 17, 2012 at 12:45 am

    You had me at Jane Austen (of course). Inspires me to do something similar – identify who I love to read and why… homework assignment!

    Reply
  • 7. The Alternativist  |  June 8, 2013 at 7:46 am

    You have picked a few excellent authors, few of them being favourite of mine. I haven’t read Zafon’s work and try that in near future. I would like to recommend Marquez’s Autumn of Patriarch. I think it’s his best work and yet mostly overlooked. General in his labyrinth is also such a work and I’m glad that you liked it.

    Reply
    • 8. Emily C  |  June 10, 2013 at 8:46 am

      I absolutely love Autumn of Patriarch as well. Marquez is an amazing author. It is nice to meet someone who has read so much of his work.

      Reply
  • 9. Marlene  |  October 18, 2013 at 9:55 am

    Hi Emily, I went to school with your husband and found your site after he posted it on Facebook. I wish you much luck and happiness as you leave your job with Legal Aid.

    My daughter is an advanced reader. She just turned 14 and is a Freshman. She was reading Harry Potter in the 2nd grade and moved on to read all of the Twilight and Hunger Games books as well (which I am really regretting). On a good note, Pride and Prejudice is her favorite book and she has read it several times. Can you make any recommendations for her? I believe she read and liked Emma but has not been as enamored with other Jane Austen novels. She has resisted reading some of the classics that are traditionally in her age-range such as “Girl of the Limberlost.”

    Thank you!

    Reply
    • 10. Emily Swanson  |  June 11, 2017 at 8:09 pm

      Marlene I have no idea how I missed this comment but now it is four years old. I am so sorry. I hope your daughter found her reading path!

      Reply
      • 11. Marlene  |  June 12, 2017 at 11:36 am

        LOL, Emily… she has indeed 🙂

        Also, she’ll be coming your way very soon…OSU bound!

      • 12. Emily Swanson  |  June 12, 2017 at 9:35 pm

        Wonderful! I hope she loves it!

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