Dead And Alive: Who Are Your Favorite Writers?

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Down the well
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Dead And Alive: Who Are Your Favorite Writers?

Post by Down the well » August 12th, 2010, 12:55 pm

I'm curious who your favorite writers are? Is there one dead and one alive that you can name and tell why they're your favorite?

I'll go for the low-hanging fruit for the dead one. Shakespeare, without a doubt. My first introduction came in high school, and I was blown away by how complex, yet beautiful, the english language was in his care. And then there was the whole subtext and double entendres thing. I still don't understand it all, but it made an impression.

My favorite living writer is harder to narrow down to one, and I'm a little surprised with my choice, but it might just be Ken Follet. There are other writers whose words are so perfectly crafted they make me want to eat them with a spoon, but if I think about which author I've read the most of and never been disappointed, it's Follet.

So how about you?

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Re: Dead And Alive: Who Are Your Favorite Writers?

Post by marccolbourne » August 12th, 2010, 1:14 pm

Hmmm...interesting question...

I think I would have to say Timothy Findley for my favorite author who has passed on and Margaret Atwood for favorite author still living and writing. Yes, as you can tell, I am huge CanLit fan.

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Re: Dead And Alive: Who Are Your Favorite Writers?

Post by Mark » August 12th, 2010, 1:18 pm

Dead: Herman Hesse. Reading Narcissus and Goldmund years ago showed me the possibilities of combining vibrant storytelling with complex themes about the nature of life and man.

Alive: Michael Chabon. I came late to Chabon, having just read The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay two years ago, but I've since read all of his fiction with the exception of one short novella. I admire his ability to tell a story that stands on its own as an engrossing piece of entertainment, while still incorporating bigger themes and issues into the work.

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Re: Dead And Alive: Who Are Your Favorite Writers?

Post by Sommer Leigh » August 12th, 2010, 1:49 pm

I don't think I have a favorite dead author. There are a lot that I like, Samuel Coleridge, F.Scott Fitzgerald, Mary Shelley, and Bram Stoker to name a few. I draw inspiration from all of them and can return to any of their writings at any time. They are comfort food for my brain.

My all time favorite living author is Margarat Atwood as well. God she's just brilliant. And she's still writing! The woman will never quit. And her ideas are so forward thinking and honest and scary and I don't think that most people can admit to the possibility of her worlds let alone have the guts to write about them.

Right now I am also quite taken by Melina Marchetta who has written consistently good books. Everything I've read of hers is great, but she does not blow my mind the way Atwood does.
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Re: Dead And Alive: Who Are Your Favorite Writers?

Post by Jaded » August 12th, 2010, 2:15 pm

Dead: Maaaaybe Zelda Fitzgerald. Her novel Save Me the Waltz is her version of Tender is the Night by her husband F. Scott Fitzgerald. Her prose is absolutely beautiful. I prefer her over F. Scott because of the things he did to her and because some of the best lines in his novels came straight out of her mouth or diary. I'm really having a lot of trouble coming up with other deceased authors that I enjoy. I think I'm a shallow reader.

Alive: My dirty little secret is Nora Roberts. Her hardbacks always have a great story, good pacing, and some amazingly sarcastic and laugh out loud lines in them. Carl Hiaasen, Christopher Moore, Tim Dorsey, Jill Connor Browne, Paolo Coehlo, Sophie Kinsella's stand alones have some pretty hilarious parts in them, Matt Ruff for The Bad Monkeys, Elizabeth Lowell because of the intensive research she does for her novels. I also used to really dig Stephen King, prior to his being hit by a van.

Down the well
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Re: Dead And Alive: Who Are Your Favorite Writers?

Post by Down the well » August 12th, 2010, 2:27 pm

Ack! How could I forget Barbara Kingsolver??!?. *Hand to forehead* She's another author that I've read everything of hers and never been disappointed. So I'm cheating and naming one male author and one female.



*Margaret Atwood is right up there too, but I've only read The Handmaid's Tale. But I plan to read more of her stuff soon.

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Re: Dead And Alive: Who Are Your Favorite Writers?

Post by One of the Mad Ones » August 12th, 2010, 3:05 pm

This question is impossible. It hurts my head to think about it. But I'll try.

My favorite dead author is Sylvia Plath because I've read nearly everything, including the unabridged journals, but the one who made the most profound impact is Nabokov.

My favorite living author is probably Carole Maso, even though I just discovered her work less than a year ago. Few people in my usual circles know who she is, and it's a damn shame.

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Re: Dead And Alive: Who Are Your Favorite Writers?

Post by ninafromnorway » August 12th, 2010, 3:10 pm

Dead is Shakespeare, for the same reasons as you.

Alive is Karin Fossum, a Norwegian author. She writes a lot of mysteries and she is extraordinary in the way that she forces you to sympathize with the offender in her books. That be a murderer, a pedophile og a rapist. In some ways I hate reading her books, because I know I'm going to like what I read, and hate myself for liking it. And that's why I also love her books!
Last edited by ninafromnorway on August 13th, 2010, 6:11 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Dead And Alive: Who Are Your Favorite Writers?

Post by Jaded » August 12th, 2010, 3:49 pm

ninafromnorway wrote:... she is extraordinary in the way that she forces you to sympathize with the offender in her books. That be a murderer, a pedophile og a rapist. In some ways I hate reading her books, because I know I'm going to like what I read, and hate myself for liking it. And that's why I also love her books!
That reminds me a lot of the movie Hard Candy with Ellen Page. You really feel sorry for the bad guy throughout the entire movie because you don't know if he's actually guilty or not, and after everything's exposed and the credits roll up, you STILL feel bad for him. I think it takes a lot of skill to make the reader/viewer sympathize with a monster.

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Re: Dead And Alive: Who Are Your Favorite Writers?

Post by Down the well » August 12th, 2010, 8:07 pm

Jaded wrote:Carl Hiaasen, Christopher Moore, Tim Dorsey, Jill Connor Browne, Paolo Coehlo, Sophie Kinsella's stand alones have some pretty hilarious parts in them, Matt Ruff for The Bad Monkeys, Elizabeth Lowell because of the intensive research she does for her novels. I also used to really dig Stephen King, prior to his being hit by a van.
Hmmm, the judges are going to allow this, but only because I've never heard of half these people and I like learning about new authors. ;)

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Re: Dead And Alive: Who Are Your Favorite Writers?

Post by Jaded » August 12th, 2010, 11:40 pm

The first three specialize in political and/or absurdist humor. Christopher Moore is the God of absurd and delightful randomness, "Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ's Childhood Pal". Tim Dorsey reigns over lovable and ingenius serial killers and their stoned best friends (Serge and Lenny, and then Coleman). Jill Conner Browne is THE Sweet Potato Queen, generally runs to non-fiction humor with a liberal dash of Southern wisdom (not an oxymoron). "The Sweet Potato Queen's Guide to Raising Children for Fun and Profit" is good, and her debut novel "The Sweet Potato Queen's Big Ass First Novel: Stuff We Didn't Actually Do, but Could Have, and May Yet" is.... interesting. I mean, she has her own parade/weekend in Jackson, MS. She's what we like to call a "big deal" down here. :)

I hope the judges will also allow this. :) I may have just lead you to some of the most entertaining hours of your life.

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Re: Dead And Alive: Who Are Your Favorite Writers?

Post by knight_tour » August 13th, 2010, 2:00 am

Dead -- Tolkien, because no writer ever created a world that I more wish to revisit and wallow in and love passionately. His Silmarillion is a masterwork that I am compelled to reread every few years.

Alive -- George R.R. Martin, because he can give me a more realistic and brutal version of the fantasy that I love more than anything, and realism is what I like, whether in art or storytelling.

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Re: Dead And Alive: Who Are Your Favorite Writers?

Post by ninafromnorway » August 13th, 2010, 6:13 am

Jaded wrote:
ninafromnorway wrote:... she is extraordinary in the way that she forces you to sympathize with the offender in her books. That be a murderer, a pedophile og a rapist. In some ways I hate reading her books, because I know I'm going to like what I read, and hate myself for liking it. And that's why I also love her books!
That reminds me a lot of the movie Hard Candy with Ellen Page. You really feel sorry for the bad guy throughout the entire movie because you don't know if he's actually guilty or not, and after everything's exposed and the credits roll up, you STILL feel bad for him. I think it takes a lot of skill to make the reader/viewer sympathize with a monster.

I haven't seen that one, but you got the point. Hate it when I'm forced to feel like that!
When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.


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Re: Dead And Alive: Who Are Your Favorite Writers?

Post by Down the well » August 13th, 2010, 3:34 pm

Mike Dickson wrote:John Grisham

Vince Flynn
I'm afraid the judges have chosen to disqualify this one on the grounds that neither author is dead yet and no reason was given for proclaimed love of author. Sorry. Please try again.

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