(In no order, except for #1.)
// Jack Cavanaugh //
DUH. If you’ve been following my blog for any length of time and you don’t know this…well, I’d be pretty surprised. Jack Cavanaugh is my favorite author ever, no exceptions, and his novels have impacted my life in so many different ways. I’ve read every single one of his books except three (and I plan to read those three ASAP), and he’s the first author whose books I mention when people ask me for recommendations. In my opinion, he’s written something for everyone – romance, thriller, historical fiction, action, adventure, and soooo much more. One of the best days of my life was when he actually answered a fan email I’d sent him. I had a perpetual grin on my face for hours afterwards.
// Lucy Maud Montgomery //
Of course she’s one of my favorite authors – I hosted a whole blog week about her! Yesterday, I picked up a copy of Anne of the Island that was lying around and started reading it because I was bored and, well, I was immediately sucked into the gorgeous, comfortable, nostalgic writing of LMM. She writes beautiful books. All that description done well without being too over-the-top, and the great characters and settings and all that is tons of fun. (Unless you’re reading Rilla of Ingleside. In which case nothing is fun.) I don’t wish I could write like her, but I do greatly admire her writing.
// Louis L’Amour //
If there were one writer in the world who I could have a writing mentor (provided that they weren’t dead), Louis L’Amour would be that writer. Because I write western stories and he’s been a huge inspiration to me when it comes to that. Plus, it would be neat (and helpful) to ask him lots of questions about what the west was/is like because he lived out there for so long and he’s also done tons of research. I will say that I prefer his short stories to his novels (I find his longer works harder to get into, for some reason), but Louis L’Amour’s writing talents are something I aspire to (though I know that every writer should be unique).
// Suzanne Collins //
I love the Hunger Games series and I love the Underland Chronicles. Collins always brings vivid descriptions, good plotlines, and strong characterization to her stories, and her novels are always a treat – though one that I rarely allow myself, because I have so many other books to read. I think her books are awesome because she refrains from peppering them (particularly THG) with bad language. Good for her!
// Jane Austen //
Of course, Jane Austen. She was the author who ‘introduced’ me to the wonders of classic literature AND the author that inspired me to start writing in the first place (I came across some of my old writing just a couple of days ago, and it was a total rip-off of Austen’s novels). For the longest time, her stories were pretty much the only ones I read, and the movies based on those books just about the only ones I ever watched, and it was glorious. I’ve branched out considerably now, but Jane Austen, her world, and her novels will always be special to me. Always.
// Margaret Mitchell //
She only wrote one novel, folks, but what. a. novel. I’m swooning and sighing just thinking about Gone With The Wind, in all its epicness and majesty and sheer amazingness. IT’S SUCH A STUPENDOUS BOOK. And Margaret Mitchell is a genius, an opinion based on the fact that the protagonist of her book is horrible, and I still adore the story and the last few pages still leave me with a gigantic lump in my throat. Also, Will Benteen. Best character ever, ten out of ten. (Besides all the others.)
// Charles Dickens //
My family is in the middle of re-watching the Little Dorrit (2008) miniseries, and I’m in awe of how Dickens’ creates such unique characters and ties unbelievably intricate plots and subplots together into one story. Wowwww. I haven’t read as many of his books as I would like, but the ones I have delved into have always satisfied – Great Expectations, A Tale of Two Cities, Bleak House, and a few more. And the amount of tears I’ve shed over certain Dickens characters (SYDNEY CARTON) have only deepened my love for the work of this master storyteller.
// Victor Hugo //
Les Misérables is one of the greatest novels ever written. The end. (I also really enjoyed Toilers of the Sea.)
// Harper Lee //
Harper Lee has such a way with words. There are so many lines in both To Kill A Mockingbird and Go Set A Watchman that I have to stop and re-read every time because they are gorgeous. Every time I open the pages of TKAM and read the first few lines, I always get sucked right back into the comfortable, homey, near-perfect world of Maycomb. I didn’t grow up with TKAM because my mom deemed some of the subject matter to be too mature for my younger self (and rightly so) but now that I’ve read it, I couldn’t imagine my life without it. And though my faith in both Harper Lee and Atticus Finch was shaken earlier last year, I’m happy to say that it all worked out in the end.
// Louisa May Alcott //
I almost didn’t put LMA on this list, because her tendency to moralize grates on my nerves and the more I think about it, Jo’s Boys infuriates me, but she has written some excellent books and I always enjoy returning to Little Women, Little Men, and The Inheritance. There’s a book of hers that I own – The Long, Fatal Love Chase – but have never read, and I don’t know whether I should give it a try or not. Have any of you ever read it? Overall, I do like LMA’s writing style and all that; there are just certain things about her books that I really, really don’t care for. So, I guess putting her at the end of this list was a good call.
Runners-up include: Lynn Austin, Emmuska Orczy, Orson Scott Card, Cornelius Ryan, Laura Hillenbrand, Jeanne Birdsall, and Frances Hodgeson Burnett.