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My favorite author is Henry David Thereau. I love Civil Disobedience. My favorite quotes are as follows:
I heartily accept the motto, "That government is best which governs least"; and I should like to see it acted up to more rapidly and systematically. Carried out, it finally amounts to this, which also I believe--"That government is best which governs not at all"; and when men are prepared for it, that will be the kind of government which the will have.
Under a government which imprisons unjustly, the true place for a just man is also a prison.
"That virtue we appreciate is as much ours as another's. We see so much only as we possess." - Henry David Thoreau
Stephen King is my all time favorite. He can bring characters to life in a single page.
Next would be JK Rowling for the same reason. Her characters are so real you find yourself expecting to meet them.
Terry Goodkind writes an exciting tale and V.C. Andrews does as well though I don't care for the subjects too much.
Poe is on my read list and who can resist Zane Grey?
That is my top list. I could add pages of books I choose because of the author rather than the title but I will stop there.
I collect firsts in fiction by:
Robert B. Parker
Nick Tosches (plus non-fiction, no matter the subject. If Nick writes it, it is good!)
And more... Even J.T. LeRoy under any name!!!
Some like novelists. As the list makes clear, I prefer storytellers. Rather like movies, if the literary type critics simply love it, I will hate it. I wonder how many actually read Phillip Roth and other novelists. The books might be bought and placed out where all can see, but...
There are "private librarians" now who set up libraries for celebs. Leather binding, of course. Imagine just saying to someone - "Here is $x - go out and get me a library that looks nice". In such a place, I would probably hunt for hours to find something to read!
I used to wonder how manty actually read "1914" or "The Gulag Archipeligo" of the thousands sold.
But just to add something to the discussion, i'll say that kurt vonnegut is another faovrite of mine. he had an honest, powerful voice and he also had the most venomous tongue since Twain.
I love all of these authors an many more for different reasons. Each appeal to my various tastes. In regards to Austen, if you've never read Pride and Prejudice, do so. It is insightful, funny, smart, and just very enjoyable.
Toni Morrisson has a Nobel Prize for a reason. her stories are beautiful and lyrically complelling, without being insistent. I can't even pick my favorite of hers, but The Bluest Eye was the one that touched me first.
Chuck Palahunick is a twisted crazy son of a bitch. The things that go through his head and make it into his novels are things you can't even think of- the twists- try Invisible Monsters.
ANd of course, being a lit. major, I have to love Shakespeare. He is the original ganster.
In addition, I like Kerouac for his amazing On the Road.
I also like some random authors such as Dickens, Khayyam, Bates, and Dostoeyvksy.
I'll name Ayn Rand first since I've already mentioned her before in a post somewhere else on the board. I always enjoy reading her descriptions, her characters, and her thoughts.
Another one is Matthew Pearl. If no one knows who he is, he is basically a historical mystery writer. His first novel, The Dante Club, is a novel about a series of murders based on Dante's Inferno and the actual Dante Club, headed by Longfellow, have to solve the mystery first so that the police will not suspect them since they are the only ones who knows of the Inferno. The second is The Poe Shadow...a novel based on the mysterious death of Poe and a young attorney trying to discover the truth. He actually did some heavy research into it all so he could use things for the novel.
Another would be Isaac Asimov. I'm not very fond of Science Fiction...but something about Asimov kept me clinging.
The next would be Alexandre Dumas...Primarily The Count of Monte Cristo. It is possibly my favorite book of all time...or at least right up there with Atlas Shrugged.
Finally, but not least...Dante Alighieri. I fell in love with Dante when I was 13 and haven't been able to stop reading him yet. I have 3 translations of the Divine Comedy and four translations of the Inferno. He is probably my favorite of all. Not only his writings, but his life and the world he also opened up for me.
Then of course, S.E. Hinton is a classic writer of The Outsiders which was indeed a wonderful book. But I was more captivated by her book, That was Then This is Now. It caught me when I was 12 years old and I stayed up all night reading it. My teacher had suggested it and then when I went to her class ready to fall asleep she actually understood why. It made me laugh and not to mention made me cry my eyes out.
Oh I've gone blank!
Nabakov because how can a person write so fluidly in a language that is not even his native tongue? I forgive him for thinking that women can't write.
Tolkien and C.S. Lewis because their works filled my imagination at a young age and therefore influenced my entire life.