Sometimes on Friday* I review a book, but this week I thought I would just tell you about my five favourite (fiction) authors: the five whose books I read over, and over again, till I can quote whole passages, the five whose thoughts influence the way I think, and whose writing style is reflected in my own writing style.
I can’t tell you which of the five is my favourite (far too hard to choose!). I depends on my mood, what I had for breakfast, and the direction of the wind. So here they are in alphabetical order by first name.
- Armine von Tempski – like me, Armine is a Caucasian child born in Hawaii, and she writes of her childhood in the islands, a century before mine. Her writings vividly evoke the Hawaii of her time; the lush grandeur of nature, the delicate politics in the years after the annexation, the amazing mix of cultures that would give Hawaii its distinct multicultural feel, and finally, the larger than life characters she was priviledged to know and hear of. She writes of her father, the son of Gustavus von Tempsky of New Zealand fame, of King Kalakaua, of Helen of Honolulu ‘The Mary Magdalene of the Pacific’, of Jack London, of princesses, and most importantly, of her paniolo Makalii. Her books make me laugh, and cry, and, well, cry some more, because I feel so very, very homesick reading them. Most of her books are rare and out of print, but I own a first edition of her autobiography ‘Born in Paradise’ that I picked up at a library clear out in California. It’s ex-military library, and I love thinking of some soldier stationed in Hawaii during WWII reading it.
- L.M. Mongtomery - Yes. I’m an Anne fan. No surprise there! In fact, I’m just a plain old anything LM fan. I have read every single one of her published works. More than once. I love the writing, the descriptions, the fact that she managed to slip in a male hero who got excited about the first violets of spring and was still manly, and we believedit. I’m just starting to build a collection of Montgomery books- I’ve held off because of moving and lack of space. But isn’t my edition of Anne of the Islands darling?
- Robin McKinley - Have you ever noticed how much I love to use parenthesis? Yes. That’s Robin McKinley’s fault. I love her writing. The rich detail she works into all her stories, the extraneous details that make her world real and complete. Her imagination. Oh, my goodness, her imagination! How does she think of all those things! I love them all (even Deerskin, though I never want to read it again), but Thimble’s End, her retelling of Sleeping Beauty, is probably my favourite.
- Stella Gibbons – My love of Stella’s works is based entirely on one novel. Cold Comfort Farm is so brilliant that it immediately launched Stella on to the list. I’ve only managed to read one of her other works, and it wasn’t quite as good. But, oh, Cold Comfort Farm! It’s so, so brilliant. It’s a clever, witty send up of English pastoral novels (you know the ones: ancient family curses, people who can’t escape their fate, extremely dramatic, ‘loam and lovechild’ etc etc), and its heroine, Flora Poste, would be my best friend. She fixes things.
- Terry Pratchett – You probably already know I love Terry Pratchett. I’m making a dress inspired by a Terry Pratchett character. Every time I have to fly I buy a Pratchett novel to entertain me on the flight. It almost makes up for the ignominy of being shoved into a metal can and told to be happy. Pratchett is brilliant, and inventive, and every one of his books make you think about the world, and how it operates. I cried like a baby when I found out he is dying. My world has expanded so much because of his work.
So those are the authors that I love most. One man, four women. The deceased, two living. Two fantasy, one sometimes vaguely futuristic, two romantically realistic.
Are any of these your favourites? Any authors I should read based on liking these? Have you read any of these and are now dreadfully appalled that I should have the bad taste to like them?
*And yes, it is Saturday in NZ, but I wrote this post on Friday, and it’s Friday somewhere, so I think this should qualify.**
**Also, did you notice my little nod to Pratchett here?