Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature/meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week’s topic is Top Ten Things I Love/Hate About Romance in Books.
I find posts like this one nearly impossible. How on earth do I pick just ten of the authors whose books I love? Oh, well, I’ll give it a try. Here goes. . .
All of these are authors I have re-read multiple times and loved for many years.
- J. R. R. Tolkien. If C. S. Lewis and Lloyd Alexander kindled my love for fantasy, Tolkien solidified it into a lifelong obsession, and set a very high bar for both worldbuilding and epic fantasy in the process. For years, I measured every fantasy book I read against The Lord of the Rings, and re-read the books almost twice a year from the summer after fifth grade until I was in my early thirties. I still reread LOTR every few years.
- Dorothy Sayers. Witty, erudite, and perfectly plotted, the Lord Peter Wimsey series is also remarkable for the character arc of its hero. Though he is not, even in the first book, as fatuous and superficial as he pretends to be, over the course of the series his character deepens and he deliberately strips away much of the pretense.
- Laurie R. King. I love her Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes series as much for the intelligent writing as for the characters themselves.
- Tamora Pierce. Her YA fantasy is wonderful: well-written, and it features heroines with brains, strength of will, and agency.
- Mercedes Lackey. It’s true that her recent books haven’t been as well-crafted and gripping as those she wrote in the 80s, 90s, and early 2000s, but at her best, Lackey is a true storyteller – and her books and characters have helped shaped my worldview.
- L. M. Montgomery. I’ve read almost all her books, and loved most of them, but it’s Anne of Green Gables and its sequels that first won my heart.
- Elizabeth Goudge. Goudge’s books have a special place in my heart, both for the charm and magic of her children’s books and for the strong sense of a creative force for good, an optimism rooted in her Anglican faith, that lies at the heart of her adult books.
- Robin McKinley. Her fantasy is enthralling and often beautifully written, and I never get tired of her books.
- Mary Stewart. Her romantic suspense introduced me to the genre and remain among my favorites, but her Arthurian novels completely captivated me; after reading them, I started seeking out Arthurian fiction and scholarship wherever I could find it.
- Anne McCaffrey. I’m not sure I can count how many times I’ve read the Pern books and the Talent books. There’s something about McCaffrey’s characters and worlds that really speaks to me.
- Madeleine L’Engle. Her fantasy was a mainstay of my middle- and high-school years (and I still re-read the Time trilogy – yes, I know it’s a quintet now.) Her nonfiction, both autobiographical and theological, influenced me deeply in my 20s and 30s.
ETA: J. K. Rowling. [facepalm] How did I manage to forget J. K. Rowling?! She definitely belongs on this list.
To show you how hard this list was to narrow down, here are the authors who were contending for the last few spaces on the list and just barely didn’t make the cut – by genre, in alphabetical order:
Fantasy & SF: David Eddings, Katherine Kurtz, Patrick Rothfuss (he only missed out because I haven’t been reading him for very long – his writing is amazing!)
Mystery: Catherine Aird, Agatha Christie, Dick Francis, Ngaio Marsh, Ellis Peters, Josephine Tey
Romance & Romantic Suspense: Mary Balogh, Robyn Carr, Lisa Kleypas, Mary Jo Putney
General fiction: Rosamund Pilcher
Children’s books: Louisa May Alcott, Lloyd Alexander, L. M. Boston, Frances Hodgson Burnett, Susan Cooper, Elizabeth Enright, C. S. Lewis, Elizabeth Marie Pope, Noel Streatfeild
And I’m sure I’ve left off some other authors I love, as well as several authors I’ve only discovered in the last 5 years or so.
So who are your favorite authors? Tell me in the comments, or leave me a link to your Top Ten Tuesday post (or both!)