We’ve covered a lot of ground on the weekly You Tell Me. We’ve talked about the future of e-books, whether reviews matter, how you like to write, and whether Justin Bobby will someday find it in his heart to forgive Lo for calling him Justin Bobby (ok, well, we didn’t talk about that one, but only because I restrained myself. Which wasn’t easy.)
So, now that the blog is back (no, really this time), I thought I would ask quite possibly the hardest, most difficult, most agonizing You Tell Me OF ALL TIME.
Brace yourself. Are you ready? It’s going to be tough. I bet you’re dying to know what the question is going to be. Oh, er, I guess you already know what I’m going to ask because of the subject line. Curse you, subject line!!! Curse you!!!! Ahem.
So You Tell Me: Who is your favorite author of all time? Whose body of work do you wish was yours? Who makes you throw away the pen because you could never hope to write as well so you might as well just give up (only to pick it up again because writing is kinda fun)? And remember, you can only pick one!
My favorite novel is MOBY DICK, but when we’re talking body of work, as much as I love THE CONFIDENCE MAN and TYPEE, I’d have to go with William Faulkner (sorry, Ghost of Herman Melville! You can stop haunting me now! You were on some boats, I get it!).
What about you?
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Troy Masters says
Well, I have to represent my boy Fyodor…I even recall a Lost episode where one of the characters was talking about how Hemingway was depressed he could never be as great as Dostoevsky. Brothers Karamazov and The Idiot were my two favorites, but I enjoyed pretty much all his stuff(with the exception of The Gambler and the first portion of Notes from the Underground). I also wouldn’t mind having Thomas Hardy’s or (more recently) John Le Carre’s body of work…
Dave Wood says
Oh, unfair question! Unfair!
There are so many great books and more than a few great writers. But one author I keep coming back to is Roger Zelazny. I reread “Lord of Light” every five years or so. Great world-building and world-bending, characters that are both archetypes and people. Great word-smithing. It probably just happened to catch me at exactly the right time in my life (junior high when I was really discovering reading) but it’s stuck with me ever since, and he’s one of the authors I go to when I feel like my own writing is a slog.
Ken D. says
JRR Tolkien, if I had to pick just one. His imagination took me farther than anyone else, and as I get older, it gets deeper with every reading.
Body of work — the other “RR” (George M.) is a blast.
All too easy… It’s HG Wells. Straight up Victorian genius.
David L. McAfee says
I have to pick two, but it’s not cheating because they write as a team:
Margaret Weis and Tracey Hickman. Their Death Gate Cycle remains my favorite story of all time.
Tough one… For me it’s a toss up between Hunter S. Thompson and John Steinbeck. (And if I had to go with twisted nonfiction, John Perkins.)
Dr. Dume says
Ray Bradbury tops my list. The easy menace in his descriptions, especially in the collection ‘The October Country’, are something I keep trying (and failing) to emulate.
Tom Burchfield says
A hard question, but I’m going to say (without even having read ALL his work) . . . Vladimir Nabokov.
Some runners up:
I will have to say,
Australian writer May Gibbs because of her Snuggle Pot and Cuddle Pie books.
I wish I could write like Jasper Fforde though. Thursday Nexts books are pants wettingly funny.
Oh man do I hate Toni Morrison.
Stephanie Zvan says
I’m with Kimber An on L.M. Montgomery. James Schmitz started me writing, but Montgomery is where I turn when I’m too tired for something new. If I could have Anne and Rilla and Jane and Emily and Valancy (and their enchanted readers) under my belt, if I could write the same sordid events without sensationalism, if I could make my hometown a major industry for my state, well, I would have accomplished something.
Well, I’ve gotta say Isaac Asimov would be my top choice. I won’t say he didn’t have his flubs, but with nearly (or over, depending upon who your source is) 500 books, a few flubs shouldn’t overwhelm the massive body of work across many genre. (While the whole ‘he was trying for a book in every part of the Dewey Decimal System’ was an urban legend, he is pretty far spread there)
I’d love to have a career like his, if I can only avoid the contaminated blood transfusion with incurable lethal virus thing….
Kim Stagliano says
Carson McCullers. Boom goes the dynamite.
Tough to say who my favorite of all time is, as that seems to change – and it depends on my mood.
As for body of work? I think Phoenix is onto something:
She’s not my favorite author, nor does she make me throw my laptop against the wall because she’s an incredible writer. But I do wish her body of work were mine. Novels, filk songs, toy lines. If I could midlist and headline cons like her, I’d be doing the happy dance daily.
Say what you want, but Mercedes Lackey has come out with a lot of stuff, a lot of it good. Two of her books made me shed a tear (in a good way, if that’s possible), a couple of others cracked me up, one I started and haven’t gotten through as yet. I read her first 3 Valdemar novels and was surprised at how delighted I was with them. (IMHO, they’re great on long plane rides. :-))
But, damn, she can really get them out there, and she doesn’t seem to mind having a co-author.
So, yeah, what Phoenix. I’d be as happy as a pig in poop. 😉
Wow. 76 comments and only 3 people mention William Shakespeare?!!!
I think the problem was that a lot of people were force fed Shakespeare in high school (like I was) without really understanding his turn of phrase. “You will learn, Shakespeare, dagnabbit, or else!” seemed to be the mantra.
At least when I was in high school, anyway.