I started rereading “Slaughterhouse-Five.” Among other things, reading Vonnegut again got me thinking about my favorite authors. What’s your top 5?
So here is my All Time Top 5 Favorite Authors (a Rob Gordon tribute): in no particular order…
5. Salman Rushdie: His stories read like a storyteller is sitting across from you, telling you the story. It’s not typically something I enjoy, but he does it in a way that gets my heart pumping the way Hunger Games did for many others.
He writes pithy commentary in his pieces, takes on challenging topics, and still manages a certain sense of lightheartedness that most can’t master the way he has.
4. Kurt Vonnegut: A bit of a safe choice, you might say. But let me say this. Vonnegut does more for satire than John Stewart and Stephen Colbert together! Not only that, he does it in a way that makes you wonder if he’s being serious or not.
To be fair, and to maintain my hipster card, Timequake is my favorite Vonnegut book. Why? Because it’s an autobiography that’s also a work of fiction. In a last ditch effort, Vonnegut gave a final middle finger to EVERY human that read his book with any expectations about getting to know him intimately. Kudos, Vonnegut.
3. Haruki Murakami: As the name suggests, Murakami is a Japanese author. I never would have picked up his books if my wife hadn’t thrown “Wind-up Bird Chronicle” at me yelling, “This is how you have to write!” Perplexed, and a little tender in the arm from the book, I read the back cover.
The story? A middle aged man goes looking for his lost cat. Yup. Can you figure out how UNimpressed I was at this point? Problem is, even after reading it (and loving it), I can’t tell you anything more about the book than it’s about a middle aged man looking for his wife’s missing cat.
But what I can tell you is that he makes you FEEL the character and feel LIKE the character rather than feel FOR the character. I honestly can’t explain how he does this either. That’s the part that pisses me off the most. I am an active reader and dissect everything I read. Still, what works about his stories escapes me.
2. Jeff Lindsay: This is the one modern, popular fiction author I will give props to. And mad props at that. Yes, on it’s face, the Dexter series is a horror/thriller series of a serial killer who kills serial killers. But, if you want to understand human nature, you’ll never get a better look at the human psyche than through the eyes of a character that claims not to get humans at all. I think Jeff Lindsay was a therapist in a past life.
1. Jose Saramago: Everyone that hears me say Jose Saramago asks “Who?” Those who I’ve convinced to read Saramago, have come back begging for 5 hours of their life back. They claim he tells, preaches, and just doesn’t write well.
Truth is, Saramago gets politics and sociology better than any author I’ve ever read. He does it in painful way too. His sentences are longer than the day is long, he refuses to use proper names, and quotation marks are out of the question. All of this is done for a reason. It slows you down. He wants you to sit there and contemplate every word. Each word is absolutely necessary and meaningful.
However, I don’t recommend Saramago to any reader. If you read books for their fast-paces, action packed, bubble gum, horseshit, you’ll stop several pages in wondering how Saramago got published. Not all books are meant to be The Avengers. Some are meant to be meaningful works of fiction.
What’s your top 5 favorite authors? And why?