"....few things leave a deeper mark on a reader than the first book that finds its way into [her] heart. Those first images, the echo of words we think we have left behind, accompany us throughout our lives and sculpt a palace in our memories to which, sooner or later - no matter how many books we read, how many worlds we discover or how much we learn or forget - we will return." -Carlos Ruiz Zafon, The Shadow of the Wind

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Huff's summer reading

Now that I am home, full-time, with an infant and a three year old, I have precious little time to read. We are on holiday for the summer - and so is my reading. Hence, my lack of posts on Huff Reads Stuff. I still think about books, like, all the time, though. So, I thought I'd talk about some of my favorites and readers can take them or leave them as suggestions for something to read this summer.

Compiling this list felt monumental.  For me, reading is an experience that I find difficult to describe (and yet I created a blog about it?). Each book I read changes me, or maybe helps me become who I am. I experience the place, time and characters in the book as if I am there. At times it is so intense, that it's a bit scary. I often go back over and over again, to visit what I felt as I read a book, both in dreams and in dreamier waking moments.

So, this is not simply a list to me, it is a reckoning; a walk through my past.

Okay enough blah, blah, blah.  I present to you Huff''s 19 favorite authors (I'm sure after I post this, I'll think of several more, so I reserve the write to edit):

They are in no particular order. For me, trying to put books in order of favorites would be like listing which child I like best - totally not cool. I also had a little trouble narrowing it down to specific books, so instead of dithering, I decided to just get something down and start with authors.
  1. Walter Mosley - Series: The Easy Rawlins Mystery series - Black Betty is a good place to start; the Socrates Fortlow series - Always Outnumbered, Always Outgunned is my favorite; the Fearless Jones series; and the Leonid McGill series. Non-series: The Man in my Basement; Fortunate Son; and The Last Days of Ptolemy Gray. Do not, I repeat, do not, read his Science Fiction, nor his Erotica.
  2. Margaret Atwood - Top 3: The Blind Assassin; The Handmaid's Tale; and Alias Grace. Add Moral Disorder and call it an even 4.
  3. Louise Penny - start with the first in the Chief Inspector Gamache series, Still Life.
  4. Jacqueline Winspear - Maisie Dobbs novels. Maisie is my soul mate.
  5. Janet Evanovich - a bit lowbrow? I love all kinds of books and Stephanie Plum is crazy funny.
  6. Jon Katz - all the dog books and the Suburban Detective series.
  7. Sarah Dunant - several historical fiction novels (love, love, love); the Hannah Wolfe detective series; and Mapping the Edge.
  8. Charlotte Bronte - Jane Eyre, hello!
  9. Carlos Ruiz Zafon - Shadow of the Wind is his best, but they all put me smack dab in the middle of Barcelona pre-World War II. I literally walked the streets with Daniel. These books helped me appreciate that plot isn't everything. I enjoyed being inside it, regardless of what was happening.
  10. Marion Keyes - Chic lit? Why, yes, yes I do. It's Ireland for Pete's sake.
  11. Alexander McCall Smith - No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency series; Isabel Dalhousie series; and Corduroy Mansions series.  I don't care for the 44 Scotland Street series, and I'm lukewarm about the Portuguese Irregular Verbs series.
  12. Philippa Gregory - The Other Boleyn Sister has the most common appeal. I love the others too, but they may be a bit Anglophile for some. I have an unnatural obsession with the courts of Henry VIII, most likely due to past life stuff.
  13. Marge Piercy - In college, the budding feminist in me could not get enough of her. I've read many of her books, my favorites are Gone to Soldiers and Sex Wars.
  14. Alice Walker - The Color Purple; Possessing the Secret of Joy; Meridian; and The Temple of my Familiar.
  15. Toni Morrison - I read all of her books, up until Paradise, at which time I had to stop. Her books haunt me.
  16. Gloria Naylor - Mama Day and Bailey's Café are my favorites.
  17. Barbara Kingsolver - The Poisonwood Bible; Prodigal Summer; and of course, Animal Vegetable, Miracle.  High Tide in Tucson is a good one, too.
  18. John Mortimer - The Rumpole series; Felix in the Underworld; and Quite Honestly, because it is the only book I've ever read that starts with the letter "Q."
  19. Edith Wharton - House of Mirth started it off for me and Mrs. Wharton. I also love The Custom of the Country and The Age of Innocence.  Edith Wharton herself is as fascinating a character as any in her novels.
I would love to hear about your favorite authors, so please comment away!

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