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.
- 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.
- Margaret Atwood - Top 3: The Blind Assassin; The Handmaid's Tale; and Alias Grace. Add Moral Disorder and call it an even 4.
- Louise Penny - start with the first in the Chief Inspector Gamache series, Still Life.
- Jacqueline Winspear - Maisie Dobbs novels. Maisie is my soul mate.
- Janet Evanovich - a bit lowbrow? I love all kinds of books and Stephanie Plum is crazy funny.
- Jon Katz - all the dog books and the Suburban Detective series.
- Sarah Dunant - several historical fiction novels (love, love, love); the Hannah Wolfe detective series; and Mapping the Edge.
- Charlotte Bronte - Jane Eyre, hello!
- 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.
- Marion Keyes - Chic lit? Why, yes, yes I do. It's Ireland for Pete's sake.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Alice Walker - The Color Purple; Possessing the Secret of Joy; Meridian; and The Temple of my Familiar.
- Toni Morrison - I read all of her books, up until Paradise, at which time I had to stop. Her books haunt me.
- Gloria Naylor - Mama Day and Bailey's Café are my favorites.
- Barbara Kingsolver - The Poisonwood Bible; Prodigal Summer; and of course, Animal Vegetable, Miracle. High Tide in Tucson is a good one, too.
- 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."
- 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.
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