One of the many questions I'm asked as an aspiring author is to list my favorite books and authors. You'd think that would be easy, and sure, I have a few right off the top. Coming up with a list of actual titles and author names, though, that's harder. Why? I love reading, period. I love getting so lost in a book's story that I completely forget it's a book at all. Those are the novels and series I absolutely love. There's also a catch 22 for those kind of stories: I get lost in the world the author built, so much that I forget it's a book with an author. A real person who took the time to write, draft, edit, proof, edit again (and again), and publish their masterpiece for the countless readers of the world to enjoy.
Perhaps it's a mental thing or just the love of a good literary work that I can lose myself within the chapters. The utter joy of building a close bond, a kinship of empathy between me and the characters on the pages that makes my brain fritz out. But at the end of the day, I can recount the wonderous adventures and the deep emotions that welled up during those difficult scenes. Just don't ask me to give a business presentation on my top 10 favorite authors' works and why.
In my humble opinion, that is the entire reason these wonderful sages of the written word do what they do so well: They craft a compelling story so real and touching that it draws their readers into a new world. It allows them to forget, for a short time, the mundane stress and troubles of their reality. Whisking them away into the realm of imagination and miracles. At the end of the day, the writers who provide that type of portal through their books are the ones I gravitate towards. It's the same type of writing I enjoy with my own stories.
Still the question has been asked many times, and will likely continue to be asked. SO! For now, here are a few of my 'favs' and why. When possible I have tried to add a link to where you can check them out yourself.
Little House on the Prairie series, by Laura Ingalls Wilder. (Click here for the official website.) Growing up, I absolutely loved this series not just for the descriptive writing style that drew me into the story, but for the pictures. Laura's stories of her past drew me into a world of natural beauty and pioneer life.
As a person with mild dyslexia, I found that it was easier for me to either listen to a book-on-tape or enjoy books with pictures. The images peppered in each chapter would help me make sense of the words and give me a better context for the scenes. As I started writing, I found that I wanted to emulate this type of writing, making sure to have at least one image in each of my chapters for my own readers to enjoy.
The Chronicles of Narnia, by C.S. Lewis. (Series website here.) Another wonderful series of books that draws you into another world with wonderful characters and mystical details. Once again, I was drawn to the series after a while, when I discovered the pictures within each of the chapters helping to complete the story in my mind.
Thanks to this series, I found myself developing a wonderful friendship with characters that I could relate to in one way or another. Being introverted and a huge book 'nerd' meant that a lot of my free time in school was spent inside a book. There I could escape the bullies, the loud and overcrowded hallways, and find someone I could relate to. Characters I didn't have to explain myself to, I could just be me, and that was ok.
Eragon and the Inheritance Cycle series, by Christopher Paolini. (Author's website here.) As an adult, I continued to enjoy the fantasy genre with another wonderful series that spun tales of dragons, magic, and acceptance of differences. At least that's what I drew from the pages that I fell into. The author's descriptions are so thorough that I could enjoy racing along side the characters through the fields, or flying on the back of dragons with the wind in my face. By this time, I had learned to 'deal with' my dyslexia and found this series not too terribly daunting mentally.
The Anita Blake: Vampire Hunter series, by Laurell K. Hamilton. (Author's website here.) This "grown up" murder mystery book delves into the darker world of vampires, werewolves and solving mysteries. The collections of stories were both fascinating and frightening as it pulled me into the shadows. This was a wonderful series to enjoy in the fall and winter months with a warm blanket and cup of coco.
A more recent book I enjoyed was departure from the usual fantasy genre and into a quick weekend murder mystery. Nothing Like a Pool Party: The Tuxedo Cat Mysteries, by Jennifer M. Baldwin. (Author's page on Goodreads, here.) For those in the Midwest of the US, this is a local author that I have the honor of knowing. Her book takes a different approach to the typical murder mystery by not having a young, fit, and sexy woman or man in the lead role. In Pool Party we find a middle-aged woman and her cat, trying to live a simple life when "life" dumps on them, again. I found it refreshing and a nice quick weekend read. You can also get the audio book version on Audible.
There are so many, many more books but these are the ones that I could grab from the top of my head, and actually remember the authors, too. The characters in almost every book I read are memorable and their stories are so very rich and inviting. Other additions to my favs list would be some of the foundational masterpieces from our past, such as William Shakespeare, Aesop, Plato. Countless myths, legends, and mythology of various cultures around the globe such as Greeks, Romans, Norse, Egyptians. Wonderful stories and tales from African, Mayan, and Native American societies. It isn't so much the author's name that draws me into reading one book or another, it's the stories they weave into another world for me to visit and explore. There are plenty of other books to read, and like any good book nerd, I have a stack of plan-to-reads. I don't think I will ever stop wanting to read. It's simply too hard to narrow down which ones are my favorites when I love each and every book. Including the next one I haven't discovered, yet!