Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme from a favorite blog of mine: The Broke and The Bookish. This week's question asks bloggers, and readers alike, to name their top ten favorite authors. It's tough, but I think I can manage...
Here are mine in no particular order:
- Nicole Krauss- A few years ago I picked up a copy of Nicole Krauss's The History of Love. While innocently skimming the first chapter, I suddenly found that I could not put it down. Krauss's novel expresses the joys and heartache of the human condition, breathing such depth into characters that made me laugh and cry. I'm currently reading her latest novel, Great House, and am already overwhelmed by her brilliance.
- Leo Tolstoy- Having once held an obsession for all things Russian, there was a period in which I read nothing but Tolstoy's works of fiction. And if you've read Tolstoy's fiction, you know it's time consuming. Anna Karenina may be one of his best known titles, and should be, as the superfluity of such banal repetitions of everyday life provide a realism that begs character attachment from readers. Tolstoy also offers glimpses into the landscape of a growing and changing Russia, and the politics of the time. It's great social commentary, to say the least. The Death of Ivan Ilyich is another of my favorite reads.
- Gustave Flaubert- What can I say? Madame Bovary was more entertaining than I ever thought it could be. The narrator's tone in the beginning of the novel reminds me of the narration in the film Amelie. His precise way of naming situations, without providing too many details, gets to the point, and carries an air of wit, to boot. I've yet to read his rants and raves during his travels throughout North Africa, and not sure I'll ever make that endeavor.
- Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.- I've read so many of his novels, and while many address recurring themes or characterizations, Vonnegut's imagination doesn't cease to amaze me. Initially, I disliked his characters, finding them absorbed, and generally lacking a unique voice; however, after finding more of his work, I found that his stories always contained symbolism in some form that completely transformed my method of observing the world. There's so much underlying currency in such a dream-filled abyss.
- Margaret Atwood- I had the opportunity to see Margaret Atwood speak at Emory University a few years back. She was witty and passionate, and these attributes made me enjoy her work even more. I had inadvertantly found myself an abandoned copy of Oryx and Crake in a closet in a house my friends and I had rented. Initially shocked by the suggestions of the dystopic world Oryx and Crake inhabited, I knew I had to find more of Atwood's work. I found The Handmaid's Tale to be just as shocking. I laughed and cried and loved Cat's Eye. I am currently working on finishing her newest title: The Year of the Flood. I would also like to note that her poetry is especially moving. Seriously, get a copy of anything she's ever written, you won't be disappointed!
- Edith Wharton- Edith Wharton's imagery sparks images in my mind that no author's work could match. Her ability to use natural landscapes to completely create the tone of a work simply amazes me. In addition, she was such a strong female presence for her time, and I respect that greatly.
- Voltaire- Voltaire's Candide made my sides split from laughter. Many people just stare at me, mouths gaped open when I admit this, but it's true. I couldn't help but laugh at the absurdities of Candide's situation. Candide embodies a mouthpiece for Voltaire, expressing frustrations with the society that surrounded him. Candide's naivete amused me more than it should have. Furthermore, I just happen to share a birthday with this particular man of genius!
- Jefferey Eugenides- I just recently finished Middlesex and loved it. I added him to the list because I felt that his other work must be just as enjoyable.
- Alain de Botton- Alain de Botton's work is mostly non-fiction, but his insight and philosophical debate is refreshing and eye-opening. I read The Art of Travel and had a much different understanding of the reasons why people travel, and the ways in which individuals conceptualize the act of travel and all that accompanies the process. His inclusion of philosophical references, in comparison to everyday acts of life, such as travel, elucidate concepts that may be difficult to understand otherwise.
- John Kennedy Toole- Toole's life ended before readers came to adore his novel The Confederacy of Dunces. This dark comedy explores some of the social aspects of living in Louisiana in the 1960s. Furthermore, Toole's lead, Ignatius Reilly, is a character everyone loves to hate.
There are so many other great works of literature by brilliant writers that I've wholeheartedly enjoyed, but these are the first that came to mind. What are your thoughts? Share any favorites of mine?