Five Authors I Adore (and why)
Hey, guess what. MY BOOK IS OUT TODAY! Yes, that’s right. May 24th is the official release of With or Without You. So it’s extra special to be spending today on Mariah’s blog and discussing writers I adore.
I always feel uncomfortable singling out favorite authors. I don’t know why. Possibly because I love so many writers that I feel like a parent singling out a favorite child. I think the ones that inevitably become the ones I discuss when pressed are those that I can genuinely say I’ve learned from. Or that I hope to learn from, after more study.
So here, in no particular order, are a few authors whose work I admire and learn from:
When writers ask me for book recommendations, the first title I say is “Kit’s Wilderness by David Almond.” I know his book Skellig may be slightly more well known and loved but Kit’s Wilderness blew me away. I call it a “technically perfect” novel. Almond doesn’t waste a single word. He uses each and every one to create a very intricate, delicate structure. Everything—everything—links to emphasize theme, character, and atmosphere. His minimalist language never ceases to amaze me.
Picking up the first Bartimaeus book was, in many ways for me, a revelation. There, on the pages, was this voice. This remarkable, wonderful, funny, sarcastic voice. Something I’d never really seen in a book for kids. And it just wasn’t the first person sections told by Bartimaeus. It was everything. This very authoritative voice that commanded my attention. It’s just a treat when an author says to me, quietly, “Pay attention now.” That’s what Stroud does to me.
At the risk of appearing to jump on a very popular bandwagon, I really do love Rowling’s work. She’s very good at emotional manipulation. You love the characters you’re supposed to love and hate the characters you’re supposed to hate. But she doesn’t back away from ambiguity. There are several characters she’s created that you’re supposed to feel conflicted about. Those, I think, are some of the hardest to create and she does it with a great amount of skill.
Once a year, every year, I re-read Raskin’s The Westing Game. She’s known for many great books but this is the one that really grabbed my imagination as a kid. The plot is masterful and I say that as someone who doesn’t typically get into mysteries. Raskin’s really terrific with balance. You get just the right amounts of character and plot and pacing. Each time I finish, I feel fully satisfied, like after a gourmet meal.
Andrew is fairly recent discovery for me. I read The Marbury Lens and then immediately ran out and bought his other books. And now I’m anxiously awaiting the publication of his new book, Stick. Marbury Lens shook me up and left me feeling uncomfortable, paranoid, and strangely eager to return to the unsettling world he was creating. He’s one of those writers where I finish his work and ask myself, “How did he do that?” I hope that if I keep reading him, I’ll figure it out one of these days.
So, those are the authors I adore. Now, if you’ll allow me one quick plug: check out my blog (link below) on May 24 (today-ish) for a couple contests: one specifically for writers, the other for voracious readers, both with awesome prizes!
Brian Farrey’s debut YA novel, WITH OR WITHOUT YOU, will be published May 24 by Simon Pulse. He tweets @BrianFarrey and he blogs at www.brianfarreybooks.com/wordpress.
Thanks for coming Brian and happy book birthday!