Last week, I asked you about your favorite poets. So, this week, it seemed like a good idea to ask:
Who are your favorite novelists?
Here are a few of mine. Note: to limit my list, I’ve left off a few writers who seem to be on everyone’s favorite novelist list. I’ve also tried to identify writers whom I will read, no matter what they write. That is, if they have a new book out, I’m buying it and reading it, no questions asked.
Michael Chabon: If you’ve only read his famously precocious debut novel, Wonder Boys, you’ve really missed his remarkable development as a writer. Chabon has embraced two aspects of his own personal identity – his Jewishness and his love for “genre” fiction – to create a series of novels that delve into the experience of American life through the lens of various genres. See my review of The Yiddish Policemen’s Union for more.
Wallce Stegner: I’m not sure if someone with the literary pedigree of Stegner can really be called “underrated,” but I hear his name mentioned much less often than other writers of his generation when great American novelists are being named off. In terms of pure writing, I’ve not encountered anyone who can write character and setting like Stegner.
Ursula K. Le Guin: Le Guin’s “soft” science fiction gets to the very reasons I enjoy science fiction & fantasy – she uses speculation to explore what it means to be human. Only in the past couple of years have a realized how much I enjoy her novels.
Robert V. S. Redick: A new writer, with only three published novels so far, Redick has written what I’ve called my favorite contemporary fantasy series. (Since then, Game of Thrones may have displaced it, but it’s still number two.) Redick’s writing is good, and he avoids many of the common tropes one finds in fantasy.
Enough about my tastes. Who are YOUR favorite novelists?
About the author:
The former Associate Director for the Emerging Scholars Network, Micheal lives in Cincinnati with his wife and three children and works as a web manager for a national storage and organization company. He writes about work, vocation, and finding meaning in what you do at No Small Actors.
S.J. Parris has started a series of mysteries with Giordano Bruno, the “heretic” from history, on the run from his lapsed Catholicism. Fleeing to England during the time when the Crown was purging England of Catholics, Bruno arrives in Oxford where he is invited to remain for a series of lectures. The faculty begin to die and he beoomes wrapped up in the intrigue. Oxford dons being murdered along the lines of the deaths described in Foxe’s Book of Martyrs. What more could you ask for? Her rendering of the culture of Oxford and England at the time are spot on. She’s penned a follow up with Bruno returning to the continent but I haven’t read it.
Probably LeGuin, C.J. Cherryh, Terry Pratchett, and Neil Gaiman, though lately I’ve been discovering why some of the classics are classics – getting into Dickens and F.Scott Fitzgerald, among others.
Tom Grosh IV says
Off the top of my head C.S. Lewis (especially the Ransom Trilogy), J.R.R. Tolkien, Charles Williams, David C. Downing’s “Looking for the King: An Inklings Novel) and John Bunyan come to mind. I should give another try to Geoffrey Chaucer, Fyodor Dostoevsky and Miguel de Cervantes.
My wife has really appreciated Marilynne Robinson (who was highlighted on the FB wall responses. Related: Bobby Gross, director of InterVarsity’s Graduate & Faculty Ministry, commended Robinson’s “Absence of Mind: The Dispelling of Inwardness from the Modern Myth of the Self” (The Terry Lectures Series) to the staff team. I’m also very interested in reading her “When I Was a Child I Read Books: Essays.”
I will read absolutely anything by G.K. Chesterton, up to and including book reviews. 😛 Also any of the Inklings, George MacDonald, Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman. I’ve not had (or made) the time to read many novels since starting grad school, and I’ve grown out of a lot of my favorite novelists since high school… some day I’ll get around to reading the classics, and my list will probably expand then.
Micheal Hickerson says
Amen on Terry Pratchett! I was a latecomer to his Discworld novels, but have enjoyed several. Maybe we should have a book discussion of Unseen Academicals here on the ESN Blog. 🙂
Julie Reynolds says
Late to the party, but I’ll add J.K Rowling and Laurie R King. I read a lot of Orson Scott Card in graduate school; my favorite is Ender’s Game. And I can’t believe no one listed Madeline L’Engle.
Most of the novels I read lately are potato chips books. They are a nice contrast to the scientific journal articles that I spend so much time reading for work.
Tom Grosh IV says
Julie, Thank-you for joining the party and sharing some of your story. Excellent point about Madeline L’Engle. In the mood of ESN’s form of March Madness, I’ll be sure to re-post the link on the ESN FB Wall and invite others to come to the table. . . .