What I Like (Favourite Fiction Authors)

2014-04-06 14.08.10This post is part of my What I Like series

At first this post was going to be a list of my favourite books, but there are just too many, it’s like asking me to pick my favourite child.  So instead I opted for the easier task of picking my favourite authors.  Even this was tricky, as books that I read in my youth may be of less appeal now, what criteria was I to use?  In the end I opted for the following list of factors that I tried to weigh in my mind to decide:

  1. Authors that shaped me deeply
  2. Authors that changed the way I looked at the world
  3. Authors that filled my life with enjoyment
  4. Authors that have a been with me during difficult times
  5. Authors who have been dear companions for decades

It’s impossible for me to put this list in a true order, I can’t agree what comes first for example, but I can easily distinguish between first and last, so here it is presented in a rough order

  1. Robin Hobb – a huge collection of truly wonderful books, a combination of adventure, philosophy, loveable characters and rogues set in an intricately described world.  I’ve read most of them, but also listened to some of them, I recommend both.
  2. Orson Scott Card – another huge and very varied collection, well written, but easy to read, thought provoking and exciting.
  3. Patric Rothfus – I’ve only listened to Patric’s books, but what a joy they were.  Wonderful world building and such fantastic characters.  It’s the reader’s Rupert Degas’ performance though that really makes these books stand out.
  4. Bernard Cornwell  – Superb and huge collection of historical fiction.  The Sharp series of books will always be my favourites, they kept me company on many long, late night, drives and made a difficult time at work into a joy.
  5. Robert Sawyer – Roberts books about Neanderthals (Humans, Hominids, Hybrids) opened my eyes to the mistakes made by humanity, long before I discovered global warming, his observations about a different way to live and love were fascinating
  6. E.E. Doc Smith – the Lensman books introduced me as a teenager to real heros and rip-roaring advanture.  I re-read them a few years ago and still enjoyed them, even though some of the tech now looks quaint
  7. Isaac Asimov – gave me my love of science and engineering, introduced me to economics and social engineering and through his short stories so many eye popping late night reading sessions
  8. Larry Niven – introduced me to a sense of awe and wonder at the ambitions of the makers of Ring World and so many great short stories
  9. Len Deighton – his Game, Set and Match trilogy was one of the first set of audio books I listened to, it blew my mind and I’m forever grateful, audio books have been as important to me as paper and now eBooks.  These were also the first spy books I’d read, followed by dozens more
  10. George MacDonald Fraser – The Flashman Papers are perhaps the funniest books I’ve ever listened to, but they also combine so much history and Harry Flashman is an anti-hero like no other.  Perhaps single headedly they are responsible for giving me a love of driving as I had to just keep making excuses to drive just so I could listen to another book
  11. Agatha Christie – Introduced me to the skills of observation and critical thinking and Miss Marple always reminds me of my Nan!
  12. Lee Child – introduced me to Jack Reacher, a new kind of hero, who embodied the Buddhist ideas of living simply with no attachments and were just so much fun.  One of the first series that I read as eBooks, a great start
  13. Wilbur Smith – in particular his books about Egypt had me transfixed, the story is told through the eyes of the – not so modest – slave Taita, one of the best fictional characters ever.  I loved the first four books but gave up on the Quest, which can be safely skipped
  14. Patricia Cornwell – great mysteries solved by flawed people with deep dedication.  I really got to empathise with the characters and their grizzly jobs
  15. Clive Cussler – just good escapist adventures, funny and fun.  Dirk Pitt was a great inspiration
  16. Philip Pullman – I spent 3 weeks in hospital about 10 years ago,  Steph bought be all of Philips books from her school library, they made a very tough time much more bearable.  His observations on the perils of religion also resonated with me
  17. Alan Garner – The first book I can really remember having an impact on me was Elidor, it still moves me when I think back on it now
  18. Frank Herbert – The Dune series of course, but in particular the Fremen, such as amazing people, who defined the word tough, but who were also incredibly creative, with a strong code of ethics and a respect for their planet.  Equally important were the Bene Gesserit who inspired me to learn about the mind, long before I’d even heard of meditation
  19. Daniel Suarez – defines the modern technology thriller, opened my eyes to what could happen in the next 50 years
  20. C.S. Lewis – The Narnia series of books, what great adventures, completely absorbed me for a few weeks one summer as a young teenager
  21. Robert Harris – responsible for re-introducing me to historical fiction after a long absence.  Well written, easy reading

This list could of course go on for a long time but I managed to constrain myself to this top 21.  These authors have had such an amazing impact on my life, it’s hard to imagine life without them.  As I was going through my library trying to prune my list though I wanted so badly to add non-fiction authors to the list, but I will have to save that for another post.

The picture is a random selection of books from my Kindle home screen

Steve Richards

I'm retired from work as a business and IT strategist. now I'm travelling, hiking, cycling, swimming, reading, gardening, learning, writing this blog and generally enjoying good times with friends and family

1 Response

  1. September 6, 2014

    […] is what my fiction diet looks like and some time soon I will get to list my favourite non-fiction reading and podcasts […]

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