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Because it's one of those lazy Saturdays when I can't be arsed to write something longer, today's SBD question is a simple one, akin to choose your favorite book: who is your favorite author? You must choose one and only one.

Not easy to choose one, right? Should your favorite be the one whose writing you admire most, the one who consistently writes good books, or the one who wrote that one book you love above all others? The one who writes your favorite series, or the one you most admire personally?

There are authors who have never written a stinker that I know of, authors who have only ever gotten 5 stars from me, but in many cases, I've only read a couple of their books, often in the same series. One great book, even one great series, isn't enough for me to consider someone my favorite author. So David Brin, Vernor Vinge, Octavia Butler, Catherynne Valente, Jessica Amanda Salmonson, Jane Austen, John le Carré, Jorge Luis Borges, and one-shot wonders like Susanna Clarke and Nick Harkaway are all potential favorites, but I just haven't read enough of them.

There are authors who have consistently written books I enjoy, but who have occasionally displeased me enough that I don't entirely trust them. Neal Stephenson (could not get through the Baroque Cycle), Charles Dickens (love ya, Chuck, but sometimes you're just too damn Victorian), Larry Niven (loved Ringworld and the Known Space series, but at heart you're just an increasingly conservative crankypants), Haruki Murakami (dude has some serious Freudian issues), Cormac McCarthy (I have a love/hate relationship with his writing), Sherri S. Tepper (feminist sci-fi ranging from "seriously thought-provoking" to "batshit insane"), J.K. Rowling (you stumbled at the finish line, Jo), and Tony Hillerman (R.I.P. Tony, you should have stopped writing when you passed your prime) have all been "favorites" in one way or another, but none of them are authors I'd unreservedly read no matter what my mood.

There are authors who are "comfort reads" — I've liked all their books to some degree, but they just don't wow me. John Scalzi, Brandon Sanderson, J.A. Jance, Suzanne Collins, I'd read them all again, but none of them make me excited when they have a new book out.

So who do I pick as my favorite?

Stephen King

Stephen King

He's not the best author I read regularly; his quality over the years has been inconsistent. He's not a perfect writer (diarrhea of the word processor is a frequent malady of his), but he is a great one who I believe is not taken as seriously as he should be. I've read more books by Stephen King than any other author. He has written a few of my favorites (It, The Stand, Salem's Lot, Firestarter, The Long Walk), and while the list of books he's written that I haven't read is very long, I know I can always pick up a Stephen King book with confidence.

So, I name Evil Stevie as my overall favorite.

Who is yours?

Poll #1828606 Favorite author

Who is your favorite author?

Previous Saturday Book Discussions.



( 54 comments — Leave a comment )
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Mar. 24th, 2012 03:26 pm (UTC)
"There can only be one" - you bastard
Like top 10 or top 100 or other lists, I have a love/hate relationship with questions like "Who is your favourite author?" They leave no room for subtleties, for complexities; no more than life, literary taste is not a binary decision.

And yet, the question sits there, begging an answer.

I chose Tolkien against the judgement of my inner snob — surely Delaney, or Heller, or Melville, would have been more impressive options; and with Delaney, I'd have picked a writer whose oevre I have read almost in its entirety, many of them many times more than once — but did it because, well, The Lord of the Rings really is my favourite book. It is the book I have read probably 30 times, the one that never fails to bring me to tears, that transports me utterly to its world for the duration of its story.

In short, it is the book I love most, whatever its flaws or limitations. I can't in good conscience argue that it is the best book I've ever read, let alone that Tolkien is the best writer. But favourite? Oh yes.
Mar. 24th, 2012 03:30 pm (UTC)
This is the first time I can't reply to your question. XD
Mar. 24th, 2012 04:06 pm (UTC)
Neil Gaiman

I have only started reading his works a few months ago and I haven't read that many of them, but so far there hasn't been one I have read and didn't fall in love with. And he is awesome as a person too.

I thought about choosing Tolkien since I have loved his stories since I was very little... but well, almost everything he wrote was a single story, so it would feel like choosing my favorite author because he wrote my favorite book. He is a close second though.
Mar. 24th, 2012 04:19 pm (UTC)
The first one that came to mind for me was William Faulkner because I went through a period in high school where I read everything of his and walked around in a Faulkner daze for like months. I don't remember many details of what he wrote, just that I was swooningly in love with his writing, and there aren't many authors that have done that to me so consistently since. Might be interesting to go back and read some of it now, 25 years later.
Mar. 24th, 2012 04:27 pm (UTC)
Really? From your icon I'd say Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Steven Moffat, and Mark Gatiss. ;P
(no subject) - swissmarg - Mar. 24th, 2012 05:32 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - hisietari - Mar. 24th, 2012 05:47 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - inverarity - Mar. 25th, 2012 12:36 am (UTC) - Expand
Mar. 24th, 2012 04:49 pm (UTC)
Ouch, just one...

Don DeLillo
(Deleted comment)
Mar. 24th, 2012 06:56 pm (UTC)
Robin McKinley! I would definitely pick her if the question were "name your top 5 favorite authors"!
Mar. 24th, 2012 06:23 pm (UTC)
After careful consideration, and a few curse words aimed at this question, I think I'd have to pick Edgar Allen Poe.

I discovered my parents copy of his complete works at a young age. He was basically my gateway drug to more modern horror, mystery, sf, and fantasy.

Plus his stories and poems still hold up pretty well without my nostalgia filter overloading. :)
(Deleted comment)
Mar. 25th, 2012 04:10 am (UTC)
I ended up choosing Charlaine for pretty much the same reasons :)
(no subject) - pnkngrnd3 - Apr. 1st, 2012 02:03 pm (UTC) - Expand
Mar. 24th, 2012 06:34 pm (UTC)
Anne Rice - The later vampire chronicles were appauling and sucked serious ass but the early books are still the most beautifully written pieces of literature. Interview with the vampire has been my favourite book since I was ten. It has influenced me on so many levels and actually shaped the person I became as I grew up. It will never cease to move or inspire me.

Other serious contenders for favourite authors are; Mervyn Peake, Mikhail Bulgakov, Dostoyevsky, Angela Carter. Elizabeth Knox, Tad Williams,
Mar. 25th, 2012 02:45 pm (UTC)
Anne Rice was my first runner up, and it was a hard decision!
Mar. 24th, 2012 06:59 pm (UTC)
I picked Jane Austen, not only because Pride and Prejudice is my favorite book in all the world, but because her entire literary output is great. All six completed novels are brilliant, and even her unfinished works are entertaining and show a ton of potential. I've also read an Austen biography and a compilation of her letters (I'm ever-so-slightly Austen-obsessed, truth be told), and she was really a remarkable -- and hilarious! -- woman.
Mar. 24th, 2012 07:25 pm (UTC)
I was torn between Austen and Harper Lee, but finally chose the latter because even though Lee has only written the one novel, it's a classic. Of the Austen novels I have read - that's all, bar Persuasion - I love most of them, but I would rather read one amazing novel again and again than a handful that I can take or leave. On the other hand, if Austen had only written Emma, my answer would be the same as yours ;)
(no subject) - fancy_lee - Mar. 25th, 2012 12:07 am (UTC) - Expand
Mar. 24th, 2012 07:04 pm (UTC)
Patrick O'Brian.

I thought about Gene Wolfe, the Latro books knock me out. But O'Brian it is. As Mammy Yokum used to say "Ah has spoken"
Apr. 2nd, 2012 06:18 am (UTC)
I had to choose between O'Brian and Tolkien.
Mar. 24th, 2012 07:17 pm (UTC)
Tamora Pierce. Sure she has her faults, but over my lifetime with my shifting opinions on books and literature, I have consistently enjoyed her work since first sampling it at thirteen, which is half my lifetime now. The only other author who has that kind of longevity is JK Rowling, who is probably my first runner up.
Mar. 24th, 2012 07:37 pm (UTC)
I had to go with Vonnegut. I haven't read all of his books but I've read a lot of them, and even when they kind of weird me out (hello, Slapstick) I really enjoy them. I like what he has to say about life and human nature. And, come on, he wrote Slaughterhouse-Five...
Mar. 24th, 2012 07:51 pm (UTC)
Jonathan Safran Foer. Some people aren't fond of his style, but I love everything he's written, even the utterly pretentious Tree of Codes.
Mar. 24th, 2012 07:55 pm (UTC)

Well...my single favorite book is the Jacques LeClercq translation of Rabelais.

But my favorite author would be Lois McMaster Bujold, who wrote my 3rd favorite, is the only author to make my top 100 list three times, and has never actually disappointed me in over 20 volumes. That could be why I took my online name from her most famous character.
Mar. 24th, 2012 08:12 pm (UTC)
Wait! What?
I thought Miles Vorkosigin was her most famous character. (Of course, I haven't read most of Bujold's stuff.)
(no subject) - marycatelli - Mar. 24th, 2012 08:34 pm (UTC) - Expand
Well no, not really .... - ed_rex - Mar. 24th, 2012 09:43 pm (UTC) - Expand
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