Blogger: Wendy Lawton
Location: Books & Such Central Valley Office
When we’re talking about favorite books it can get pretty intellectual. Too often we feel a kind of literary performance anxiety– like if we don’t name an artful enough book, we’ll somehow end up looking like a lowbrow. I want to get around that in today’s Favorite Five. Before we move on to our five favorite novels I want to choose our five favorite novelists– those writers we turn to when we want a purely enjoyable read or an escape. For me it’s easy, I just look at my iPad or Kindle. They contain the books I purchased when a plane was delayed, I was half brain-dead from a conference, and I wanted nothing more than to have someone tell me a story.
You’ll see from my list that I’m mostly an historical fiction aficionado. Hopefully some of you will balance me out with some great contemporary novelists.
So here’s my list:
- Anne Perry— I love her Thomas Pitt and William Monk Victorian era detective mysteries. All the texture of an historical with complex characters and superb mysteries.
- Elizabeth Peters— Amelia Peabody and late Victorian egyptology– what’s not to love? Her tongue-in-cheek narration is a delight.
- Amanda Quick— so shoot me. It’s my guilty pleasure. Humor and Regency. Entirely too much fun.
- Victoria Holt— I know she’s been dead for a long time, but I still love a good gothic and since no one is writing gothic mysteries without vampires, I reread these. It doesn’t get much better than House of a Thousand Lanterns.
- Alexander McCall Smith— I anxiously await the next No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency installment. Me and Mma. Ramotswe– sisters at heart.
So that’s my version of the beach read. How about you?
Teri Dawn Smith
My list of contemporary authors:
Susan May Warren–I love her word painting, sense of humor, and compelling characters.
James Scott Bell–His dialogue is so great, I study it for technique.
T. Davis Bunn–I prefer his contemporary novels.
Dee Henderson–Great plots and characterization.
Terri Blackstock–I love the way she tackles issues head on.
But this list constantly changes.
“Beach Reads”? Hmm. Don’t do much humor or light reading. But . . . escapism to me is being fully engaged in the moment of whatever story I’m reading.
Vince Flynn’s novels are just too poignant, too real, too engaging. Love them.
Travis Thrasher’s books always engage, even if I don’t particularly like a story–which is rare but has happened.
I love Robert Liparulo, the absolute master of pacing in thrillers.
Steven James for his true ventures into evil with good sitting in the periphery and not easily accessible.
Tim Downs (the Bug Man books)
And I could add many more . . .
Nicole, how interesting that all your favorite books are by male authors. That goes against the common wisdom, doesn’t it?
I don’t do much “beach reading,” but when I have spare time my tastes seem to go from one extreme to the other. Top three authors who come to mind:
Ellis Peters’ Brother Cadfael mysteries,
Vince Flynn’s contemporary political thrillers,
and Brock and Bodie Thoene’s biblical historicals.
For me, it’s Francine Rivers, Siri Mitchell, Terri Blackstock, and Laura Frantz. Those are the authors whose books I pick up the second they come out.
Mary Stewart, Elisabeth Ogilvie, Eva Ibbotson,Nevada Barr, Mary Elgin.
Guilty pleasures all. Obviously I like a bit of everything!
Jenny B. Jones
I love Amanda Quick too! You may shoot me as well.
~Alexander McCall Smith – we named our kitties Precious, Mr JLB, and Charlie
~ JD Robb – I love Eve Dallas
~Harlan Coben – there’s always a twist
~Liz Curtis Higgs
Anything by any of them move immediately to the top of Mt. TBR.
Crystal Laine Miller
I’m not sure if I should reveal the authors I most love to read. But it can change, can’t it? This is a bit tortuous.
1. Diane Mott Davidson
2. Jamie Carie
3. Lisa Wingate
4. Mary Connealy
5. Debra Clopton
I tend to like a bit of humor in the voice of the main character.
Mary K. Johnson
My “Contemporary” list, like yours, is not that contemporary in spots, but here are my choices:
1. Barbara Kingsolver, especially The Bean Trees and Pigs in Heaven–older now but still great. What a voice!
2. Laurie R. King, the Mary Russell series with Sherlock Holmes. Can’t get into her other stories, though.
3. Dorothea Benton Frank’s island books
4. I go back to Dick Francis time and again, as do my husband and a friend who stays with us.
5. And for my all time favorites, Dorothy Sayers in the Lord Peter novels with Harriet Vane. Old now, but many contemporary issues in them.
Guess I love men, huh? Seriously, I love Tosca Lee, Sibella Giorello, Brandilyn Collins, the only one I’ve read of Lisa Samson is in my Top Twenty (The Passion of Mary-Margaret), the contemporary novels of Francine Rivers.
But, yeah, I love the male perspective, male protagonists. No surprise that I’m outside the “common wisdom”. Rebel that I am. 😉
Clive Cussler, Mike Angley, James R. Hannibal–my list is much shorter but I recently discovered I enjoy this genre so Cussler has plenty of books to keep me busy while I wait for Angley and Hannibal to come out with sequels.
These are the five I am sure to read every time a new book comes out:
Mary K., I’m with you on Laurie R. King. I agree it’s the Mary Richards ones. Loved Monstrous Regiment of Women.
And Dorothy L. Sayers. Yes! I spent years as a member of the Dorothy L. Sayers society.
Carrie, what fun the name of your kitties. I understand. I named my golden retriever Heavens to Betsy after the Betsy-Tacy book. We call her Betsy, of course.