FIVE FAVE AUTHORS I'D LIKE TO MEET
My Five Faves today are five favorite authors instead of particular books. I was inspired by a couple of related hashtag posts on Instagram: #5authorsforcoffee and #FiveAuthorsIWouldLikeToMeet. As with all such "who would you most like to meet" questions, the writers can be living or dead. It's not like I'm really going to meet up for dinner with any of them except in my head.
These are the five authors I would like to meet, for a cup of coffee, a glass of wine, or at least a good long chat, with a little explanation for each. The links go to my post for each author, with a list of their books, with the exception of Erica Jong. That link goes to her list of Top 100 Novels by Women.
- KINGSLEY AMIS: Amis is at the top of my list not only because his name starts with A but because, push comes to shove, if I had to name my very favorite author, it would be him. He wrote a lot of books, dabbled with many genres (literary fiction primarily, but nonfiction, criticism, poetry, murder mystery, sci-fi, spy, and grammar), was consistently funny, and told a good story. He delivers for me. He was a notorious drunk, the father of Martin Amis, the friend of poet Philip Larkin. I'd love to go for drinks with Sir Kingsley.
- JIM HARRISON: Harrison is a close second when it comes to my all-time favorites and could beat out Amis on any given day. Harrison also wrote fiction, nonfiction, and poetry. The Road Home is my favorite of his books. Harrison was also an interesting character, living mostly in Michigan then Montana in his older years, appreciating food, drink, and women, battling some personal demons. Anthony Bourdain did an episode of his Parts Unknown show in Montana with Jim Harrison. That and Harrison's excellent book The Raw and the Cooked are as close as I'll ever get to sharing a drink with Harrison.
- P. D. JAMES: I love James's Adam Dalgliesh mystery series. Each one takes place in a closed community, like a hospital, church, publishing house, or Inns of Court. She did a meticulous job at creating those worlds so the books are not repetitive. The characters are dark and troubled, so there is heft to the stories without being too scary to read. Her other books are also very good. The Children of Men is my favorite alt-history book, not the least because of the kittens! She was a lifetime Peer and served in the House of Lords from 1991 until her death in 2014. I'd like to have tea with Lady James and learn more about her.
- ERICA JONG: I may not live like Jong's heroine Isadora Wing, but Jong touches a chord with me. Many chords, and often at just the right time. As mentioned above, she also compiled a list of Top 100 20th Century Novels by Women, back at the turn of the Millennium when Top 100 books lists were big. Her list is excellent and I've found many new-to-me authors and books because of it. I am a wholehearted fan and would love to split a bottle of wine with Erica Jong.
- P. G. WODEHOUSE: People either think Wodehouse is a comic genius or an anachronism. I'm in the first camp. His wordplay is incomparable. I prefer to read his books with my ears to appreciate the language, but I will read them any way I can to get through them all. I always have a Wodehouse book going. I'd love to meet Plum for a chat out in the Hamptons and see if he is as funny and charming in real life as he was in his books.
There are times when a full-sized book list is just too much; when the Top 100, a Big Read, or all the Prize winners seem like too daunting an effort. That's when a short little list of books (or authors) grouped by theme may be just the ticket.
Inspired by Nancy Pearl's "Companion Reads" chapter in Book Lust – themed clusters of books on subjects as diverse as Bigfoot and Vietnam – I decided to start occasionally posting lists of five books grouped by topic or theme. I call these posts my Five Faves.
Feel free to grab the button and play along. Use today's theme or come up with your own. If you post about it, please link back to here and leave the link to your post in a comment. If you want to participate but don't have a blog or don't feel like posting, please share your list in a comment.