Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Influential Authors

This is a spin off of another Facebook time waster. Much like my previous post about the twenty five influential albums of my life, this was supposed to be a list of the twenty five influential books of my life. So I thought about it. And then thought about it some more. And then some more. This is what I came up with: a list of the top twenty five authors of my life. There are a great deal more than just twenty five authors who have had an impact on my life, but here are, in chronlogical order (to the best of my ability), the top twenty five:

1. Dr. Seuss- Growing up, we had, I think, just about every book this man wrote and we read them often. Cat In The Hat, Green Eggs and Ham...

2. Shel Silverstein- Ditto. I can still recite the poems I learned in the second grade.

3. Judy Blume- This woman owned my childhood for a good long while. Freckle Juice, Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing, The One in the Middle is a Green Kangaroo, Are You There, God? It's Me, Margaret, Blubber, and the list goes on and on...

4. Joan Lowery Nixon- the writer of the young adult mystery books with which I was in love. She also wrote historical fiction novels for kids too.

5. The Secret of the Unicorn Queen Crowd- This was a series of six books that my mother came across for me. They were written by different authors but I had to put these books/authors on my list because these are the books that inspired me to write my own fantasy series. Talk about influential. They are: Josepha Sherman, Gwen Hansen, Suzanne Weyn and Dory Perlman.

6. Francine Pascal- The creator of the Sweet Valley High series. I was very much in love with these books when I was in the seventh grade. My mother and reading teacher were a little less happy about this. They had this whole theory about how these books were like a popsicle, how there was no substance to the books. Didn't stop me from reading them though. A lot.

7. Ellen Emerson White- Well, if you know me at all, then you know she had to be on this list. I came across her novel, The President's Daughter in the school library in the seventh grade one day when I was tired of being harassed about my Sweet Valley High obsession. I haven't looked back since.

8. Cynthia Voigt- An amazing writer for young adults. I was/am particularly enthralled with her novels that revolve around the Tillerman family as well as those in the Kingdom series.

9. George Orwell- I read Animal Farm a lot when I was in eighth grade because it wasn’t a very long book and I could read the whole entire thing in a forty five minute class period. The rest of my class took longer. Anyway, I liked it. I liked it enough, at any rate, to seek out other stuff he'd written. And write papers about him. And not because it was assigned either.

10. William Shakespeare- What I was reading in eighth grade when I wasn’t reading Orwell. Haven't really stopped since. Hamlet is, hands down, my favorite.

11. John Knowles- Read his novel A Separate Peace in the ninth grade. It’s been one of my favorite books ever since. One of the few books I read in high school that I actually, truly liked and one of the few books I chose to teach my own students because it was the one that I actually, truly, liked. They were shocked to find out there were books that I didn't like. Yes, English teachers are people too.

12. E.E. Cummings- Most noted for his poetry, but he also wrote prose. His novel The Enormous Room is an account of his imprisonment in France during World War I. He's on this list because he was really the first writer to show me that grammar rules are sometimes meant to be broken.

13. William Carlos Williams- Another of my favorite poets, although I did not fully appreciate his brilliance when first introduced to him. I wrote a detailed blog entry about him last April during National Poetry Month. Click here to read it. Scroll down to April 8, 2008.

14. William Faulkner- Another amazing writer. I read a lot of his books in my later high school career. The one that inspired me the most was As I Lay Dying which helped me to start my novel (in progress) How Many Angels.

15. Marion Zimmer Bradley- I read The Mists of Avalon when I was a senior in high school. And then read everything else she wrote.

16. William Goldman- The man who wrote The Princess Bride, both the novel and the screenplay. He also wrote the screenplays to Misery and Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.

17. Geoffrey Chaucer- There's a funny story about how I came to read (and love) his work, Troilus and Criseyde, but since it makes me sound kind of stupid and uneducated, I think I might skip writing it here. Let me just say that my college professor was right. Whatever.

18. Robert B. Parker- Of course Robert B. Parker had to make this list. I'd like to thank Ellen Emerson White for having her character, Meg Powers, read Spenser novels. I've always loved Parker's sense of humor.

19. J.K. Rowling- If you don't know why I've included this woman in this list, then you don't know me at all.

20. Laurie Halse Anderson- I first read her novel, Speak when my sister, Elizabeth, recommended it. It's now one of my all time favorite books. This woman is an amazing writer and if you read nothing else in your lifetime, read Speak.

21. Stephen King- The man to whom I owe my stict anti-adverb philosophy. Thanks! While his non fiction book, On Writing, has probably influenced me the most, his novel Wizard And Glass is one of my all time favorite novels.

22. Philippa Gregory- Her novels are, as a whole, amazing. The Other Boleyn Girl and The Boleyn Inheritance are particularly impressive. Her novel, Wideacre, has what I have longed considered to be the most perfect ending I've ever read. I don't know how to describe it but damn, it's just perfect.

23. Ian McEwan- I read his novel Atonement last year because I thought the movie Hollywood had made was pretty good. The book was better.

24. Cormac McCarthy- I picked up The Road last year and was blown away by it and its non-traditional and extremely powerful use of language.

25. Joss Whedon- Last, but certainly not least, is Joss Whedon. Maybe he doesn't write books, but he has written the scripts for about a gazillion of my favorite television shows. Plus, my damn religion is W.W.J.W.D? so how could I not put him on this list?

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