OK now we’ve picked a hard one that opens us up for you lot telling us we’re wrong, which we’re not because everyone’s favourites are different. Favourite authors and books, we could almost close the post at this point and shout ‘GO!’ and let everyone else tell us what they think.
However, it’s not as straightforward as it looks. Favourites evolve through time. I(Loz) read the BFG by Roald Dahl, no less than 34 times when I was a small child, (my mum counted) and the battered old book still sits on my shelves, twenty years later, though my love affair with books really began with ‘The Faraway Tree’ which my mother read to me, and I am now reading to my godchildren. As a teenager I really fell in love with fantasy, and my favourites became the Belgariad and Mallorean by David and Leigh Eddings, sprawling, emotional and blooming huge. In my twenties, studying for my degree my favorites became almost anything written by Jane Austen, and I will admit reading ‘Pride and Prejudice’ more times than I dare to count, and now overdosed on classics, my favourites are the Hollows Series by Kim Harrison, about a group of supernaturals trying to save the world and putting up with a whiny protagonist , ‘the Dresden Files‘, by Jim Butcher, about wizard detective Harry Dresden, being charming and kick arse and the Plum novels, by Janet Evanovich, starring conflicted crap bounty hunter Stephanie Plum (but I will say I’ve tried and failed miserably to like any of Evanovich’s other work) and of course the Charlie Parker books by John Connolly, one of which I sat up and read across eighteen hours, only stopping to put the book down to cry at a particularly hard hitting section, as mentioned in our demon post a couple of days ago. As you may have noticed a lot of this list are series of novels, because I like to watch characters evolve, and in my case often fall in love with recurring characters. However everything on this list, no matter what the genre, or who the author I class as a favourite, each one loved and none forgotten. Now I better hand over to Jed
So, my (Jed’s) turn then… I grew up with my head constantly in a book, actually, scratch that, I still do that. Pre-secondary school, I was addicted to Enid Blyton books. I read everything by her – ‘The Famous Five’, ‘Secrets Series’, ‘Brer Rabbit’ and so on – and while the girls in my class were reading ‘Nancy Drew’, I read ‘The Hardy Boys’.
In general, I struggle to pick favourites sometimes – mainly because I end up with a massive list – but when I was about seven or eight, I ran out of books on the school list to read and this lead to one of my teachers going upstairs to the ‘older years’ and gave me three books that are still favourites today. All very different.
The first was ‘The Hound of the Baskervilles’ and it has remained my favourite Sherlock Holmes book. The second was ‘Run Swift, Run Free’ by Tom McCaughren. This was the third book in a series about foxes and how they survived the wilds of Ireland and mankind. Despite being a children’s book, McCaughren never really glossed over the cruelness of life, death and man towards these animals. Throughout my Primary School years, I reread this book numerous times and today I own the entire series and still delve into them. Although, I’m old enough now to understand everything that is mentioned in the books and I recommend them highly to anyone, although they may cause some sadness.
The third book I was given by my teacher was some huge tome-like book that I could have used as a doorstop, written by some old bloke called Tolkien. ‘The Lord of the Rings’ is my all time favourite book or books (depending on the edition) and is probably responsible for fuelling my over-active imagination and making me want to create my own worlds.
In general, my favourite books (save for McCaughren’s fox series) tend to stick within the realms of speculative fiction and thrillers now. If I was hard-pressed to give a short list of favourite authors, definitely on that list would be – J.R.R. Tolkien, H.G. Wells, Tom McCaughren, Michael Crichton and, most recently, George R.R. Martin.