I'd love to hear about everyone's favorite writers and reasons as to why they're your favorite. Maybe add in some quotes from books you like or mention some books they've written that you believe are worth reading.
I personally am a huge fan of both Steinbeck and Fitzgerald. Anything I read by Steinbeck amazes me. Between his ability to tell a great story while also incorporating the fascinating part nature plays in the human condition is really pretty mind-blowing at times.
Also, I am very interested in writings of the Transcendentalists, most notably Emerson and Thoreau. What does everyone else think??
Haha we have very similar tastes, I too love Steinbeck and Fitzgerald (though all I have read is the Great Gatsby by him, I'd love to read more). Also Transcendentalism, but I liken that more to a philosophy then a writing style personally. I love Rand's novels, Poe for his morbid probing of the human mind, Arthur Conan Doyle for his clever twists, Brian Jacques is also up there, because his novels remind me of home. Most self-help authors will catch my attention, if it's well written and not just stuff I could have thought up. Machiavelli is always interesting, along with Plato and Aristotle (though both are a tad obtuse, but still thought provoking). Some of the authors that I think I would like, but haven't gotten around to reading are David Mucllough and Thomas Wolfe, but they are next in line to be read.
It's hard to narrow it down, but I love Hemingway with his crisp and truncated style. On the opposite end of the spectrum is Patrick O'Brian, who is a bit wordier but also outstanding (The Aubrey/Maturin Series is a good manly read). Winston Churchill's history books aren't always the most accurate or neutral, but his prose is amazing. "My Early Life" is a good place to start. Steinbeck and Fitzgerald are both great, and I am also a huge fan of Emerson. A lesser known philosopher I really like is Boethius. His "Consolation of Philosophy" is part poetry and part prose, and is a great but sometimes difficult read. Shakespeare and Milton are also two of my favorites, and they certainly show you what the English language is capable of.
My top three authors at this moment are Twain, Hemingway, and Steinbeck.
Twain's writing is hilarious and his books constantly invoke a simpler time in America.
Hemingway's prose is easily the best and most influential of any writer in the past 100 years. When you can see what is going on with so little description on the writer's end, you have to give credit to the guy. Besides his books cover everything from war to manhood in such unique, inspiring and downright captivating ways.
Steinbeck has amazing prose as well and his stories are equally brilliant. It's easy to sympathize with even his strangest characters and like Kyle said, his insights into the human condition are fascinating.
If you ever get want a great read, pick up pretty much anything by John Wyndham. I highly recommend the Day of the Triffids - the cheesy horror films don't do it justice at all. He's got some other great books as well like the Midwich Cuckoos.
Hmmm, I was going to answer this earlier but stopped myself as I didn't have any quotes to hand, but now I'm worried about getting left behind so I'm going jump in quoteless- I love Raymond Chandler and P.G. Wodehouse, predominantly for their superior use of simile and metaphor and funnily enough they both went to the same school, Dulwich College, in South London. Also Steinbeck, (we had to read of Mice and Men in school and it depressed me, but I've since read some short stories, Cannery Row and Sweet Thursday and am currently reading the Grapes of Wrath), and Thoreau, mainly for inspiring me towards the end of my fine art postgrad. If you'd like to see my potato-prints of Thoreau and Emerson, I attach them here...
Alright already. Ya want manly authors? I've a few to add to this list. (And I freely admit my predjudice in favor of authors who've "been there, done that".)
Dashiell Hammett. Detective (Pinkerton in San Francisco), served in the US Army in BOTH World Wars (gassed in France in WWI). CREATED the "Hard boiled school" of mystery fiction, incidentally giving Humphrey Bogart an excellent character to play, Sam Spade.
Robert W. Service. Canadian poet. Went to the Yukon in the gold rush of 1898, Ambulance driver, Western Front, WWI-wounded badly. STILL IN PRINT. Very manly poet, who doesn't overlook the comic aspects of life and the tragic. (See the April 26, 2009 "Mantovational" on the main AoM site)
Raymond Chandler. I have mention him, even though already listed. Beautiful use of English. Exploration of following one's moral compass and innate sense of decency in amorally ambiguous world. Created Philip Marlowe...again excellently played by Humphrey Bogart.
C.S. Forster. The world, and boys throughout the world, would be a far poorer place without Horatio Hornblower. Forster expounds on sense of duty, appropriate personal honor, self reliance, developing and keeping competence at increasingly complex skill levels.
Nicholas Monsarrat. Read "The Cruel Sea" if nothing else of his.
Zane Grey. OK, OK, OK. Hopelessly romantic, but a great western storyteller.
Richard Henry Dana for "Two Years Before the Mast".
Ulysses S. Grant for his "Memoirs"--an excellent treatment of friends & foes, written while suffering from terminal cancer, in order to provide for his family after his death.
And last for this short list, Herman Melville, "Moby Dick, or the White Whale" (and very indirectly, Starbucks Coffee!)
I think I shockingly forgot to mention Melville, but I love him and look upon him as an inspiration. Depressingly his fame never increased during his lifetime and by the time he was old people had completely forgotten about him or thought he was dead. So possibly not the best role-model but I can see myself heading that way already... Typee's an interesting read, and the short stories are beautiful, Billy Budd, Poor Man's Pudding and Rich Men's Crumbs, the Paradise of Bachelors is a good one for this community, and Bartleby the Scrivener. What a guy...
I enjoy reading Fitzgerald, Dickens, Camus, and Hemingway. Out of these four Hemingway has to be my favorite by far. I love his simplistic yet elegant writing style.
"My aim is to put down on paper what I see and what I feel in the best and simplest way."
Hemingway's works,for me, represent what it means to be a man. From fighting a war in Europe, to fishing in the Caribbean, to hunting in Africa, these stories represent the role of the stereotypical man's man.
I am currently reading "Self-reliance" by Emerson and find it to be very interesting, though it is a somewhat big mouthful for me. One of my favorite authors has to be Henry Miller; not because of his ability to tell a good story or his humour but simply because of his writing style and his written flow. Tropic of cancer is my favorite of his. And to finish off with, a qoute:
"I have no money, I have no ressources, I have no hope. I am the happiest man alive!" - Henry Miller
I would have to go with Hemingway and Twain.....although Mordecai Richler (he's a famous Canadian writer, mostly in Canada) is an incredible writer and I would recomend that you guys check out his novel Barney's Version.
Let's see. I am a big fan of the late Robert Jordan. As Nicholas Plouck said earlier, The Wheel of Time saga was, I think, a pinnacle of character development. Jordan drew from such myriad sources when creating his characters (off the top of my head, he has claimed: Nordic mythology, Arthurian legends, Tolkien, Far East mythology, e.g.). And the way he tied all of their stories together created a series of true masterpieces of modern fiction.
I really like much of Voltaire's writings, especially Candide. I do not agree with his worldview, but the man was really funny.
I am currently reading For Whom the Bell Tolls, my first Hemingway novel, and am really enjoying it. I think he will make it to my Top 5 after one more novel.
For non-fiction, I'd have to go with Jonathan Edwards, John Piper, and David McCullough, not necessarily in that order.
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