I’ve been meaning to get involved with this for weeks, and finally, here’s my contribution to Top Ten Tuesday, a weekly feature hosted by the blog, The Broke and the Bookish – http://brokeandbookish.blogspot.co.uk/
Each week they ask people to write a top ten list of something on a literary theme. This week it’s top ten auto-buy authors. That is, those authors whose latest books you would buy without giving much consideration to genre, blurb, reviews etc – you’d just trust in the fact that because it was by them, it was probably worth a read.
I got to five entries on this list in seconds (not what’s now my top five) because like everyone, I have favourites. Beyond that, I started to struggle and I eventually ground to a halt at nine. I generally like to discover new books, series, and authors. Unless I really love an author, I find that either all their books are basically the same and it all gets a bit dull, or most of what they write isn’t as good as the book that got me interested in them in the first place. I also find that it’s a rare series that doesn’t start to get bad if it goes on for more than four or five books.
Nonetheless, the second any of these good people announce another book, I’m heading straight to Amazon, in some cases with slight trepidation, in others in full confidence that whatever they’ve released, it’s going to be amazing.
1)Terry Pratchett is probably the single best example on this list of putting my auto-buy policy into practise. He’s written over forty books and I’ve read them all. For years, he churned out works that were hysterically funny, brilliantly plotted and strangely profound at a rate of around two books a year.
The Discworld books aren’t as good as they used to be, but a sub-par Terry Pratchett novel is still a pretty entertaining read and I don’t think I’ll ever stop buying them as they come out.
2)George R. Martin – like seemingly everyone else in the world, I’m desperately waiting for the final two A Song of Ice and Fire novels. A Dance with Dragons is probably the only book I can remember ordering in advance of publication to make sure I got it on release day.
Over and above that though, I’ve started reading through his back catalogue and the man just has a real gift for storytelling. Fevre Dream is basically a book about steamships, a subject I have pretty much zero interest in, but his writing made it fascinating. (Okay, it also had vampires, which I admittedly love, but they were definitely playing second fiddle to the steamships!) If I heard he had a new book out, in pretty much any genre, I’d give it a whirl.
3)Patrick Rothfuss – Patrick is probably the least tried and tested member of this list. He has written precisely two book, both of which are part of the same series, The Kingkiller Chronicles. I will be buying the third and final instalment the second it is released, no question. In fact it’s probably now beaten even A Song of Ice and Fire Book 6 into second place in my “books I cannot wait for list.” Maybe I’m wrong, but as it’s his writing style I love as much as the plot, I think I’d like anything else he wrote too.
4)David Mitchell – I wrote quite enough over the weekend about how much I love Cloud Atlas, DM’s finest work, so I won’t go on about that again. Whilst I don’t think any of his other books, earlier or later, can quite beat that, I’ve read and enjoyed them all. These include: a collection of loosely joined stories about ghosts; a tale of a young man’s search for his father in modern Japan; a coming of age tale in 1980s England; and an adventure story set in eighteenth century Japan. That’s probably the most varied genre jumping on this list, so I think it’s fair to say that I’ll give anything he writes a go and he can write an astonishingly good book about almost anything.
5)Curtis Sittenfeld -In contract, Curtis Sittenfeld seems to write about one thing and one thing only – Preppy, WASPY types coming of age and falling in love. But if that sounds like trashy chick-lit, think again. Her books are inevitably beautifully written and really clever – I definitely file them as literary in my mind. I happen to like stories about posh folk (I prefer the English variety, but American will do in a pinch!) but if her next book happened to be a gritty drama about starving refugees, I’d still snap it up immediately, because this girl can Write.
6)Jonathan Coe – I loved Jonathan Coe for What a Carve Up, which battles it out with Cloud Atlas in my best book ever award. The Rotters Club is also amazing. Since then though, he seems to have gone steadily downhill. Nonetheless, I can always find something to enjoy in his books, and I keep on giving him a chance without really checking what his new releases are about, just in case it’s another Carve Up.
7)Margaret Atwood – Great writer, and one of the few who can neatly blur the lines between literary and genre fiction. I prefer her when she veers closer towards the latter, but I always give her new books a go.
8)Neil Gaiman – I love all his books, and he even made me read a children’s book (Coraline) and give graphic novels a go (Sandman Series). In both cases, I enjoyed something not just outside of my usual genre but completely outside of the sort of book I’d normally consider.
9)LJ Smith – One upon a time Ms Smith would have been near the top of this list. I’ve written before about how her Vampire Diaries series triggered my love of vampire literature and that’s not even my favourite series of hers . That honour falls to the Forbidden Game, the best paranormal series ever. Having read and loved a few of her books, I sought out and devoured the rest in a frenzy. I physically couldn’t read anything else until I’d read everything she’d ever written.
This was all over a decade ago. Then a few years back I heard there was a new VD trilogy coming out and was beyond excited. Except to my horror, it turned out to be absolutely awful. Now I’d approach any new book of hers with caution, though an extract on her website from something she’s working on looks great, so maybe there’s hope yet. Either way, I know full well I’d still buy it. Especially the final book of Night World, which I’ve been waiting for for twelve years. George R Martin fans don’t know the meaning of suffering 😉