Friday, February 19, 2010

My Fave Five: Spotlight on Authors

When it comes to my favorite authors, I am all about the girl power.  My favorite authors are all female: Daphne duMaurier, Carol Goodman, Sarah Addison Allen, Jennifer Donnelly, Marian Keyes.  Being a book lover has turned me into an author “groupie” of sorts: I regularly do searches on my favorite authors to see if they have anything new coming out or if they have an online presence I can be a part of.  When my friend request on Facebook was accepted by Sarah Addison Allen, I did a little dance. . .  Today I wanted to take a step back and shine a spotlight on my "Fave Five."

Screenshot from the Daphne duMaurier webpage, run by dedicated fans of her work

While Daphne duMaurier is in my Fave Five list (in fact, she tops my Fave Five list), my searches on her are not as frequent, as she is no longer with us to be writing new books or starting a new blog.  (Although, there is an annual duMaurier Festival I might need to start joining in on.)  I love her books because they are timeless, and I owe being able to include her in my list of favorite authors to my sister.  If my sister had not convinced me to read Rebecca, I never would have experienced duMaurier's ability to write mysterious and suspenseful storylines with beautifully marred characters.  Her books take me to a special place as a reader, and just holding a copy of Rebecca in my hands puts a smile on my face.

March is going to be an exciting month for me, with two new releases from the next ladies of my Fave Five: Carol Goodman’s Arcadia Falls and Sarah Addison Allen’s The Girl Who Chased the Moon.  (In fact, I just added a countdown widget to the right-hand sidebar for Allen's new book.)

Screenshot from Carol Goodman's website

Carol Goodman is an intriguing author for me because she weaves her interests (and education) in classical studies with modern-day plots.  When I read a Carol Goodman book, I find myself enjoying a story while learning something academic-y--that’s a combination I adore.  The first book I ever read of hers was Lake of Dead Languages, and as soon as I finished that book, I immediately called all my friends who enjoy reading and told them that they had to check it out.  I enjoyed that book so much, that when I stopped reading it in the late evening hours to sleep, I dreamt about the book.  I find myself wishing I could put me into her storylines, so her books stay with me long after I put them down.

Screenshot from Sarah Addison Allen's website

Sarah Addison Allen’s books are endearing to me because they weave together magical elements with reality so that you believe it’s possible to create potion-like results from cooking with flowers.  Her book Garden Spells was given to me as a gift, and it sat on my shelf for nearly a year before I picked it up.  I took it with me when I flew to Nashville to meet two of my friends for a girls' weekend, and on the way back, I finally cracked open the book.  I fell in love from the first chapter and was taken to a new world with her writing.  Yet again, as soon as I finished that book, I contacted all my reading friends and told them to immediately go out and get the book.  On her website, she states:

Garden Spells, my mainstream debut, didn’t start out as a magical novel. It was supposed to be a simple story about two sisters reconnecting after many years. But then the apple tree started throwing apples and the story took on a life of its own...and my life hasn’t been the same since.

How could you not love an author who says something like that?  Allen's online presence is another thing that compels me to include her in my Fave Five.  When you can friend a favorite author on Facebook, you feel a special connection forevermore.

Screenshot of Jennifer Donnelly's website

I enjoy reading interviews with Jennifer Donnelly because she is so down-to-earth.  She is open about her struggles to balance work and home life--as a mother and author, she’s got obligations galore that I can relate to--on her notes she writes to readers (on her website), and yet she’s a multi-genre author who excels in writing children’s books, young adult fiction, and historical fiction.  Her ability to twine together research about historical periods with fascinating storylines amazes me.  The first book I read by her was Northern Lights, which is one of her young adult books.  When I finished that book, I was so intrigued by her writing that I bought Tea Rose, which is the first book of a historical fiction trilogy.  Part of my love for her books could be attributed to my love of history, but the majority of my love for her books is solely attributed to Donnelly's strong writing.

Screenshot from Marian Keyes's website

I was introduced to Marian Keyes by my friend Kirsty about five years ago.  The first book I borrowed from Kirsty was Sushi for Beginners.  As soon as I finished it, I bought a copy for myself and then borrowed three more books by Keyes.  I am slowly collecting all her books (though I’ve read all but one through borrowing from friends), and I am ecstatic about her newest release, The Brightest Star in the Sky.  One aspect I appreciate about Marian Keyes’s books is that she has brutally honest characters.  They have flaws, and Keyes exploits those flaws perfectly so that I, as a reader, do not judge the characters but root for them to get over the hurdles they are facing.  I love her books so much that I am trying to convince my sister (a fellow Keyes fan) to go on a “Keyes tour” with me, which would include stops in the locations featured in her books (including Dublin and London).

Just looking at the screenshots from the authors' websites can give you an idea of the diversity represented by my Fave Five:  I like a variety of styles, and these ladies produce quality work that boosts my 'joie de lire.'  Who is in your Fave Five?

Happy reading!


Sarah said...

I've haven't read Rebecca yet so I always feel like a bad friend whenever you talk about the book.

Jessie Sams said...

You could never be a bad friend! I do love Rebecca, though... I can promise you this won't be last time you hear about it. :)

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