Sure, we all cop to having celebrity crushes (Matt Damon, Mark Ruffalo, Robert Downey Jr.) but as a confirmed book-aholic, I am (probably) more likely to swoon over a writer than an actor. (Technically, I have yet to test this theory but if Matt, Mark and Robert would care to volunteer as the control group, I’d be open to running an experiment to evaluate their respective swoon-factors.) Book-signings reduce me to stammering fan-girl, clutching whatever dog-eared, Post-It-Note-filled tome I’m hoping to get autographed by my literary idol du jour .
So who are my Top Ten Auteurs du Coeur? Who fires my literary blood and sets my pulp fiction pulse racing? Here, in more or less random order, is my current list*:
1. Micheal Chabon – Pulitzer-Prize winner, intellectual powerhouse, self-confessed geek and comic-book lover, Dr. Who fan, and writer of numerous acclaimed novels including The Wonder Boys, The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay, The Yiddish Policeman’s Union among others-- not to mention the screen-play for Spiderman 2-- Michael Chabon also penned what could be the best opening sentence of any novel ever in Gentlemen of the Road. Also, if you listen to him read his audio books, he sounds just a little bit like Mark Ruffalo. Must-reads:The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay; Manhood for Amateurs.
2. Maggie Stiefvater Writer of young adult and fantasy fiction, Maggie Stiefvater has a razor wit that rivals that of Aaron Sorkin, Steve Martin and Tina Fey. Combined. In her pinky finger. Just hang out on her Twitter and Tumblr feeds for awhile…you’ll see. And she’s a kick-ass artist. Oh, and did I mention she also RACES CARS? As in, she owns an ACTUAL RACE CAR. Which she RACES. Maggie Stiefvater is so cool that Cool itself has retired and is probably curled up under the bed in a fetal position chewing its own hair because it just can’t compete with Maggie Stiefvater. Pretty soon, any time something awesome happens, people will just say, “Whoaaaa, that’s so Maggie.” Must-reads:The Scorpio Races; The Raven Cycle (series).
3. Neil Gaiman Because, in the words of the inimitable Amanda Palmer, “He’s Neil-fucking-Gaiman.” Also, he looks and sounds like Professor Snape. Must-reads: The Ocean at the End of the Lane; Coraline.
4. Stephen King Anybody who can write about aliens coming out of the toilet and convince you that this is an absolutely plausible scenario and that it could totally happen to you is king. Period. That ‘King’ also happens to be his last name is a happy coincidence. Even Elvis didn’t have that. Must-reads: On Writing; 11/22/63
5. John Green He’s a champion for free and accessible higher education for all, so really I could just stop right there. Among the many mind-stretching platforms and products he hosts/supports/advocates, John Green is also one half of the gut-clutchingly funny Vlogbrothers (His brother, Hank, is equally awesome.). Now add to that his uncanny (some might say disturbing) ability to channel the teen-age psyche to create of some of the most unflinchingly honest literature for and about young adults ever written and, well…the guy is basically the Ken Kesey of YA. Also, he has adorably fuzzy hair that is probably perfect for rubbing balloons and sticking them to walls at parties. But that’s pure speculation. Must-reads: The Fault in Our Stars; Paper Towns; Looking for Alaska.
6. J.K. Rowling Well, duh. She wrote one of the most famous, best-selling series in the history of planet…when she was a single mother on welfare with an infant. When my kids were infants, I couldn’t even order coffee coherently. Now she’s richer than the queen (literally) and is using her wealth to change the lives of orphans. Must-reads: Really? Do I have to type it out?
7. Madeleine L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time series were the first books I read in which science, fantasy, philosophy and spirituality all collided. 12-yr-old Mind. Blown. It is totally her fault that I am a writer today. Must-reads:A Wrinkle in Time, A Wind in the Door, A Swiftly Tilting Planet.
8. Sting Hey, he wrote a book. He can be on my list if I want him to be. Must-read: Broken Music.
9.Richard Adams Because Watership Down is arguably one of the most perfect books ever written. Must-reads: Watership Down, The Plague Dogs.
10. Erin Morgenstern Have you ever stumbled upon a lost city—like, say, Atlantis or El Dorado—and found, in its innermost sanctum, a gem of unparalleled beauty and rarity? No? Well, just pick up Erin Morgenstern’s The Night Circus. It delivers pretty much the same effect. This book is a work of art with the luminous beauty, delicacy and intricacy of blown glass. Must-read: The Night Circus.
*The author is a fickle creature and reserves the right to amend, revise, re-order or add to this list at any time.