Monday, January 3, 2011

Top 10 Authors

I've read a few books in my time, (in between issues of MAD Magazine) and as such, I have been influenced by them. I saw this list on Facebook, and decided to steal it for my blog. Here now is a list of 10 authors that have somehow made an impact on me in one way or another.

Not only was he arguably the greatest leader of the 20th Century, he was a prolific writer. His memoirs of World War I and World War II stand out as the definitive accounts of the two wars from someone who was there, on the scene. I have read them both, and while long, they paint an amazing portrait of life in the thick of world conflict. Churchill's memory for the facts is only surpassed by his skill with the written word.

As a former Theatre major and actor, I cannot help but put Shakespeare on this list. His plays are the stuff of legend, and I have been in, seen or read most of them. There is a reason he is still relevant in today's world- his works are timeless.

Sure, this may seem like a cop-out pick, but I really think that Harry Potter's creator belongs on this list. With her books about a teenage wizard, she helped me to find joy in reading again. After being forced to read so many books in high school, I had given up on reading for pleasure- until my aunt gave me the first two Harry Potter books. That was it, I was reading for fun again after that.

Forester is here because of his thrilling historical fiction starring British sea captain Horatio Hornblower. The Hornblower series is one of my all time favorites, and really engrosses you with details about life on a ship during the Napoleonic Wars. For a history major, there are few more fun authors out there than Forester.

Of course he is known for his Sherlock Holmes adventures, which I love, but I also like one of his other great creations- The White Company, which is the story of English Longbowmen during the 100 Years War. It is a gift when an author can transport you to another place and time with such detail, and I have always felt that Conan Doyle does this superbly.

I have only read one of his books, but it made an instant impact on me. The book in question is Iron John, a book about men, and why they are the way they are. It is a fascinating read that draws on mythology, science and psychology to help men understand themselves and how to overcome issues that can stem from childhood and society. It was an eye opening read that made me more self aware.

His love of the outdoors and respect for the natural world is what puts Abbey on this list. Through books like The Monkey Wrench Gang and Desert Solitaire, Abbey makes his audience feel more in tune with the environment, and really care about what humanity's role is in relation to the wild, specifically the desert in the American West.

My good friend and poet Joel Long is an inspiration to me both as a teacher and an author. His words are written with such care and passion that they leap off the page. One morning I woke up and was inspired to write some poetry of my own because Joel's words were swimming in my head, having heard him read his poetry aloud the night before.

I have never been able to read anything by Malcolm Gladwell and not have my mind blown. He writes about things that are seemingly so simple with such complexity and depth that he uncovers details most people would never see. His books, as well as his New York Times articles, cover such a wide variety of topics that something he has written that will speak to just about everyone.

I cannot stress enough what Ian Fleming's work has done to inspire me. All you need to know is that James Bond is who I would be if I could be anyone else. No, his writings are not the most sophisticated or complex, but they are fun and harken back to a time when spies and Cold War political intrigue ruled the world. It would be a much less exciting, sexy and dangerous world if Ian Fleming had never penned his Bond novels.

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