Ray Bradbury is good for metaphors and originality.
Surely the best author to read is the author you like reading best, and for that very reason. No?
I usually find anything by Fluff is worth a look.
Kilgore Trout and Ned Rifle.
Rifle I sometimes find a bit perplexing, but I’ll second the recommendation for Trout. Why a savvy publisher hasn’t released a Trout anthology is beyond me.
Trout and Bradbury, as above. Also, in no particular order, Flann O’Brien, Cormac McCarthy, Margaret Atwood, Italo Calvino, Ursula LeGuin, and Charles Dickens – names which come to mind because I’ve read them recently. Six months ago, or six months hence, an entirely different set.
Why? Because I like them.
This is really a very difficult question, with as many answers as there are reasons for reading. For example, I’ve just finished “The Big Short”, a factual book by Michael Lewis on the sub-prime scandal, which is really excellent and the best I’ve come across on a subject I’ve wanted to know more about. All the other Michael Lewis books I’ve read have been good reads too. But I’ve also just read “The Snowman” by Jo Nesbo, a very commercial Scandinavian crime thriller with elements of horror from a successful author often compared to Stieg Larsson but who isn’t like him at all; I wanted to see how he does it. (And I think he does it very carefully indeed. If ever there was an advertisement for outlining rather than seat-of-the-pantsing, this must be it.)
But I also agree with PJS’s current list above.
Well that just serves to set in stone that:
a)there ain’t no accounting for taste.
B)Standards are plummeting
C)Irony is alive and well.
An awful lot of SF related writers listed above, “Why is that?” I ask myself.
Michael Lewis’ books on financial markets should be required reading for anyone considering a non-FDIC insured investment. Or just read “Liar’s Poker.” It dates back to the last mortgage crisis, but not much has really changed.
For some of the most beautiful prose by a contemporary author (for my taste, of course): Gregory Maguire. I’m currently rereading “Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister.” I marvel at his skill on every page, oftentimes at every sentence.
Yes, I’m gushing. But honestly, I think he’s superlatively gifted.
I have to agree with you, j. Just read an except on Amazon. His is the kind of voice/prose style that I am fast developing a taste for.
My own copy is now en route to Château K. ETA, end of next week.
Hugh and Katherine bring up an interesting and I think important point: not everything which is written is fiction. Look at how many people are paid for writing, and how much writing gets done, this other category is far larger than fiction, yet it is generally categorized – somewhat dismissively – as non-fiction.
When OP asked for a “best author,” most of us jumped in with fiction writers. Are we snobs, or just forgetful? Two-thirds of what I write, and at least as much of what I read, is this stuff we call non-fiction.
When I last looked, I found it sobering that most if not all of the then-current top-ten UK best-sellers were non-fiction - often reality TV stars’ or comedians’ autobiographies (probably ghosted) it’s true, so the description “non-fiction” has to be used with care, but certainly not the novels many here aspire to or actually work hard to create. Generally contemporary readers seem to prefer “fact” to “fiction”.
A couple of weeks ago, I started reading Middlemarch, by George Eliot.
From the off, I found myself, smiling, chuckling, and/or laughing out loud at Eliot’s intelligent, mischievous überperspicacious grasp of human nature and mores of the era.
Reading Middlmarch vividly brought to mind the sheer pleasure I’d had reading three books written by, Anne Mathews: booknotes.org/Watch/80382-1/ … thews.aspx
Bright College Years, had me laughing out loud. Wild Nights and Where the Buffalo Roam left me awed by the author’s obvious Eliotesque intelligence and competence. They are anything but fiction. I’d pigeon hole them under Brilliant
On the fiction front the same competence jumps off the page at you. The only book I’ve ever read, and then immediately reread, was Deep Creek, co-written with her partner Will Howarth
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anne_Matthews. The only thing I have to say to Mathew’s detriment, is that her taste in men leaves a lot to be desired.
I’m also a great fan of Dr Sam Johnson. I’d have loved to have been a fly on the wall in the coffee houses he frequented.
Hey, those folks are friends of mine, so I showed your perfidious invective to them.
Sadly, they both howled with laughter.
Liar! You ain’t got no friends…only people you owe money to.
- Pay no attention to Druid. Vic-K is the dean of international literary critics.
Blimey! I find myself agreeing with the Dean. It’s an excellent read (which reminds me that I owe the authors a letter).
Cheque’s in the post, kido.