Some Favorites

The other day, I thought about the authors who are no longer with us whose books I’ve read all of, or if not all, at least a majority of them (or a specific series by them if their writing crossed more than one genre). Those authors are below. I purposely didn’t include authors who are writing now, because there are too many to list and I did not want to insult anyone by forgetting him or her. So, only dead authors made the list. Some favorites I also didn’t include because the author wrote one book that I loved, but  died before writing another one (like Mary Ann Shaffer, who wrote The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, but died before the book was through the editing phase).

Jane Austen (including the unfinished books)

L. Frank Baum (including books by other authors who continued his Oz series)

Agatha Christie (started reading her books probably when I was ten)

Charles Dickens

Madeleine L’Engle

Ursula Le Guin (the Earthsea books that is)

C.S. Lewis (fiction and nonfiction though the book at the right does not count as strictly nonfiction, since it is an allegory based on events in the author’s life)

George MacDonald (the fairy tales)

Ellis Peters (at one point I couldn’t get enough of her Cadfael series)

Terry Pratchett (his Discworld series is one of my favorite series ever)

Dorothy Sayers (the Lord Peter Wimsey books, but not the one finished by another author)

Shakespeare (read him in high school and took two classes in college—we had to read a ton)

J. R. R. Tolkien (definitely among the top favorites)

The books in the photos are those I grabbed off the shelf and don’t necessarily represent my absolute favorite by said author, though some are. Many of these authors became known to me when I was an English major in college. Some I began reading when I was a kid. Others were introduced to me by readers who loved them. After reading one or two books, I loved them too.

This list is not the complete list of all of the authors whose books occupied many of my reading hours. These are the ones I thought of off the top of my head mainly because I happened to be near the bookshelves that house my adult fiction, or I was in a conversation and a particular author was mentioned. I don’t have an explanation for why some authors became such favorites that I grabbed whatever books they wrote. There are some authors whose books are favorites—but I have read only a few of their books for some reason. Consequently, they did not make the list. 😊

Are any of these your favorites? Are there authors whose books you will read no matter what they write? Feel free to share!

Now on to the real reason for this post: to announce the winners of Film Makers: 15 Groundbreaking Women Directors and the upcoming young adult novel, Torch, by Lyn Miller-Lachmann. (Click here for the interview with Lyn.)


The winner of Film Makers: 15 Groundbreaking Women Directors is Andy!
The winner of Torch is Nancy!

Thank you to all who commented!

Photos by L. Marie, except for the books and author photo of Lyn Miller-Lachmann.

56 thoughts on “Some Favorites

  1. I loved The Lion The Witch and The Wardrobe ever since it was read to us at junior school and later on I found The Screwtape Letters hilarious. So yes to CS Lewis and I think I could do with some comfort reading of Brother Caedfael. Dickens and Austen a big yes. Comfort reading reminds me of Jerome K Jerome and Three Men in a Boat to add to my list.

    • Someone else mentioned Three Men in a Boat, which I’ve never read. So I might have to rectify that!
      Comfort reading is the thing to do nowadays!

  2. Thanks for this exhaustive list, L. Marie. I am familiar with most of the titles and recall reading (and then teaching) Shakespeare’s MacBeth. I did not know that “Mary Ann Shaffer, who wrote The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, died before the book was through the editing phase). How sad–she never knew how well her book was received, or that it was made into an acclaimed movie. I don’t know her medical history, but I do know writing is hard work and can take a toll, if not physically, then emotionally.

    You come up with the most intriguing titles, unique too. Thanks! 😀

    • It’s understandable. I didn’t know about it until the PBS Mystery series starring Derek Jacobi as Cadfael. (I think it is available on Amazon Prime.) I highly recommend them. She numbered them, so if you read them, try to read them in order if you can, because changes happen in Cadfael’s life. Back in the day, just finding the books I hadn’t read was very difficult, because they couldn’t be found in the States.

    • Yay! I’m always glad to mention books to people! Some of these I read for school or for work. Some of the pages have fallen out of Northanger Abbey, which is the copy I bought when I was an undergraduate!

    • Yes. Ruth Plumly Thompson, Roger Baum, Edward Einhorn are just a few, though Ruth wrote the most out of this group. I have a lot of her books. They’re not easy to find though.

      • Some are rare, probably because they werenn’t written by Baum himself. But like many old books, they are hard to find. Roger is Baum’s great-grandson. I read one of his books, Dorothy of Oz, which I found at the library. That was when I learned that Roger Baum existed! 😊 Never saw any of his other books, though he has more. But I knew about Ruth.

  3. The best part of this post? “The books in the photos are those I grabbed off the shelf…”
    I envision a well worn selection of books within glorious bookcases, with some also stacked outside of those bookcases. Homey, and atmospheric. Perhaps cramping living space, but worth it as the alternative is holding a devise and scrolling pages without the leisure of leafing through the real pages of a book in hand and gazing upon one’s collection.
    Yeah, I know it’s a balance of the technologies. Just the fact that you grabbed books off the shelf rather than grabbed an image off the internet speaks volumes (unintentional but relevant pun!)
    Congrats Andy & Nancy!

    • Laura, your description is pretty spot on. 😊😊 I have to laugh at how accurate it is. I’m looking at a bunch stacked on the floor in front of a wicker chest in my living room, and books stacked on the bookshelves that I haven’t reshelved. My nephew calls me old school, and that’s true. I have the Kindle app, but I greatly prefer print books. In my writing, I have to refer to a lot of books. So I’m grateful that I could go to the bookshelves and grab what I did.

  4. Oh yes, we share several favourites! Dickens and Christie of course, and Austen. I haven’t read as much CS Lewis as you since his non-fiction has never appealed to me, but I loved the Narnia books and re-read them till they fell apart. Loved Cadfael and have recently been acquiring some of them to revisit (I think I read library books mostly first time round). Shakespeare I always preferred to watch than read and have been lucky enough to see some great performances in London and Stratford over the years. And Tolkien, of course, though I haven’t ventured much beyond LotR and The Hobbit. Great choices! 😀

    • FictionFan, I thought of you as I made this list, wondering what you would have on yours. Dalziel and Pascoe? Dickens and Christie, yes. Certainly not Steinbeck. 😊

    • If you like medieval crime-solving monks, I recommend the Cadfael series or at least the PBS Mystery series if you haven’t already partaken of it.

  5. Your favorites are some of my favorites ~ Dickens, Austin, Christie, etc. Did you ever read Ella Minnow Pea? If not, you might want to check it out.

    And, yay! I won Torch! Cool beans! Let me know if you need me to resend my contact info. Like you, I prefer print books to e-books if that is an option.

  6. That’s a great list. Strange to say, I didn’t start reading Dickens until I was out of college. (I wasn’t an English major.) I loved not only his stories but also all the little details of his writing.

    Today I was looking through my bookshelf for SPEAK MEMORY by Vladimir Nabokov, and I saw so many good books I haven’t read in a long, long time. I should go back and choose some to reread.

  7. In college I wrote a long research paper about Agatha Christie’s Miss Marple series. I was smitten with them, but haven’t read one in years. This post makes me wonder if I’d still like Miss Marple. Seems like there’s an easy way to find out!

    • Ooo. What a great subject for a paper, Ally. I hope you still like them. I love the audiobooks narrated by Joan Hickson. Back when I commuted to work, I used to grab some of them from the library to listen to on the long drive.

  8. Thank you very much! I look forward to reading it 🙂

    What a great post-it’s has got me thinking now about whose works or series that I’ve read all of. Think I will have to do a similar post soon 🙂

  9. Congratulations to Andy and Nancy! I at least know all the authors you mention here although I haven’t read all the books. I’ll have to look for the Cadfael series on Amazon. I remember watching it when it first came out on PBS (?). I love Dereck Jacobi.

  10. You have some of the best books on your shelf! They’re well loved, which means all their words stayed with you. Thank you for this tribute to authors who are no longer with us but left us with great literature.

  11. Conrad, Dickens, and Maugham—I read each of Dickens’ novels five times and became so satiated with them that I quit cold Turkey. But I think I’m getting close to a relapse. Conrad was my first novelist—he turned me on to the genre at 11 (clueless and in need of a book for a book report—a random pick) and didn’t pick him up again until I was 70, then binge read him. I stumbled on to The Razor’s Edge in college, but did not pick him up until I was in my late 60s, and read his novels.

    • In college, I read a lot of Dickens’s novels. Some Maugham and Conrad too. But more Dickens than anything else. I return to him from time to time.

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