The second half of my list of 22 is just as eclectic as the first with writers belonging to a broad spectrum of genres and time periods. Some I’ve read all my life, while others are recent additions to my always growing list of favorite authors. Regardless of when I found them, all 22 writers have inspired me to write with the same spirit of creativity.
For Writers 1-11, please see Part 1
Writers 12-22 in no particular order:
12. Sándor Márai
Márai’s work has only recently been rediscovered and translated into English. He is a Hungarian writer who uses the power of subtlety to convey deeply emotional stories. Márai captures the soul of humanity in his characters, who are so real I feel like I know them personally. Even more impressive are how his stories often seem like he lifted them right out reality.
Favorite Book: Embers
13. Cassandra Clare
Bring on the romance and the demon fighters! Clare knows how to spin quite a yarn that includes everything from action, suspense, love, and the battle between good and evil. Urban fantasy has never been so appealing! Her writing style is clean, fresh, and full of wildly colorful descriptions. I never know where the story is going to go and I’m always surprised when I turn the page.
Favorite Book: City of Bones
14. Ron Currie, Jr.
Currie only has two books to his credit, but they are magnificent pieces of work. His writing is crisp, daring, and openly defiant of convention. In both of his books, he posits some pretty tough questions about what truly matters in life and how much we take for granted. The real beauty of it all is his encouragement for readers to answer those questions for themselves.
Favorite Book: Everything Matters
15. William Shakespeare
When Mr. Miller taught me how to read Shakespeare in 11th grade, it was like he opened a window to a whole new world. My love and appreciation for Shakespeare’s work only grew when I saw theater productions of Othello and A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Ultimately, Shakespeare nails lyrical prose and is a keen observer of human behavior.
Favorite Works: Othello and The Sonnets
16. Paulo Coelho
When I read The Alchemist, I went out and bought a copy for just about everyone I know. Coelho’s spiritual and philosophical style elicits contemplation and enlightenment. His belief in the individual spirit and the importance of following your heart comes through in almost every one of his works. Whenever I falter, I look to the wisdom in his stories to pull me back on track.
Favorite Book: The Alchemist
17. Yu Hua
Hua’s body of work delves into the darker corners of Chinese history and familial ties. He focuses on the Cultural Revolution and the devastating impact it had on families and friendships. Where other writers would lean towards the political atmosphere, Hua keeps the focus on the human condition. In doing this, he creates a more accurate portrayal of China’s cultural history than any history textbook could dream of accomplishing.
Favorite Book: Chronicles of a Blood Merchant
18. Beatrix Potter
I remember my grandmother reading Beatrix Potter to me when I was child. Even then I understood the genius of Peter Rabbit or Benjamin Bunny. Potter mastered the fine balance between simplicity and distinctive description, a talent that makes her books pure magic to anyone who picks them up.
Favorite Book: The Story of a Fierce Bad Rabbit
19. Amy Ephron
Ephron writes fantastic historical fiction that takes place in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. What sets her apart is her ability to use an era as a set piece rather than a focal point. Her characters and stories could easily be pulled out and transferred to any time period as they are infinitely intriguing and realistic. However, Ephron’s real talent lies in crafting surprise endings. My mouth has fallen open more than once after reading the last line.
Favorite Book: A Cup of Tea
20. Benjamin Lebert
Lebert is a German writer who explores the backstreets of adolescence with a blunt and honest perspective. He holds nothing back as he exposes everything from drug addiction, bullying, sex, and emotional angst. More remarkable still, he was brave enough to do it at just 16 years old. His young voice is provocative, intelligent, and deserves to be heard. While his first novel Crazy was phenomenal, his second absolutely blew me away.
Favorite Book: The Bird is a Raven
21. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
Mysteries are not usually my cup of tea, but I can’t resist Sherlock Holmes. Doyle creates truly unique characters and spins fascinating tales of murder and intrigue. His writing sparkles with witty dialogue and countless twists that always keep me guessing. Working a case with Holmes is always a spirited adventure!
Favorite Work: The Speckled Band
22. Walter Farley
I was probably around 10 years old when I first read The Black Stallion and I still remember every part of that book from start to finish. Farley’s story of a young boy and his horse showed me how beautiful the connection between man and animal can be. Walter Farley is a huge reason why I fell in love with reading and I can’t thank him enough for leaving such a strong impression on me as a writer. My original Black Stallion book still sits on my shelf.
Favorite Book: The Black Stallion
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What writers would make your list of 22? If you take up the challenge, please post a link that leads to your list!