Authors I Love, Books I Love

Playing Favorites

I was on a fellow author’s website the other day and under his bio he had a list of his favorites: Favorite color, favorite drink, etc.  I thought that was a good idea.  But I decided to limit mine to favorite books.

Favorite Author:  Tie: James Rollins and JD Robb

Favorite Sci FI Book:  Ender’s Game by Scott Oswald Card

Favorite Action AdventureJurassic Park by Michael Crichton

Favorite Romance:   A Knight in Shining Armor by Jude Deveraux

Favorite Horror:  Cabinet of Curiosities by Lincoln Child and Douglas Preston (not sure it belongs here but that’s what popped into my head)

Favorite Book I was Required to Read:  I’m completely blank on this one.

Favorite Kid Book:  But Not the Hippopotamus by Sandra Boynton

Favorite Comic Strip:  Calvin and Hobbes

Favorite Kids Series(Read as an Adult):   Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling

Favorites Kid Series (Read as a Child): The Famous Five by Enid Blyton

Favorite Mind Blowing Book:  The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown

Favorite Food:  Hamburger (Just seeing if you’re paying attention.)

Favorite Guilty Pleasure Series:  The Twilight Series by Stephanie Meyers

Favorite Genre:  Thriller

As I look over my list, I agree with each statement.  Yet, I also realize that not one of the books by my favorite authors can be found in any of the above categories.   But Rollins and Robb are, without a doubt, my favorite authors. Whenever I see their name on a book, I pick it up without question.  Sometimes I don’t even bother reading the description before purchasing it.

So why weren’t my favorite authors responsible for my favorites reads? Because I assume I’m going to enjoy whatever they publish. My favorites, on the other hand, were a unique occurrence. I wasn’t expecting to enjoy the book as much as I did.

I’ve read other books by those authors but they don’t grab me the same way. Even though they wrote one of my favorite books, I am not a guaranteed customer for their next publication. I’d read the blurb and decide if it worked for me. So being thrilled by their book was a happy surprise, but not the beginning of a life long love of all the author’s works.

There was some recent research on best sellers that somewhat backs that up. The authors that are the most successful are those with a dedicated readership who publish regularly. And most of them do not dominate the number one spot for weeks and weeks. They do however make the list of the top sellers year after year.

For others, they are a bit of a one hit wonder. By the next year, they are off the list.

Anybody else find their favorites coming from their non-favorite authors? Feel free to comment below.  🙂

Authors I Love, Books I Love

A ‘Drop Everything Until You Finish It’ Book: Ender’s Game.

Aaah, the joy of finding a new author to love!  Is there truly anything better?  And last weekend, I found one.  I was at the movies and a preview for Ender’s Game came on.  It looked intriguing, especially when they said it was based on the international best-selling book.  I thought, hmm, that’s weird I haven’t heard of it.  So when I got home, I looked it up.  It was published in 1985, when I was twelve.  I forgave myself for not being aware of it.

Then  I picked up the original version (there’s also a movie tie-in version), and brought it home.  And if  it had been an option, I would have ignored the rest of the world for the next twenty four hours.  It’s one of those books.  You know the type, you just wish the word would go away so you could finish the story without interruption.

Enders Game by Orson Scott Card is set way in the future after we have been visited by aliens whom we were barely able to repel. In response, the world unites to find the best and the brightest to be the future military officers who will finally defeat this foe.  And where do they look?  At the children.  And the lucky(?) chosen are sent to Battle School, in space, where they are cut off from all family and friends.

Andrew Higgins, aka Ender, is chosen.  But not only is he chosen, he is believed to be THE best and the brightest.  He is to be groomed to lead the entire fleet.  At the ripe old age of six, he is placed in Battle School and he has to grow up.  Fast.

Okay, so far, it sounds like your run of the mill sci-fi adventure.  But it is not.  Card does an incredible job of letting you see the world and the people around Ender through Ender’s eyes.  And those eyes, albeit, young are sharp and wise beyond their years.  Yet, at the same time, his thoughts are still tinged with a child-like vulnerability.  You want the best for Ender, especially when those around him seem determined to make life for him as difficult as possible to prepare him to lead.

It is both heart breaking and inspiring to see Ender shoulder the responsibility placed on his young shoulders.  You root for him, cry for him, and just wish the world could give him a break.  Or maybe a friend.  At the same time, you see the logic in his decisions.  And the action!  It is page turning and chock full.

When trying to come up with a similar book, I naturally thought of The Hunger Games.  But then I realized that wasn’t true.  The sci-fi and action are only a backdrop for the story.  Not the focus.  The story is about human interactions and perseverance.   Which made me realize it is actually like another favorite of mine, The Power of One by Bryce Courtenay.  They are both stories about boys who realize the incredible power they both hold.  That power comes from their commitment to make a difference.

After I finished the book (and, yes, I did that in one day), I went out and bought five more books from the series.  I am officially an Orson Scott Card groupie.  So if you need a new reading addiction, check out Ender’s Game.  But be warned, your life may have to go on hold until you finish it!  🙂