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

The Mortal Instruments: Revisiting the Teenage Years

I just finished The Mortal Instruments series, books one through four, by Cassandra Clare. The series is based around sixteen-year old Clary Fray, who unbeknownst to her, is a shadow hunter. Shadow hunters fight the demons in the world and generally are invisible to humans. There are lots of fight scenes, angel and biblical mythology, as well as some vampires, werewolves, and warlocks. All in all, a fun read.

And, I did like it. But I’m sitting here trying to figure out exactly why. To be perfectly honest, the lead female protagonist was kind of annoying. She was always jumping into things, not thinking, putting herself and the people she cares about in danger.

But then I realize that is the essence of being a teenager. You have little to no impulse control. Every crush is the love of your life and all consuming. And you simply don’t think about the consequences of your actions. Moreover, you have fewer responsibilities than you will have in only a few short years. Looking back, it was full of angst and difficulty, but it truly the freest time in a person’s life.

And I think that’s why I liked these books. As an adult, I am always weighing the consequences of my actions and my speech. I can’t just say what I want to whomever I want. Because I know how damaging words can be. And crushes are no longer all consuming. They can’t be there are too many other possibilities to consider.

Okay, granted, I am married, so it’s been a while. But even if I were free to have an actable crush, at my age, it wouldn’t be a teenage crush – that all consuming think about one guy and nothing else. Because my life as an adult has a lot of ‘else.’ And if I lose focus, a lot of other people and things are affected.

Now granted as I read over this, it makes me sound like an automaton. Not true. I’m just a grown up. But as an adult, it’s nice to disappear into a world where you are free to make any decision you want without worry about consequences, to be completely consumed by passion and forget about everything else. To vicariously live the experience of being a teenager in its best ways, without any of the awkward hair moments.

So if you’re looking to escape back to your younger, freer, self take a stroll through the world of The Mortal Instruments. And sit back and enjoy the ride!