I am busy trying to get my website figured out. My web maven, Erika, says that I can do this. Being severely computer challenged (though not as bad as my mother — love ya, Mom) I am happy one day when everything works out nicely and ready to throw my machine out the door when what seemed like child’s play when Erika showed it to me, now won’t play nice with me.
Well, I did say that I was going to talk about my favorite authors. I am asked all the time which authors are my favorites. Being both an English teacher and a writer, I’m asked that a lot. Suffice to say that my favorites vary depending on if I’m reading for pleasure or business, school or vacation. I love William Shakespeare, Edgar Allan Poe, Leslie Marmon Silko and other Native American authors, Mark Twain, Lord Byron, Mary Shelley, Emily Dickinson, Langston Hughes, Robert Frost, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, and Charles Dickens. See — I’m all over the place. I realize that these days, to read Shakespeare you have to do your homework or see really good actors perform it. But it’s worth it, trust me. Poe was the original Goth and his works are sublime but, again, these days most students need a dictionary by their side to read him. Leslie Marmon Silko. If you haven’t read her novel Ceremony, do it. Go out and pick it up today! It’s a beautiful novel of injury and healing, both physically and spiritually. The rest — you know — you’ve read them in school but I task you to pick them up again. Worth it.
Now, for my vacation reading — I like mysteries, thrillers, and horror. The late Michael Crichton — genius. Steven King — frightening. Dean Koontz — thought-provoking. Laurie R. Smith (The Beekeeper’s Apprentice) writes great additions to the Sherlock Holmes canon and Neil Gaimon’s Anno Dracula is stupendous. I started reading my mother’s books. She had a sewing room — although I never saw her sewing — where she kept all her books. I was ahead of the children’s books we were reading at school so I read hers instead. I developed a love for Mary Stewart and Phyllis Whitney — the closest thing to Romance I’m ever going to read. These days both are sometimes filed under Romance novels but they’re more than that. They’re mysteries with a little romance thrown in. Wonderful beach books. I especially liked Whitney’s The Winter People, Window on the Square, Columbella, and Stewart’s Nine Coaches Waiting, The Ivy Tree, Airs Above the Ground, and Wildfire at Midnight. I especially loved Stewart’s Merlin trilogy, The Crystal Cave, The Hollow Hills, and The Last Enchantment. Later, The Wicked Day. Note: these are good for boys and girls, my loves. No romance to speak of. This is a great way to see the Arthurian legends from a different perspective.
I think of Steven King as the master of modern-day horror and I’m sure many people agree with me. I read every novel of his in order when they came out until It. I was pregnant when I read that little tome and had to put King down for a couple of years, I was so freaked out by the book. I subsequently have picked him up again and he doesn’t disappoint. Michael Crichton’s book Timeline was so interesting I read it night and day until I finished it and started all over again. I love the care he puts into the science fiction (sometimes not so much fiction) and he makes everything seem so plausible…and terrifying. I mean, DNA from a dinosaur to make a theme park? No one but Crichton. Koontz’s book Intensity scared the living bejaysus out of me but he also has his existential moments and who can’t love a guy who loved his golden retriever so much?
I’m not much of a non-fiction fan but Stacy Schiff, author of Cleopatra and The Witches does wonderfully with this genre. If you haven’t read Cleopatra, do it. Schiff tells us a great deal more of the woman of whom Shakespeare wrote in “Antony and Cleopatra:”
Age cannot wither her, nor custom stale
Her infinite variety. (2.2.244)
I just read (in two days) John D. MacDonald’s The Executioners, renamed “Cape Fear” in the movie. I think I’ll have to read some of his Travis McGee novels; this one was good.
Okay, so that’s all for me for today. As you can probably guess, I have a lot more favorite authors but this is all I can think of. Right now, I have to watch Hotel Transylvania with my grandson.
Bye for now,
Naomi (or Brett, if you prefer)