Who is your favorite fiction author and what is your favorite book of theirs?

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beernutz
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Who is your favorite fiction author and what is your favorite book of theirs?

Post by beernutz » Fri Jul 10, 2020 1:26 pm

I am inspired by several of the recent boglehead threads on reading to ask, who is your favorite fiction author and what is their best work in your opinion and why. Please narrow it down to 1 author, 1 book. I'll start:

The High Window by Raymond Chandler

First off, Chandler is my favorite author as I've read every one of his novels and short stories multiple times which I can't say about any other author. The High Window is not one of his better known works like the ones made into movies such as The Long Goodbye or Farewell, My Lovely but it has all the Chandleresque metaphors* and snappy banter you could want while also including memorable characters and maybe his most plausible and coherent plot.

* After a moment I pushed my chair back and went over to the french windows. I opened the screens and stepped out on to the porch. The night was all around, soft and quiet. The white moonlight was cold and clear, like the justice we dream of but don't find.
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Re: Who is your favorite fiction author and what is your favorite book of theirs?

Post by 7eight9 » Fri Jul 10, 2020 1:34 pm

Confessions of a Yakuza - Junichi Saga

Close runner-up would be Platform - Michel Houellebacq

For favorite author (gonzo journalism) - Hunter S. Thompson - Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. It is why I'm here.
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Re: Who is your favorite fiction author and what is your favorite book of theirs?

Post by TomatoTomahto » Fri Jul 10, 2020 1:43 pm

In the Raymond Chandler line, I’d have to add Jim Thompson The Killer Inside Me and Dashiell Hammett.

I don’t read much fiction, but I guess favorite would be Milan Kundera’s Book of Laughter and Forgetting.
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Re: Who is your favorite fiction author and what is your favorite book of theirs?

Post by Alaric » Fri Jul 10, 2020 2:38 pm

Below is the famous opening of Raymond Chandler's short story Red Wind:
There was a desert wind blowing that night. It was one of those hot dry Santa Anas that come down through the mountain passes and curl your hair and make your nerves jump and your skin itch. On nights like that every booze party ends in a fight. Meek little wives feel the edge of the carving knife and study their husbands' necks. Anything can happen. You can even get a full glass of beer at a cocktail lounge.

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Re: Who is your favorite fiction author and what is your favorite book of theirs?

Post by tenkuky » Fri Jul 10, 2020 2:41 pm

Watership Down by Richard Adams
Never look at a bunny rabbit the same again

Men will never rest till they've spoiled the earth and destroyed the animals

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Re: Who is your favorite fiction author and what is your favorite book of theirs?

Post by Halicar » Fri Jul 10, 2020 2:57 pm

If I had to narrow it down, it would either be William Faulkner's As I Lay Dying or Vladimir Nabokov's Lolita. I think the two books are actually very similar in how they both tell horrific and repugnant stories in such a way that the reader doesn't really catch on, and so becomes complicit.

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Re: Who is your favorite fiction author and what is your favorite book of theirs?

Post by DigitalJanitor » Fri Jul 10, 2020 3:00 pm

Patrick O'Brian, his Aubrey/Maturin series (starting with Master and Commander). Doesn't get much better. Great characters, great stories, great story arc.

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Re: Who is your favorite fiction author and what is your favorite book of theirs?

Post by Van » Fri Jul 10, 2020 3:01 pm

Steinbeck. Grapes of Wrath.

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Re: Who is your favorite fiction author and what is your favorite book of theirs?

Post by Starfish » Fri Jul 10, 2020 3:22 pm

Marques, A century of solitude. Extraordinary.
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Re: Who is your favorite fiction author and what is your favorite book of theirs?

Post by delamer » Fri Jul 10, 2020 3:24 pm

Arthur Conan Doyle.

The Hound of the Baskervilles (since I have to pick one Sherlock Holmes story).

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Re: Who is your favorite fiction author and what is your favorite book of theirs?

Post by Artful Dodger » Fri Jul 10, 2020 3:29 pm

DigitalJanitor wrote:
Fri Jul 10, 2020 3:00 pm
Patrick O'Brian, his Aubrey/Maturin series (starting with Master and Commander). Doesn't get much better. Great characters, great stories, great story arc.
I enjoy his books as well. I do think the earlier ones are better, though all are an enjoyable read.

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Re: Who is your favorite fiction author and what is your favorite book of theirs?

Post by Artful Dodger » Fri Jul 10, 2020 3:34 pm

I have a lot of favorite authors, and am glad I branched out a few years ago to read more serious works and classics.

The book I keep going back to is The Lord of the Rings by JRR Tolkien. I think I’ve read it eight or nine times since I first came upon it in jr high school.

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Re: Who is your favorite fiction author and what is your favorite book of theirs?

Post by mindboggling » Fri Jul 10, 2020 3:34 pm

Salman Rushdie...Midnight's Children
William Burroughs...Naked Lunch
Thomas Pynchon...V
Donna Tartt...The Goldfinch
Vladimir Nabokov...Pale Fire
Mervlyn Peake...Gormanghast Trilogy (first 2 books)
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Re: Who is your favorite fiction author and what is your favorite book of theirs?

Post by DigitalJanitor » Fri Jul 10, 2020 3:37 pm

Van wrote:
Fri Jul 10, 2020 3:01 pm
Steinbeck. Grapes of Wrath.
And that was my second choice, though it was a tough call.

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Re: Who is your favorite fiction author and what is your favorite book of theirs?

Post by Suntan1 » Fri Jul 10, 2020 3:42 pm

Many, many years ago I read Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell. Modern technology will make big brother come alive :twisted: . Prescient author.

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Re: Who is your favorite fiction author and what is your favorite book of theirs?

Post by BogleTaxPro » Fri Jul 10, 2020 3:44 pm

Ray Bradbury, Dandelion Wine. It's NOT science fiction, it's a wonderful depiction of life in small town america.

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Re: Who is your favorite fiction author and what is your favorite book of theirs?

Post by BogleTaxPro » Fri Jul 10, 2020 3:48 pm

Suntan1 wrote:
Fri Jul 10, 2020 3:42 pm
Many, many years ago I read Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell. Modern technology will make big brother come alive :twisted: . Prescient author.
+1

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Re: Who is your favorite fiction author and what is your favorite book of theirs?

Post by jacoavlu » Fri Jul 10, 2020 3:51 pm

Cormac McCarthy, border trilogy

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Re: Who is your favorite fiction author and what is your favorite book of theirs?

Post by Texgal17 » Fri Jul 10, 2020 3:56 pm

Lonesome Dove, Larry McMurtry
His son James McMurtry, is an awesome singer-songwriter as well. I’ve seen him in concert a few times....

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Re: Who is your favorite fiction author and what is your favorite book of theirs?

Post by jeep5ter » Fri Jul 10, 2020 3:59 pm

Preston and Child. The Ice Limit.

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Re: Who is your favorite fiction author and what is your favorite book of theirs?

Post by Nicolas » Fri Jul 10, 2020 4:00 pm

Mark Twain — Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.
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Re: Who is your favorite fiction author and what is your favorite book of theirs?

Post by Raybo » Fri Jul 10, 2020 4:15 pm

I realize this isn't the topic, but I rarely read fiction. Instead, I thought I'd add my favorite non-fiction author. It is Eric Larson. He has written several excellent books: The Devil In the White City, Dead Wake, The Splendid and the Vile (newest). I've read them all.

The one I liked the most is In The Garden of Beasts, an amazing story about America's Ambassador to Germany in the early 1930s and his promiscuous daughter.
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Re: Who is your favorite fiction author and what is your favorite book of theirs?

Post by Clever_Username » Fri Jul 10, 2020 4:29 pm

It has been a long while since I've had a chance to really sit down and enjoy a book of fiction, but back when I did, my two favorite authors were Tom Clancy and Harry Turtledove. My favorite Clancy novel was probably Clear and Present Danger and with Turtledove, the WorldWar series. The latter is an interesting "aliens invade Earth" story, but the aliens show up in June of 1942.

I remember really enjoying Kim Robinson's trilogy about Mars colonization, but I haven't read any of his other works, so I don't know.
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Re: Who is your favorite fiction author and what is your favorite book of theirs?

Post by doctorfaust » Fri Jul 10, 2020 4:30 pm

My favorite book, depending on my mood when you ask me, is either William Goldman's The Princess Bride (also my favorite movie), or Neal Stephenson's Snow Crash.

However my favorite AUTHOR (AKA considering their whole body of work) would be Terry Pratchett. And my favorite of his is Night Watch.

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Re: Who is your favorite fiction author and what is your favorite book of theirs?

Post by 123 » Fri Jul 10, 2020 4:32 pm

BogleTaxPro wrote:
Fri Jul 10, 2020 3:44 pm
Ray Bradbury, Dandelion Wine. It's NOT science fiction, it's a wonderful depiction of life in small town america.
+1 My favorites as well.
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Re: Who is your favorite fiction author and what is your favorite book of theirs?

Post by jebmke » Fri Jul 10, 2020 4:33 pm

Suntan1 wrote:
Fri Jul 10, 2020 3:42 pm
Many, many years ago I read Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell. Modern technology will make big brother come alive :twisted: . Prescient author.
I re-read this early last summer. In my re-read queue is Gulliver's Travels by Swift. edit: also "The Machine Stops" - a novella by EM Forster.
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Re: Who is your favorite fiction author and what is your favorite book of theirs?

Post by Broken Man 1999 » Fri Jul 10, 2020 4:44 pm

I read a lot of books by Jonathan Kellerman, and his wife Fay Kellerman.

They each have a series of books of their own.

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Re: Who is your favorite fiction author and what is your favorite book of theirs?

Post by johan_s » Fri Jul 10, 2020 4:50 pm

The Collected Stories of Breece DJ Pancake - short stories and his only publication - or for a repeat writer -
Killing Commendatore - Haruki Murakami

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Re: Who is your favorite fiction author and what is your favorite book of theirs?

Post by BGeste » Fri Jul 10, 2020 5:04 pm

Frederick Forsyth - Day of the Jackal

close second - Elmore Leonard - Unknown Man No. 89

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Re: Who is your favorite fiction author and what is your favorite book of theirs?

Post by mindboggling » Fri Jul 10, 2020 5:19 pm

Texgal17 wrote:
Fri Jul 10, 2020 3:56 pm
Lonesome Dove, Larry McMurtry
His son James McMurtry, is an awesome singer-songwriter as well. I’ve seen him in concert a few times....
Yes, yes, yes to both of them! :beer
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Re: Who is your favorite fiction author and what is your favorite book of theirs?

Post by AK1236 » Fri Jul 10, 2020 5:28 pm

Louis L'Amour, Guns of the Timberlands
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Re: Who is your favorite fiction author and what is your favorite book of theirs?

Post by captpete » Fri Jul 10, 2020 5:32 pm

DigitalJanitor wrote:
Fri Jul 10, 2020 3:00 pm
Patrick O'Brian, his Aubrey/Maturin series (starting with Master and Commander). Doesn't get much better. Great characters, great stories, great story arc.
+1

Also Maurice Druon‘s “The Accursed Kings” series

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Re: Who is your favorite fiction author and what is your favorite book of theirs?

Post by Woodshark » Fri Jul 10, 2020 5:51 pm

I have to admit to a decades old addiction to anything by John D. Mcdonald. His Travis McGee series in particular.

“I know just enough about myself to know I cannot settle for one of those simplifications which indignant people seize upon to make understandable a world too complex for their comprehension. Astrology, health food, flag waving, bible thumping, Zen, nudism, nihilism—all of these are grotesque simplifications which small dreary people adopt in the hope of thereby finding The Answer, because the very concept that maybe there is no answer, never has been, never will be, terrifies them.”
― John D. MacDonald, A Deadly Shade of Gold: A Travis McGee Novel

“If there was one sunset every twenty years, how would people react to them? If there were ten seashells in all the world, what would they be worth? If people could make love just once a year, how carefully would they pick their mates?”
― John D. MacDonald, One Fearful Yellow Eye: A Travis McGee Novel

"Bugs would eat the wax. Chaw the old canvas. And one day there will be a mutation, and we will have new ones that can digest concrete, dissolve steel and suck up the acid puddles, fatten on magic plastics, lick their slow way through glass. Then the cities will tumble and man will be chased back into the sea from which he came...”
― John D. MacDonald, The Deep Blue Good-By
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Re: Who is your favorite fiction author and what is your favorite book of theirs?

Post by nisiprius » Fri Jul 10, 2020 5:53 pm

I have too many "favorites." My secret guilty pleasure is Lee Child's Jack Reacher series.

Among thriller, spy, and detective writers: John D. MacDonald, and not just the Travis McGee series. Maybe my favorite among all of them is Please Write for Details.

I would have to say Nevil Shute is high on my list of favorites. Oddly enough, in my opinion his most famous book, On the Beach isn't even close to being his best. I much prefer The Trustee from the Toolroom, A Town like Alice, An Old Captivity, The Chequer-Board, and Round the Bend.

Jack London is one of my favorites, but I don't think any of his novels is really first-rate, not even The Call of the Wild. He's at his best in his short stories, so I guess my "favorite book" of his would be any good short-story anthology, as long as it includes "Samuel," "The Apostate," "The Mexican," "All Gold Canyon," "Love of Life," and "To Build a Fire." It's not a great short story but I am very fond of his science-fiction story, "The Shadow and the Flash," particularly because it plays on the mistaken idea that something that is perfectly black, and thus reflects no light, must be invisible. It is quite a nice little intellectual puzzle to explain clearly why that is not true. (In the story, a character says "But we see black objects in daylight," and another one insists "Very true, and that is because they are not perfectly black." I thought of this constantly when I was listening to a recent podcast about Vantablack and other extremely black nanotube pigments.
Last edited by nisiprius on Fri Jul 10, 2020 5:59 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Who is your favorite fiction author and what is your favorite book of theirs?

Post by hicabob » Fri Jul 10, 2020 5:53 pm

Kurt Vonnegut. Hard to pick a favorite since I have devoured them all but perhaps Slaughterhouse-Five.

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Re: Who is your favorite fiction author and what is your favorite book of theirs?

Post by nisiprius » Fri Jul 10, 2020 5:57 pm

John D. MacDonald's Travis McGee novels, Lee Child's Jack Reacher novels, and Robert Parker's Spenser novels, great as they are, all suffer from a common fault, which is that the central character has the verbal skills, and the interest in words and language, of a writer, and sees things from what is too-obviously a writer's point of view. In Parker, of course, this is explicit in the very name Spenser and the titles of all the earlier novels, all literary references.
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Re: Who is your favorite fiction author and what is your favorite book of theirs?

Post by WildBill » Fri Jul 10, 2020 6:14 pm

Howdy

Rex Stout, and just about any of his Nero Wolfe stories. I love hanging out at the brownstone with Archie Goodwin and Nero.

I like Travis McGee and John MacDonald also, but Archie is much less pretentious as a narrator and a lot more fun.

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Re: Who is your favorite fiction author and what is your favorite book of theirs?

Post by johan_s » Fri Jul 10, 2020 6:29 pm

hicabob wrote:
Fri Jul 10, 2020 5:53 pm
Kurt Vonnegut. Hard to pick a favorite since I have devoured them all but perhaps Slaughterhouse-Five.
Mother Night seems appropriate these days.

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Re: Who is your favorite fiction author and what is your favorite book of theirs?

Post by TheGiantess » Fri Jul 10, 2020 6:35 pm

There are so many. A few of my favorites..
The Temple of My Familiar by Alice Walker
Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood
House of Sand and Fog by Andre Dubus III
The World According To Garp by John Irving
Because it is Bitter and Because it is My Heart by Joyce Carol Oates
One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest by Ken Kesey
Storming Heaven by Denise Giardina

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Re: Who is your favorite fiction author and what is your favorite book of theirs?

Post by telemark » Fri Jul 10, 2020 6:37 pm

Mary Renault. All her books are good, but if I had to choose one it would be The King Must Die, because it has the Bull Court in it. It's also the epitome of how historical fiction should be written: a realistic novel set in the 17th century B.C., told from the viewpoint of someone of that period. We now can find different explanations for many of the events described, but those are not the explanations that would have occurred to anyone at the time.

Also great: any of George MacDonald Fraser's Flashman books. There's so much history they don't teach in school.

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Re: Who is your favorite fiction author and what is your favorite book of theirs?

Post by Lambert Strether » Fri Jul 10, 2020 6:44 pm

Philip Roth, American Pastoral. Roth joined the club of wonderful writers ignored by the Nobel Prize committee (e.g., Marcel Proust, Henry James). I might choose differently some other day, but I'm happy with this.

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Re: Who is your favorite fiction author and what is your favorite book of theirs?

Post by zanerta » Fri Jul 10, 2020 6:55 pm

Mother Night by Vonnegut and Catch-22 by Joseph Heller

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Re: Who is your favorite fiction author and what is your favorite book of theirs?

Post by Fletch » Fri Jul 10, 2020 6:56 pm

Number One: Edgar Allen Poe - The Raven (runners up - most of his short stories)

The rest in no particular order:

Louis L'Amour - Everything he wrote, and especially the Sackett series

Frederick Forsythe - Day of the Jackal (runners up - most everything else he wrote)

Ayn Rand - Atlas Shrugged

John D. McDonald - The Green Ripper (runners up - the rest of the Travis McGee series)

Michael Crichton - The Andromeda Strain (runners up - the rest of his books)

Tom Clancy - Everything he wrote, especially The Hunt for Red October
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Re: Who is your favorite fiction author and what is your favorite book of theirs?

Post by Texgal17 » Fri Jul 10, 2020 7:10 pm

mindboggling wrote:
Fri Jul 10, 2020 5:19 pm
Texgal17 wrote:
Fri Jul 10, 2020 3:56 pm
Lonesome Dove, Larry McMurtry
His son James McMurtry, is an awesome singer-songwriter as well. I’ve seen him in concert a few times....
Yes, yes, yes to both of them! :beer
:sharebeer

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Re: Who is your favorite fiction author and what is your favorite book of theirs?

Post by abuss368 » Fri Jul 10, 2020 7:11 pm

The last fiction book I read was from Mario Puzo “The Last Don”
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Re: Who is your favorite fiction author and what is your favorite book of theirs?

Post by BenBritt » Fri Jul 10, 2020 7:23 pm

Fitzgerald -----The Great Gatsby!

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Re: Who is your favorite fiction author and what is your favorite book of theirs?

Post by Vanguard Fan 1367 » Fri Jul 10, 2020 7:58 pm

John D. Macdonald’s Travis McGee series.
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Re: Who is your favorite fiction author and what is your favorite book of theirs?

Post by BillWalters » Fri Jul 10, 2020 8:08 pm

Franzen - The Corrections

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Re: Who is your favorite fiction author and what is your favorite book of theirs?

Post by coalcracker » Fri Jul 10, 2020 8:49 pm

jacoavlu wrote:
Fri Jul 10, 2020 3:51 pm
Cormac McCarthy, border trilogy
His prose is extraordinary, almost poetic much of the time. Hard to pick a favorite, but I’d go with Blood Meridian

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Re: Who is your favorite fiction author and what is your favorite book of theirs?

Post by stuper1 » Fri Jul 10, 2020 9:07 pm

tenkuky wrote:
Fri Jul 10, 2020 2:41 pm
Watership Down by Richard Adams
Never look at a bunny rabbit the same again

Men will never rest till they've spoiled the earth and destroyed the animals
That is my pick as well!
Last edited by stuper1 on Fri Jul 10, 2020 9:11 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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