Happy Th...at Day Before Friday, y’all! I’m going to participate in my first meme post, Top 3 Thursday, which is hosted by A Cosy Reading Blog. If you join in, show us some love! This week’s theme is kind of a huge one: top 3 favorite authors. Where do I start? How do I even? While it’s one of the hardest things for book lovers to decide, it’s also fun to think about, and it’s imperative to understanding who we actually are as readers.
There are dozens of books that I absolutely, positively love and often recommend, but I haven’t read more than one book by their authors. Yet. No judgment towards those who feel otherwise, but I’ve got to read several things by someone before truly getting a feel for their writing style. The three authors I’m picking today are people who speak to my soul, who I would suggest to anyone in a reading slump to get them engaged again, and who I’d pretty much follow anywhere.
Sedaris is one of those guys that kind of transcends any medium he approaches. His voice physically jumps through your speakers if you’re hearing him on the radio. Pick up one of his books, and it’s virtually impossible to not narrate in your own head with his characteristic quirky cadence and inflections.
He was born one of six siblings, raised in North Carolina, battled poverty and addiction and homophobia, and eventually landed himself in Chicago for college. (Humblebrag: He went to my alma mater, and I had writing professors who are mentioned in his books!) There is not a single bad moment that David Sedaris can’t spin into gold dust – or gold nuggets, or gold unicorn poop. His stories are intimate, intoxicating, and introspective, weaving people into his life’s narrative like flies caught in his effervescent web.
Start with: Me Talk Pretty One Day – As always, it will cause you to laugh out loud, but it’s not as obscure as some of his other comedic work, so it’s a little more of a breeze to get through. However, his writing is so accessible that I don’t think there’s a bad place to start.
When you open a Cormac McCarthy novel, you’re experiencing a special moment. Whether it’s his post-apocalyptic work or one dealing with cowboys and Indians, you are about to enter a world that is as bright in its beauty as it is dark in its violence. You’ll have to steel your stomach not only for the graphic barbarity of the scenes but also for the raw and fervent prose. It’ll be a trip.
At 85 years old, he’s still kickin’, writing in an office space in the Santa Fe area. His work is probably best known to my generation for its film adaptations: No Country for Old Men and The Road, among others. But the dude’s been around for a while, and he’s breathed life into some of the most gorgeous and unbridled territory in American literature.
Start with: Blood Meridian – If you’re in the mood to test your resolve as a reader, GO FOR IT. Often regarded as one of the most violent novels ever written, this deals with a group of brutal bounty hunters chasing equally savage Native Americans through Texas, Mexico, and Arizona. Personally, the violence wasn’t as bad as I thought it’d be, and it was more than worth it to immerse myself in McCarthy’s visceral and arresting scenery.
In keeping with the theme of death, let me (perhaps) introduce you to Ms. Caitlyn Doughty, a mortician who writes and vlogs about changing Western civilization’s views on the funeral and mourning processes. This was something I’d rarely thought about before coming across Doughty’s work, and she has opened my eyes to the fascinating ways that other cultures embrace, celebrate, and accept death.
She’s also got a wicked sense of humor. Her first book deals with her experiences working in a crematory, and since she never thought that would be her life path until she was offered the job, some unexpected hilarity ensues that is the very definition of morbidly funny. She’s newer to the scene than others, but she’s definitely one to watch (literally – check out her YouTube channel, Ask a Mortician).
Start with: Smoke Gets in Your Eyes – This is an easy one, since she’s only written two books so far, and Smoke is the first. You’ll learn, you’ll laugh, and you’ll immediately fall in love.
For this post, I limited myself to writers who are currently living, but Carson McCullers and James Baldwin would make the cut if I were to include authors who have died.
I’d love to see your feedback! Have you read anything by my favorite authors, and if so, what did you think? Link me to your Top 3 or post in the comments!
♥ R J ♥