Top 5 Writers I Admire, and Why
1) Barbara Kingsolver
She is a true word smith, an artist. Her characters are deep and layered. Her plots are complex. And her language . . . dang, there are times reading The Poisonwood Bible where I reread paragraphs just to experience the beauty again, to roll the words around in my head. After finishing it, I put the book down half elated, half depressed because it was so good . . . and I'd never be that good.
But she's given me a level to shoot for. Even if I never make it, at least I'm shooting high and will get higher than I would have otherwise.
I admire writers who care about the craft and not just about getting published. Bestsellers sometimes sit on their laurels and let the craft slide a bit, knowing that their name will sell copies no matter what's inside the covers. Writers like Kingsolver don't do that.
2) Jodi Piccoult
I haven't read all her books, but every one I have read has done two things: 1) moved me and 2) made me think. Neither is easy to accomplish, but she excels at both. Like Kingsolver, but in a different way, her voice and words are beautiful.
I also love how she finds seemingly random topics to write about and researches them. It's the epitome of writer curiosity (and justifies my fascination with weird research topics).
3) Charles Dickens
My senior course as an English major was on him, so I spent an entire semester digging into his works, including some of his lesser-known ones (like Dombey and Son and Our Mutual Friend). I love watching how he changed as a writer over the course of his career. I love his vivid characters. How he manages to make big social and moral statements without preaching. Instead, he makes the reader feel in the injustice or the hate.
4) Jane Austen
Brilliant humorist who could poke fun at the specific period of and society she lived in while creating timeless characters and stories. The nerdy English major in me also loves how she deliberately poked fun at the two literary periods she straddled. (One of these days I'll blog about that. And some future day, I will visit her home and see her writing desk!)
5) L. M. Montgomery
Obviously. My love of her work began at the age of thirteen. My interest in her as a person grew as her journals were compiled, annotated, and published over the course of many years. My admiration, compassion, and, yes, even pity, for her developed as I read them. She was very flawed, very human. But she was also exceedingly talented and faced big challenges. Arguably, she's had the greatest influence on me as a writer than anyone else.
Who are some of the writers you admire most? Why?