10 Favorite Authors & Why
When I was a kid, I catalogued my books. I was thrilled to learn that I owned over 500 by the time I was in fifth grade: is it any wonder I later went on to get a Masters in Library Science? That being said, it’s always been challenging for me to choose favorite authors or favorite books, but I’ll do my best. This top ten list consists of the authors who have influenced me in some way, but it’s by no means exhaustive. In no particular order, here are ten authors who are vital to me.
Whenever I am feeling crummy about writing or life in general, I reach for my tattered copy of Bird by Bird. I love Lamott’s wit and voice, and her work is spot-on. I’ve read some of her other nonfiction, and she remains one of the most impactful author’s on my shelf. She reminds me to take it all one piece at a time, and to accept that first (and even second) drafts are NEVER beautiful.
My fifth grade teacher introduced me to Cooper when he read Over Sea, Under Stone aloud and then followed it up with a class reading of The Dark is Rising. Every year since, I’ve tried to re-read The Dark is Rising in the depths of winter. Cooper showed me what it looked like to play with myth and magic in a storybook setting, and I continue to marvel at her elegant stories.
I know a whole host of women (and men) penned the Nancy Drew books, but the pen name is known and loved by many. The different people who wrote as Carolyn Keene introduced me to the mystery genre, and taught me that a girl with good hair could survive any cruelty. Nancy Drew forever!
When I first read Gone with the Wind, I don’t think I appreciated how revolutionary Mitchell was. Sure, she wrote about stereotypes, but she also wrote about strong women who could face anything and not only survive, but thrive. Scarlet and Melanie are probably my favorite literary foils ever.
The man wrote about myths and said, “Follow your bliss”. How can I not love him? He’s my guru!
When I finally read “A Room of One’s Own”, it resonated. Woolf was a pioneering woman, and I think it’s at least partly because of the risks she took that modern women are finding their way to creative careers. Her words continue to inspire me.
Again, it’s the myth thing. But it’s also my teacher-self that puts Riordan on this list: that man has made more children crazy about reading than years of academic instruction can do. I tip my hat to the mythic story machine that is Riordan, and I love him for the impact he’s continuing to make in young readers’ lives.
The Halloween Tree. Fahrenheit 451. Zen in the Art of Writing. Need I say more?
I love his lengthy, sprawling style, and the way he created such memorable caricatures as characters. We’ll never forget Ebenezer Scrooge or Madame Defarge.
Mom read “The Tempest” to me when I was 8. That statement alone should explain SO much about my hopelessly dorky love of the Bard.
Well, there you have some of my all-time favorites. Which authors have transformed your life?
Jen McConnel first began writing poetry as a child. Since then, her words have appeared in a variety of magazines and journals, including Sagewoman, PanGaia, and The Storyteller (where she won the people’s choice 3rd place award for her poem, “Luna”).
She is also an active reviewer for Voices of Youth Advocates (VOYA), and proud member of SCBWI, NCWN, and SCWW.
A Michigander by birth, she now lives and writes in the beautiful state of North Carolina. When she isn't crafting worlds of fiction, she teaches writing composition at a community college. Once upon a time, she was a middle school teacher, a librarian, and a bookseller, but those are stories for another time.
Contemporary New Adult
Title: The Burning of Isobel Key
Author - Jen McConnel
Date Published: October 1, 2012
When Lou travels to Scotland, she’s a mess. She’s twenty-six, unemployed, and unsure of herself. It doesn’t help that she’s traveling with Tammy, her best friend, who is everything Lou is not.
At first, the trip pushes Lou towards the brink of depression, but then she meets Brian, a handsome local tour guide. When Brian tells the tourists about the countless witches burned in Scotland, Lou starts to listen. And when she discovers information about Isobel Key, one of the victims of the seventeenth century, Lou finds renewed purpose.
Lou has begun exploring the Neo Pagan faith, a dramatic shift from her wealthy Catholic upbringing. Despite her fears of being too “hocus pocusy”, Lou turns to her new faith as she struggles to unravel the mystery surrounding the death of Isobel Key. But faith or not, Lou must face her demons if she has any hope of righting the wrongs of the past.
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