Friday, June 10, 2016

Who’s your favorite author?

The MWC’s social mixer meets at Bennigan’s, Rock Island, where there is good food, wine, and conversation. So of course THE question comes up: “Who’s your favorite author?” It always leaves me stumped and stuttering.

I feel my best answer should be “Whoever wrote what I’m reading now.”

First off, memory is the unfortunate issue for me; I can never recall facts and details fast enough. But my slowness to respond also means that I’m immersed in whatever book club selection I’m reading at the moment.

Also, off the top of my head … no one author stands out for long within the cloud of books I’ve read over the years. I know that’s not right. I’ve had plenty of favorites to choose from going back to the science fiction I started reading in high school. But favorites come and go depending upon my current interests.

Which raises the new question, perhaps a better question: Who or what got you started reading? Because something had to trigger that urge to keep on reading for enjoyment or learning. What ignited that first spark?

For me it was movies. I would watch something and then develop the need to know more. That need would send me to the library to find the source material. That’s what led me to the early science fiction books: War of the Worlds, The Time Machine, 2001, 1984.

For my sons, the first spark came from books on the Civil War. Later on, I took to reading selected passages from adult books like: Gary Paulson’s Winter Dance; and Michael Crichton’s Jurassic Park and Congo. So, yes, you can read out loud to teens. I found there’s nothing like a censored book to peak their interest.

I’m letting my book clubs select my current favorite authors for the time being. I like the sense of discovery: from Margaret Atwood, to Jenny Lawson, and all the others. I like them all for different reasons—until the next month’s meeting and a new adventure begins.

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